When Your Call Changes

Seasons come and go, whether we want them to do so or not. It is far better to adapt to colder temperatures with heavier clothing rather than to wish for summer and shiver. How often people resist the change of seasons and remember with longing the way things used to be!

We can learn something from the birds. They know when it is time to migrate. They are called to the South and months later, they are called to the North.

“Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know the ordinance of the LORD.” (Jer 8:7 NAS)

In the same way, you may experience a change of season regarding your call that requires a migration and adaptation to the new demands. A migration for you may or may not be geographical, but a move to another mindset or function is necessary.

Did God call you to your current job? To a particular ministry? Are you still called?

Is it Abandonment? Desertion?
Change is not always easily welcomed or understood, especially when it comes to church. Christians may struggle with the idea that a change in function may appear to be abandonment of the call, when actually it is the call itself that has changed. This awareness that God is the One initiating the new call can be powerfully liberating!

Paul and Barnabas were prophets and teachers content to stay where they were in Antioch when God called them to function as a traveling apostolic team to the Gentiles. How often guilt, fear, ignorance, or laziness has kept people in a place past the time of migration!

This is not to say that everyone who makes a change is right to do so. Willfulness, impatience, and selfish ambition are character issues which can masquerade as God’s call to a change of circumstances. At times, God will require people to stay put in a situation for any number of His own reasons. To rebel will only lead to another, tougher similar situation.

I observed a school bully, who was always in trouble with teachers and the principal. He didn’t like to follow the rules at school. One day he quit school, ran away from home, and joined the Marines. Out of the frying pan and into the fire! No doubt he learned some things about obedience and submission to a much more demanding authority.

Many years ago, I found myself in a frustrating and restrictive environment, and I wanted out. As I prayed, the Lord revealed that He would not release me at that time, because there was character He wanted me to develop. The happy ending is I learned the lesson, matured, and several months later, was released from the situation with a new call.

David’s Calls
The life of David is an example of a series of changing calls. Consider the different roles and responsibilities he had, yet how each was woven together into his own unique destiny.

  • Shepherd, sharpshooter, predator-killer
  • Musician
  • National hero
  • Minstrel & composer
  • Military raid leader
  • Fugitive
  • Leader of 400 guerrillas
  • King of Judah
  • King of Israel
  • Worship innovator

David migrated and adapted to each new season, bringing with him the lessons and many friendships of the previous years. He started out as a shepherd of sheep to become shepherd of Israel, the Lord’s sheep.

Has Your Call Changed?
How do you know when your call is changing? There are some tell-tale signs to pay attention to. If the change is delayed too long, eventually burnout occurs.

You may sense the grace lifting for what was and is. It becomes more cumbersome or less satisfying than before. There is a growing sense of restlessness. Even so, your heart desires to obey the Lord’s will, and you are ready to remain if He calls you to do so. But in that case, the grace will be provided to remain patiently with a good attitude.

Who are the like-minded people God has placed in your life who can sense the timing of a migration? Notice that birds do not migrate alone, but with a flock of the same species.

“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Prov 11:14 NAS)

Many years ago, one of the members of my church came asking what I perceived the Lord was saying concerning his move to another city. (Now, understand, pastors generally do not like to lose church members!) As soon as he said the name of the city, I knew it was the right move for him. I even recommended a church for him to visit. As it turned out, it was a strategic move for him, both in his career and his personal life. Within a couple of years, he wound up marrying that pastor’s sister.

Expect God to give insight to those who speak into your life. Many times God has used other people to confirm a migration for me through various means– prophecy, coaching, teaching, or even a casual remark.

When it is settled in your heart that your call has changed, take action. Fulfill your call in the new season!