The assurance of a calling is a precious thing indeed. This year, after two years of asking God why, I saw and understood with clarity why I am where I am right now, with all prevailing circumstances, as if a portion of faith truly became sight. There is no shadow of doubt in my mind that I am where I need to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, and it is a marvelous feeling to have this assurance as spiritual bedrock in my life.
Yet, it turns out that having this assurance is not all there is to it, because even though the assurance exists, it doesn’t mean that it feels marvelous in a sparkly and fireworks-y kind of way every day.
There are days when the assurance feels glorious. Usually, its first revelation heralds the honeymoon phase where your soul swells in gratitude every moment of your being. I’m glad to say, however, that once the honeymoon phase is over, these days still happen a lot. But there are the other days, when the sparkles and the magical dust settle, and you are left with the small and seemingly mundane things, and the question of faithfulness has nothing to do with your feeling or mood. On these days, the thought of your calling may elicit reactions such as the terrible “Ugh..” To make matters worse, you are tempted to look around and compare your calling with others’, and you end up transgressing the tenth commandment in a paradoxically sanctified (but not) kind of way, namely coveting other people’s calling.
Discontentment is like yeast. It starts with something so small, like a discouraging thought or a carelessly spoken word, but it can leaven an entire lump of spiritual life. But thankfully, unlike leavened bread, this spiritual leavening is not irreversible. And I think, the remedy for this condition, or even better, a way to avoid this whole thing, is a potion called love and commitment.
The thing that makes a calling grand is not so much in the calling itself, but in the Person behind the calling. He’s the reason why I responded to the calling in the first place. And so every day that I live, especially on those non-sparkly days, I need to remember my first love and renew my commitment. It is the Lord whom I have loved and committed my life to, and so whatever He says, I will do. He’s the One I love, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, and my love for the calling will come naturally via my love to the Person. “Every burden is light, for the yoke that Christ imposes is easy. Duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure. The path that before seemed shrouded in darkness, becomes bright with beams from the Sun of Righteousness.” (Steps to Christ, p. 59) I think this is what Jesus meant by “if you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Why of course, if you love someone, why wouldn’t you want to do everything that this person says?
There is something about re-expressing love and commitment verbally to the object of one’s affection that heals and silences questions in the heart. It gives one strength to bear hardships no matter what happens. So, why wouldn’t I do it every day?
…Obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love… Obedience—the service and allegiance of love—is the true sign of discipleship.” (Steps to Christ, p. 60)