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How do I live out my vocation when God doesn’t seem to be opening doors for me to do what I feel called to do?

It is deeply disappointing to be unable to fulfill the calling we believe God has for us, whether that be a specific job or career or a desire to get married and/or become a parent. It can be easy to despair or to question whether we have correctly discerned God’s calling for our lives.

First, it is good to be honest about our disappointment. Only when we acknowledge how we feel can we bring those feelings to God and admit our confusion to others. The psalms show us that God can handle our questions; we are not the first to ask, “How long, O Lord, how long?” As with the author of Psalm 13, our questions can be part of trusting God.

Second, while pursuing a calling can feel deeply personal, it is also something we do in community. Our calling is affirmed and shaped by those around us. 1 Timothy 5:8 goes even so far as to say that those who do not take care of their family members deny the faith! This means that other callings sometimes take precedence, which can be hard. Out of love for our partner and/or children or to help take care of aging parents or a disabled sibling, we might not be able to move for a job or work the number of hours we might want to. In these situations it’s good to have others who recognize the sacrifices we’ve made and can help us discern how our calling might be developing.

Last, because calling is communal, it means we all should care whether others are able to live out their own callings. I pray that those of us with jobs that fit our vocations and with more than enough to live on might share opportunities and wealth with others. May we also encourage others and work toward changing society so that all people might flourish. That way we live out our communal calling to be the body of Christ serving God faithfully together.

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