Indu Shanmugam is a 20-something, college student from Oregon, USA. She is majoring in English literature and language. She also studied Theology for a short period. She wants to be a teacher. As a literature enthusiast, she enjoys literature of all types and from writers of various backgrounds from the classics, French realists, Christian writings like C.S Lewis and South Asian literature. As for her own writings, "I am still trying to find and develop my own voice." She sees the art of the written word as a way to speak about Christ and explore truth. Before she met Jesus Christ, she has been searching for the meaning of life through experimentation of other religions, philosophies and ideas. At the age of 17, she accepted Christ after a powerful encounter with God through a miracle. God's presence and deep truths in the Bible fuel her creativity. She is involved in church activities and has a love for the church and would like to see every believer grow, become closer to God and live fruitfully. She loves traveling, sipping bubble teas, theatre, music, films and hanging out with friends and has a weakness for cheesecake.View all articles by Indu Shanmugam
Why do people make the calling of God some out-there, super-spiritual phenomenon? Calling in simple terms is obedience and faithful allegiance to God. It stems from a relationship with God—not own merits. Calling is so often misunderstood.
Some people think that they did something special to earn God's favor and calling. Calling is not something we earn. God doesn't work that way. Unlike people, He looks at the heart not the outside. Also, if you think anyone is outside the grace of God, you are not criticizing the person but God Himself. Do you think God is that limited that He cannot save the worst sinner (whatever that is) or choose the most unlikely leader to bring glory to His name.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is not total abandonment of common sense, intellect or your brain for that matter. If God gives you a brain, he intends you to use it. Why do some people think planning or thinking automatically means a lack of faith? Other dumb "Christian" ideas are "don't listen to people's opinions, it'll confuse you. Wait for God's calling?" This definition of God's guidance is out of no where, the entire plan for your life just falls on you.
Take, for example, my decision to go to Concordia University. How did I feel called to go there? A friend from church told me that Concordia takes Bible college credits. Then, I heard that they have an excellent education program and that the teaching profession opens jobs all over the world. I talked to Pastor Sharon Wagar, my mentor, who thought it was a good idea to get a Bible foundation and then a secular job. I prayed about it and felt assurance. I felt the Holy Spirit guide me there. And then, I had to check the admission requirements and of course fill the application.
It's somewhat ridiculous to think that you can pray about finances when your spending habits are the worst. You may pray for money but the Holy Spirit might be telling you to quit using your credit card. That may sound straightforward but some people do the exact same thing when it comes to calling. Yes, there are people who knew that since they were six years old that they wanted to Iraq or China and they moved there and lived their whole life doing just that. It may work for some people and it's a great thing. But, when I was in Bible College I used to get sick of people asking me what my calling and spiritual gifts are. I mean, it's okay not to know it.
The way God is working on my life, I may not know what my 'calling' is until my death. I am finding out more and more that I do not need to sit around and wait for a calling to do something such as helping out in a ministry for the time being or going on a short-term mission trip. Get out there and God will guide you. I want to go to different places just for the experience and opportunities. That is when God speaks to you and you grow in Christ and become a more mature person. This lets you grow closer to God and when you do, you discover and develop your spiritual life.
For me, the so-called charismatic/penti definition of calling is sitting around lazily and expecting something to drop from heaven. And labeling the practical ways such as checking demographics, whether you can live there and planning as 'unspiritual' or lack of faith is just typical "Christian subculture."
Not all church ideas are necessarily Bible-based. Wisdom is a great thing. Making wise decisions is using the gift God gave us. I am amazed at how I find the practical daily stuff fuses with the supernatural. I can plan but will do so only under God's guidance. I mean I can plan to go to a nation but if God's anointing is not with me I could be making myself vulnerable. It is really a spiritual battlefield out there and going without full armor is not good and the power of the Holy Spirit is necessary.
So, there is nothing wrong in planning and using the brain that God gave you and made for you. At the same time, rely on him and don't limit yourself to the natural alone. There are two sides of the spectrum. One, being so much like the world that saying you're a Christian doesn't really make a difference. Or two, being so much in the Heavenlies that you have no purpose on earth. Discovering God's will requires a healthy balance.