Sabbatical year

Calling versus passion

Hi friends – we’re sorry to have taken so long between updates. Once October hit, things got much busier. The new Algete church has had its first gatherings, kids have begun twice-a-day school (9:30-1, home for lunch, then 3-4:30), and we have begun meeting with several more people for English lessons, Spanish-English exchanges and just to develop relationships.

We have our first young adults’ group meeting on Friday night, a small gathering of youth on Saturday night to call others and invite them to the grupo de jóvenes (youth group), and then our first real children’s group and grupo de jóvenes on Sunday night. Our initial Algete church gathering was excellent. We had 38 people in attendance and a great spirit in the room.

We’ll hope to have much more to share in the coming weeks. For now, a great reflection from Emily about passion and calling…


The other day I had a thought — “What if God calls you to something that you aren’t passionate about?”

In my limited theological experience, I had always equated passion and calling. God would call you to something that you felt a passion to do. Or God would at least call you to do something you were good at doing.

When we came to Spain, we knew that we would need to do things that went outside of our natural talents and areas of comfort. But we also wanted to think about where we “fit and flourish.” We heard that phrase a lot in our training. “In what situations are you using your gifts and personality traits to their best potential — in a way that you fit and flourish?” I believe it’s important to ask that question. But I’m realizing it may not be the only question.

So what happens when you feel God calling you to an area where you don’t have a passion? Where you’re not sure you fit best? Is it still a call? Is it just a need that you must fill?

Here in Algete we’re helping to start a new worshipping community. We needed someone to lead the children’s ministry and hadn’t found anyone. Sylvia, who is definitely gifted with children, will be out of the country for half of the year and so couldn’t do it. Teddy, Paul and Alison were teaming up to work with adults and youth. That left me.

I resisted at first. “This isn’t where I fit and flourish.” “This isn’t my passion” (which in my mind also meant it wasn’t my calling). I love kids, but I’m not a children’s minister.

Then I conceded. “Well, I guess I better do it because no one else can.” I was starting to psych myself out before I even got started.

Then God turned my heart to see things differently. What if he was making this my calling here? My kids make up a good portion of the children coming, so I knew I needed to at least give some help to this. I believe the church needs to make a genuine investment in the lives of children. All children should know that an adult loves them and cares about their salvation. So why didn’t I feel that this was where I was called?

God calls us to do things that seem to flow naturally from us — things we are gifted to do. But He also calls us to things that are hard and unnatural. He calls us to forgive. Everyone. All the time. He calls us to live through difficult situations, to be generous when we would rather be stingy, to sacrifice our will and our desires to help others.

He shines in our weakness. (I sure hope he can shine through horrible-Spanish-speaking Americans.) I become lesser so that he may become greater. I can’t get any “lesser” than in a position of organizing children’s ministry. But alas I find myself with a new calling. Different than anything I would have chosen for myself. But really, it’s the same calling as always—to show His love to those I meet and interact with. Right now, that’s particularly to children, even if that’s not where I would have put myself.

He will be glorified in spite of me.

6 replies on “Calling versus passion”

I think the most important step is being willing to venture into an area where you don’t necessarily have a passion. So much personal and spiritual growth flows from being willing to take that first step outside your comfort zone. He will provide the guidance and support.

Wow Emily! As I read this, then read it aloud to Kevin, I kept thinking about different folks we know so resistant to change or trying anything new. Then I pictured Kevin & me not being as open as we could to a situation right in our own family. God has been using different folks to let us know He is in charge, He will protect and provide, and He is worthy of all praise and glory. Gracias!

Emily, you are such a great Mom. I understand your challenges. One as a mom, you are w/ your children a lot. I know from experience it was always my kids who acted up in my class. So continue the journey your rewards will be many. The other day, I received a thank you note from a student (usually I get them at the end of our sessions) she thanked me for teaching her about God and His creation. For me, children are my best students, they are so precious in their love for God. Miss you all so much. Love and prayers. Aunt Becky

Because of your love, Emily, I have a relationship with the Lord. I will continue to pray for you daily. Please know that no matter where He needs you, you radiate the Love of our Lord. I can’t think of a kinder soul to help our children grow in the Lord! Love from Louisville. 🙂

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