Vocation | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
February 2013


By: Emily Echols

For years I had these questions taped to my desk:

  • Do I desire to hear and do God’s will?
  • Do I want to live a life aligned with God’s will for me, regardless of where that commitment will take me?
  • Am I going to trust God with my future?
  • What must I lay down and what must I take up in order to go forward with God without pre-judgment about what the direction will be or must be for me?
  • What healing do I need in order to live in union of faith and love with God?
  • What are the possible directions God is calling me and that I am prompted to take?
  • What are my gifts and graces?
  • What are the needs that touch me?
  • What may be the best possible routes for me, given my gifts and graces?
  • As I set my preferences before God one at a time, with which do I have peace with God and sense God is sending me forward in faith?
  • Which route opens the way for me to give fullest expression to my “Here am I” to the Lord and meets the human need toward which God has directed me?

They’re from the Purple Book1 that I worked through with a lay mentor. It was the most useful, practical feet-on-the-ground part of the ordination process for me. In fact, I loved it so much I recommended it to adults who were thinking of changing careers and weren’t sure what they wanted to do. I explained that I thought these were questions that everyone, not just people who felt called to ordained ministry, could use.

I still think about them sometimes because I’m still working it out. After jumping off the speeding ordination train, I could use a little direction. In college, my Roman Catholic roommate, who had a richer understanding of vocation than I, told me that, perhaps, when you have a strong desire to work in a particular field, that God has placed that desire on your heart. Wanting to do something might be God’s way of directing you somewhere. Maybe everyone else already knows this about vocation but in case you didn’t, I wanted to share these questions with you. They have changed my life.

With every move I think it will get easier. I’m a stay at home mom now and somehow, that seems respectable. It’s less of a question mark in people’s minds than simply being unemployed. But sometimes I still ponder these questions. I’ve always wanted to write books. Always. Since I was a very young child. I’m just now realizing that maybe that is how God wants me to preach God’s word. Maybe that is the calling after all. Maybe my childhood dream is my vocation after all.

Do I desire to hear and do God’s will?

See more devotions from Emily and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.

Richard Hunt, Sondra Matthaei, Robert Kohler, Sharon Rubey, Ministry Inquiry Process (Nashville: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 2004).