Called by God: what does it mean?

On the ‘Christians in the Military’ thread, I said:

Durnovarianus replied, in part:

It seemed to call for a new thread. So, to get the ball rolling:

If you believe you’ve experienced some sort of calling from God at one time or another in your life, what sorts of things has God called you to (or from, for that matter)? How did you know it was a call? What did it feel like? What do you mean when you say you felt God was calling you? Has this happened just once in your life? Very occasionally? All the time? What has been the effect on your life of heeding such calls? Of disregarding them? Has it ever happened that you believed that God was calling you in a particular direction, but you are less than sure in retrospect?

That ought to be enough questions to start it off. While I expect that the responses will be primarily from Christians, I’m certainly open to the idea that God can call people of other faiths, and if so, I’d be interested to hear what your experiences have been and to see what our experiences share.

Hello, I got a call from God the other day. He said, “Get off the SDMB”! But did I listen? NOOOOOOoooooooo

Boy, ARG220 is looking better and better all the time…

I haven’t lost my virginity. I remember exactly where I left it.

Yeah, at least ARG220 listened when God told him to leave.

Sorry, RT. You’ve had 3 (now 4) posts to your OP, and they’ve all been off subject since Phaedy posted. I’d post anything I knew about a calling if I’d ever had one. :slight_smile:

Dear Fretful, please do not worry. I am not this ARG220 person.

If you have a thread that he/she posted in please respond. I have heard two names in great debates that people really don’t like. jodih and arg

I know who jodih is and I think she is brilliant.

But who is arg? It seems he left. Why? Was he expelled? Or just couldn’t take the heat?

RTFirefly: Sorry for the jokes I didn’t mean to sidetrack what looked like an attempt to flame Christians (my opinion and could be wrong).

I have an answer for you on the topic.

I am a poor Christian. I haven’ claimed to be perfect, nor have I even claimed to be forgiven.

Nevertheless, I know quite abit about the calling issue. Here is where I stand on it.

Some people believe that at a specific time a person gets a “calling” from God. Usually but not always it is in reference to a type of ministry, mission field, to be a “preacher” etc.

I see the fundamental flaw in this as a misinterpretation of emotions or impressions.

There is an excellent book about the subject by Gary Friesen called Decision Making and the Will of God.

Unless you or others have a specific question for me, I will leave you alone.

Phaedrus: ARG220 is a former poster here. He laster for about a month (last August or September, was it?).

I remember him most for having once said, “It upsets me that there are people who believe in evolution”.

Phaedrus, Fretful, Gaudere - no offense taken; I know all about the joys of taking a serious subject and turning it into an opportunity for comedy. After all, what else did I do as president of Freedonia? :wink: And I’ve certainly done my share of that on the SDMB.

If I understand you correctly, Phaedrus, I also disagree with the interpretation you mention. I’ve never been called to the ministry, or celibacy (thank God!), but I feel that I have had a handful of episodes, scattered over my three decades as a Christian, that I consider instances of having been called in a particular direction.

So, what directions? Marriage, for one. Eleven years ago, I knew with great clarity that a woman I’d known for maybe two months, who I’d just kissed for the first time that night, was, barring any surprises, the woman I’d be spending the rest of my life with. (This isn’t selective memory; I kept a journal back then, and the next day’s entry is pretty clear on the subject.)

Career directions, for another. After I got my M.S. in math, I was positive that that was as far as I wanted to take it. Two and a half years later, out of nowhere, I felt a certainty that I was supposed to seek the doctorate. Without that, I wouldn’t have made the attempt, and certanly wouldn’t have had whatever it took inside to complete what was, for me, an extremely difficult endeavor.

(I must add that, at the time of that calling, my reaction was, OK, I believe, now, that God is calling me this way. But let’s see if I’m still as certain tomorrow, or the day after…)

I’ll add more later, but I’ve got to go get ready for work. But I figured I’d better add some tinge of seriousness to the discussion before it went totally off the rails. :smiley:

RTFirefly: I know what you mean about the “impressions” that you felt in those two directions. This is a good example of what is called “the dot” in the arena of “the will of God”. Friesen repudiates this in his book. It is a very good book with over 1,000 scripture references. I went to Bible college and read the New Testament in Koine Greek. I also specialize in Hermenutics. The science of interpretation, especially Biblical interpretation. I believed as you do for most of my life and changed that belief about 10 years ago after coming to a crisis point in my life and being unable to “discern” God’s perfect plan for my life. Friesen’s book published by Multnomah (sp?) press was a godsend for me. I consider it one of 5 books that have shaped my thought and determined the course of my life.

