“I feel stuck in life”

Over the years I have met many gifted, aware, devoted people who felt lost, stuck or paralyzed in the pursuit of their calling. Then, of course, I have my own paralysis. Every story and conversation about this issue has caused me to ask “why”.

We have all acted out of what we have believed (be it falsehood or truth) or what we have owned about ourselves at a deep heart level.  So, here are few thoughts that will help to counter the debilitating ideas that float around concerning our personal calling.

Go with what you know. You are only responsible for what you currently know, keeping in mind that what you know is partial and incomplete. Walk in the clarity that God has given you – only then will He give you more.

Let go of what you don’t love. Coming to grips with what you don’t love is valuable – it’s not wasted time. We waste a lot of time and energy feeling guilty and condemned over the things that we are not passionate about.

Live like an artist. Develop and create your art simply because you love it, not for a paycheck, approval or promotion.

Keep income and calling separate in your thinking. Don’t complicate things by putting these two together. At some point, they may merge, but one must not be dependent on the other.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden. Start creating and offering what God has put in you with whatever resources you have in terms available time, technology, contacts, and opportunities. Don’t wait for someone to endorse or “anoint” you, for “large” audiences, a paycheck, position, title or a degree.

God is simply asking us to live honestly and generously in the place we are already in. We must offer the brilliance, strength, beauty, abundance, and splendor God has given us. Walking in our calling does not often require a big transition or life change like quitting a job, starting something new, or living somewhere else.

The development of the weightiness of our life is of utmost importance. Growth always includes knowledge, experience/experimentation, being mentored / coached / modeled, time for assimilation and maturing (fermentation).

Don’t wait for things to be “ideal” – Don’t wait for a job or position offer, endorsements, a certain amount in savings or an inheritance, or a close community of friends and allies to begin walking out your call.

God is comfortable with your trying. God is not afraid and you are not in great danger…if your idea has passed the “moral” and “ethical” filter and you understand your roles (husband / wife, father / mother, employee, etc.). Get the perspective of others. Just ask – people are always willing to lend their insight to you.

1 Samuel 10:6,7 The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power…and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

There is a difference between waiting on God and procrastination, between moving in faith and striving.  Let’s help each other understand the differences and live on the right side.


Living in Tension

It’s amazing and frustrating how opposing realities can exist simultaneously – and this tension can often create a great deal of confusion. As I have observed and thought about this reality, I find that these tensions are both inevitable and necessary. Here’s my short list.

Aggressive and Waiting

We must not call an unwillingness to move – waiting on God. Nor should we design our own destiny through manipulation and striving and call it God’s will.

We must move with passion and intentionality toward the things that God has put on our heart, but with an attentive ear (and eye) toward God, understanding that what we now know is partial and incomplete and perhaps a little misdirected.

Undiminished and Deferring

We need to fully offer who we are (undiminished) and yet encourage others to bring their splendor, brilliance, abundance forward (deferring to others).

As we begin to offer the glory of our life, we must not make it “all about me” or “my moments”. Nor should we allow another to diminish our glory in order to showcase theirs.

Simplicity and Complexity

We need to live a simple, uncluttered, focused, intentional life.

We must not live a simplistic, naive, unrealistic life of denial and isolation.

Present-Focused and Past-Aware

We need to live in the present, not the past or the future.

However, we need to own our past by dealing with the effect it has had on us, learning from it and observing the trajectory God has us on now and in the future.

Joy and Sorrow

We must pursue the joy of the Lord, not settling into pessimism or fatalism.

We must also not pursue a life of pleasure, becoming narcissistic, closing our hearts to the lives, pain and suffering in this world.

Together and Alone

We can’t understand our self, the world we live in, or the love of God, alone. We must let the lives of others intermingle with our own.

We can’t understand the heart of God or our own heart if we are always in the swirl of others. We must disengage and quiet our heart in order to hear our own life speak and to hear the voice of God.

Tensions create a need for guidance, protection, wisdom, self-examination and counsel – in other words, God.

Let’s allow the discomfort of tension to drive us toward God – and into frequent times of quieting our heart, re-reading what He has written to us, listening for His voice and relaxing in His fathering love.

Living in the tension with you,

Gary Barkalow