God doesn’t usually choose to work this way. Rather, we see in the lives of great people of faith, the journeys of our clients, and in our own lives that God often calls his people by creating a mental image or compelling idea of how our gifts can be used to meet needs in the world. The vision gives enough direction for us to step out in obedience and faith, but it doesn’t give all the details or guarantees about the outcome.

God’s Plan for Your Life

God-sized visions can be of differing dimensions and degrees of visibility. God might call one person to develop a new worldwide evangelism ministry that has an impact on millions; he might call another to start an outreach Bible study in her neighborhood. In one person God might instill a vision for a nonprofit organization that uses innovative ways to collect food in the community and distribute it to local ministries. In another person, the vision God plants may be one of making his church’s food bank more organized, efficient, and effective. You don’t know today, however, what God wants to do with you in the years to come.

The story of James Dobson and his founding of Focus on the Family exemplifies how a God-sized calling can begin. Today, the nonprofit organization has a multitude of ministries, including Dobson’s internationally syndicated radio programs, which are heard daily on more than three thousand radio stations in the United States and more than ninety-five other countries. Its magazines reach millions of households. The organization has had, and continues to have, an enormous impact on people throughout the world.
It all started as a God-inspired vision in the mind of a man who was willing to be used. “I wish I could say that I knew where the Lord was leading when I started Focus on the Family, but that is not true,” said Dobson. “I simply felt He wanted me to prepare a regular broadcast and to speak to family-related issues.” So he stepped out in faith, renting a tiny office in Arcadia, California, to begin his radio program. “Everything that has happened since then has been a surprise and a labor of love.”

Most of us will not be called to develop and lead an international organization. You will never discover how God has created you to be used in this world, however, until you step out in faith to pursue a God-given dream. But how do you know if your dream is from the Lord?

One test is that God-inspired visions of your calling always have doing the work of God’s kingdom as their ultimate goal. As Andy Stanley says, “God's ultimate plan for your life reaches beyond the visions he's given you for your family, business, ministry, and finances. He has positioned you in your culture as a singular point of light. A beacon in a world that desperately needs to see something divine, something that is clearly not of this world.”

Risk Trusting God

From our human perspective, stepping out in faith to work at a God-given calling feels like a risk. From God’s perspective, trusting Him in faith is the only way to live our lives. You will only discover what God has created you to do when you “risk” following Him rather than playing it safe. God is faithful, and He is creative, often surprising us in how he works in our lives. “As workers for God we have to learn to make room for God—to give God ‘elbow room,’” entreats Oswald Chambers. “Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.”

Remember to trust Scripture instead of the news you read about the state of the world. Remember that you have been designed for a purpose. And, remember that “with God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). In spite of the economy or your circumstances, you can discover and live your God-given calling, and experience the purposefulness and joy that comes from doing the things you were created to do.