Sidenote: If you know Phil Keaggy, I play guitar and have recorded with him at his house. We knew each other for about 20 years. The last personal contact I had with him was brief and was two years ago.

If you are interested in this subject I recommend you read Friesen’s book. You may not agree with it, but it is a GREAT read. I gave my only copy to a friend, you know what that can sometimes mean, I haven’t seen it or her since, oh well LOL




For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

Phaedrus - the easy one first: Rufus T. Firefly was Groucho Marx’s role in Duck Soup. The movie begins with Firefly being appointed president of Freedonia, a tiny, backward country somewhere in Central Europe or perhaps the Balkans. In the movie, Firefly takes being president about as seriously as any Groucho character ever took anything - in other words, not at all.

I can’t say I’ve heard of Friesen or Keaggy; can you encapsulate Friesen’s argument, so I can decide whether it’s worthwhile to track down the book?

I’ve never been able to discern God’s plan for my life; I’ve considered myself lucky on those occasions when I believe that He’s briefly shone a flashlight around the next dark corner.

Absent Friesen’s argument, though, I don’t find that the times in my (Christian) life when I felt lost and rudderless, had no clue where to go or what to do with myself, invalidate the moments when I believe I found clear direction. I don’t get to ask for these moments, and they seem to happen in God’s time rather than mine.

Phaedrus said:

Dammit. I’m gonna have to use a deeper voice next time…

David - don’t try sounding like George Burns. He even had a hard time convincing John Denver. :wink:

I’ve never been called by God. But read the story of Joan of Arc. A gripping tale of someone who believed she was called by God, and changed her life (and history) because of it.

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Joan who?? (Just kidding.)

No, seriously, I wanted to get a sense of what God’s calling looked like in more everyday, prosaic lives than hers. I figure her experience is a few standard deviations outside the mean experience of being called to a particular path, and it’s hard to tell much about the mean from the outliers.

I’m a person people don’t like? Hmmm . . . news to me. I’ll cry about that later, though. An answer to the post (as always, for what it’s worth), though I don’t know if this counts as a “calling”:

I got very angry at my sister about something (irrelevant to this topic) and both of us said some hurtful things. I was so pissed at her that I was not even considering calling her to mend fences when I ‘heard’ a directive, very sternly given, to call her and apologize. I wasn’t praying or even feeling particularly spiritual, mad as I was, but I believed then and believe now that the order came from God. So, as you might imagine, when people ask me if I think God communicates with people directly, I say “yes.” Go ahead and jump on me . . . I’m delusional, I made it up, whatever – I’m only relating the episode as it occurred.

As far as a true “calling” – like being called to preach, for example – I have never received one of those. I do what I do professionally because I enjoy it, not because I was “called” to it. I’m sure some people are, though.


Fiat Justitia


I think I wd say I have experienced a “calling” twice - once when I was converted to Christianity: that wd be a “calling to”, and a notable feature of the experience was the sense of a vast power exercising equally vast control so that although I was in no doubt of the direction in which I was being called, the decision remained mine - I was not railroaded.

The second time was a “calling from”, ie, to leave a relationship, residence and financial security of several years’ standing. Again, there was no question of being compelled, but a very clear sense of being presented with a black and white choice which I could not evade. I don’t want to go into the details, but I did leave eventually; however, at first I refused and am still living with the consequences of doing so.

RT: to answer a point you made somewhere else: Durno is fine

Jodi: yeah I heard that. I think you are great!!! What a brilliant mind! Your state gov’t is lucky to have you.

RTFirefly: It is hard for me to compress an entire book into a few sentences but I will try.

Friesen says that the idea of “impressions” are not scriptural, even when it comes to things like marriage and carrers. For marriage he quotes a verse out of Corinthians but which one I can’t remember. Many Christians use different ways to discern God’s Perfect will in situations like that. Putting out a fleece, waiting for a sign, etc Friesen says that when the widows were planning on getting married again they could choose anyone they wanted to. Some think that there is just one for them, a Christian soulmate, if you will.

The idea of different “impressions” in life (like yours and Jodi’s) gets its birth from the God’s Perfect Will for Your Life senario.

When I had cancer (which was when I was converted) my Mother was in a real state. She used to go down to an old bridge on a dirt road (to be alone)and beg God for my life. I was her first born and her only son. She wept and prayed and prayed and wept till she heard a voice say,“Your son will be healed”. She never told me about it until I was healed.

The cancer treatment nearly killed me and I made the decision to stop it. She didn’t object but I didn’t know why until later.

Teh cancer was testicular and would have killed me if it wasn’t treated early.

Horrifying! Gives me goose bumps even now to thing of it!

I hope that answers you question.


forgive the typos :o