How Finding Your Calling is a Lot Like Finding a Good Pair of Shoes

photo by emma dau on unsplash

photo by emma dau on unsplash

Note: This post is a continuation of a conversation about calling, which started with my post The Story of how I Meandered My Way to My Calling, the Epiphany that Changed My Life, and Encouragement for Your Journey (formerly titled, Finding Your Calling, Part 1). You can read that post here.

Have you ever had a pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit?

I once had a pair of adorable brown suede flats that I LOVED. They were super cute and went with just about everything. The problem was, they didn’t quite fit. The toe box was too narrow and squeezed my toes, while the back of the shoe had elastic embedded in the leather that bit into my heel, leaving bright red stripes. Still, I was determined to wear them. And I did for a while, but not without a lot of pain. Eventually, I gave them up, realizing that the price my feet were paying was not worth the fashion statement I was hoping to make.

Fit matters!

Now, when I’m shoe shopping, it goes something like this: I see a pair I like. I try them on and walk around for a while to find out if they fit comfortably. Usually, it doesn’t take long to know when I’ve found a good fit. They feel good. They’re not too big, not too small, not too tight. They are just right. I’ve learned to let go of the shoes that don’t fit and say yes to the ones that do.

Finding our calling can be a lot like finding a good pair of shoes. We start with something we think we might like to do. So we give it a try. We walk around in it for a while and decide if it’s the right fit for us. Sometimes we repeat this process several times before landing on the right thing.

As I shared in my story a couple weeks ago, this is the process I went through with my career as a counselor. At 22, I assessed my gifts and interests and considered what would be the wisest way to utilize them. At the time, counseling looked like the best option. So I gave it a try.

It didn’t feel quite right. But it didn’t feel completely wrong either. So I walked around in those “shoes” for a long time, testing them out and trying to decide. Eventually, I determined that it just wasn’t a good fit and decided to move on to something else.

You know how good it feels when you take off a pair of ill-fitting shoes and put on ones that fit perfectly? It feels amazing! You know when you’ve found your fit. That’s how it felt when I switched from counseling to writing and mentoring/coaching.

Sometimes, the process of finding our calling is a process of trial and error. It’s trying this, then that, and comparing the experiences. It’s a process that requires persistence and the willingness to keep on seeking until we find what God has called us to.

For this process to work, we have to be honest with ourselves. No matter how cute the shoes are—or how cool/practical/lucrative the job, position, role, etc. is—we must tell the truth: how does it really feel? Does it really fit? OR do we just wish it would fit, and, by golly, we’re going to smash ourselves into that role/career/position/relationship, even when we know it’s not the right thing?

We also must accept ourselves as we are. Those brown suede flats? There was surely someone whose feet fit those shoes perfectly. But that person was not me, and no amount of wishing or squishing was going to change that.

Our calling is not just something we do, it’s a part of who we are. There are things about ourselves that we shouldn’t try to change, that can’t be changed. It’s largely through embracing our unique personality, gifts, and passions that we come to understand what we are created to do and be.

To be clear, I’m not saying that finding our fit means that things won’t be hard sometimes or that we won’t be faced with challenges or difficulties. But what it does mean is that when we face those challenges, we’ll have an assurance that we are just where God wants us to be and that He will provide all we need to overcome them.

If you’re seeking purpose, wondering what you’re here for, or mulling over the meaning of life, my prayers are with you. I’m praying for strength to be honest about who you are, the courage to persist in seeking God’s plan for your life, and for the fullness of joy that comes from knowing you are walking in what you were created for. I’m praying for you to find your perfect fit! And, I am celebrating already, because I know God will be faithful to provide all you need to be all He called you to be!



With love,

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“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift” (Ephesians 4:4-7, MSG).

I want to hear from you!

Do you feel like you’ve found your fit? What aspects of your life currently feel like they fit well? What areas don’t fit? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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