The Dislocation Effect
“When you called my name, I didn’t know how far that calling went.” is a lyric from The Newsboys 1994 album, Going Public. As a young Christian I daydreamed about just how far it actually would go. Now after following my Lord and my calling for two thirds of my life I am still exploring the extent of that truth. Many who answer the call to serve sacrificially across the street or across the world find that the true depths of their calling are yet to be discovered.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest obstacles to the individual Christian discovering the depths of their own unique calling is the uniformed system that exists to empower them to do so. Often an individual or family will give up almost everything to pursue their savior into new areas of obedience only to find that there are yet further fields to be traversed.
In other words, our lives, our callings and yes, our relationships are not static but dynamic. We are created in the image of a living God and we ourselves, are too, dynamic. Ever changing we are growing into the likeness of the One who first called us. This is ultimately not because we are good but that He is true to his Word; that as we are faithful with little He will entrust us with much (Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:23,28). As a result, all too often believers who have made this ultimate move of obedience find themselves in a place where they have given up everything to obey God only to find that He is asking them to do something new after their present season of obedience. They then find themselves in a dilemma; follow God in the new assignment or stay put with their current platform and circumstances for security and convenience.
I call this phenomenon The Dislocation Effect.
Much like a limb of the body that has been dislocated, the believer in this situation finds themselves - not lifeless but powerless. Why is the system working against them? Because it is upside down. When we are saved it is personal and unique and our callings are no different. Like the lyrics of the old hymn, In The Garden, “…and the joy we share as we terry there; none other has ever known.” The system, however, does not recruit us for our uniqueness but our ability to support the vision of the larger organization. It is not about our calling but the organization’s mission statement. As a father myself I can’t even imagine how much more this grieves the heart of our doting heavenly Father. You see, we were made to become all we could be in our time and place for the glory of God and His Kingdom come (Acts 17:26). The system we plug into should cultivate us and our unique calling, not use our uniqueness and passion to further its own objectives.
So what should I do now?
The truth is God’s word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11), and He will honor the faith of each and every believer willing to walk in their Kingdom identity (2 Corinthians 5:7). The existing system is not necessarily wrong but it is not optimal. So as we step forward in faith as we did in the first place, we step forward on God’s grace and His provision alone. Too many missionaries and ministry leaders find themselves fossilized for simply not being willing to move yet again. They often feel they have given up everything to get to their current place of service and cannot imagine that they would need to do it anew. But the Lord is not after our tasks (Acts 17:24-25) as if He is needs anything. His Kingdom economy is after what is eternal in us, and He has invited us to serve with Him in this gospel.
Each of us has been uniquely qualified and called to partner with God in his mission of redemption. Our true fulfillment is in staying in step with Him as he leads us (John 15:4). Abiding does not simply mean to wait but rather to stay in step with God. This means waiting if God is still but it means moving promptly if He asks us to move.
What is your greatest expression of obedience in this season?
If He is asking you to stay and wait then that is abiding. If He is asking you to step out in faith in yet another act of obedience then that indeed is abiding. Which brings me back to the foundation of this article… our journey is unique and its truest form of worship is authentic obedience to God and how he has uniquely created and positioned you for His kingdom purposes.