I’m not convinced God calls anyone but Jesus to save the world. Sure, world leaders can have great influence. Change-makers are a privileged few. But no one is capable of saving the world except God himself.
So when I look at frontline leaders who believe they are forced every day to put vocation before marriage and family, I wonder what they think they are going to accomplish. No one is indispensable. God can raise up another to do what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong; I admire these leaders’ courage, success, and endurance. But I can’t help but wonder if they misunderstand their calling.
Even if you are called to end human trafficking, serve as the President of the United States, revolutionize education, or share the Gospel with tribes who have never heard it before, your calling does not exclude your marriage and family.
When you and your spouse become one flesh in Christian marriage, this becomes who you are. (The same is true for parents. You don’t stop being a parent when you are not with your children.) Your daily thoughts and decisions are now measured by your identity as a spouse.
God made you with a capacity and gifting unlike that of any other. When you join into a marriage covenant with your spouse, you now have a marriage team with a capacity and gifting unlike any other. God doesn’t waste these precious combinations. He leverages them.
Whether God calls you to a high-level position in a company, to create a world-changing nonprofit, or to move to the jungle, he does not call you apart from who you are. It is you the wife he is calling; it is you the husband he is calling.
You might experience seasons in which you are asked to prioritize your vocation or calling above your time with your spouse and family — but if season connects with season, your understanding of what God desires is likely skewed. If your vocation feels life-giving but your home life feels draining, you are not taking care of that for which God first desires you to care. If you are too busy for time with God and time with your spouse but still believe you are devoting your time to what he wants for you, you are projecting your design for your calling onto his.
Are you projecting your design for your calling onto God’s?
Your marriage is a supernatural union that God created for love; it is elevated higher than a vocation. Love always trumps projects. Family relationships trump work endeavors.
Jesus was for love. He took time out of his calling to be with people — even when he was exhausted, even when people were irritating — because his calling was the people. Love is the heavenly strategy to which we are all called. What your vocation is doesn’t matter if you are not doing it with love. And love begins in your marriage and family and pours out to others. Love your neighbor as yourself. Your spouse and you are one flesh. Love your neighbor as your marriage.
You might be the perfect fit for your job, and the timing for certain opportunities might seem perfect. But if you are not nurturing your marriage, you are either in the wrong timing or the wrong place, or utilizing the wrong strategy. Ask God the difficult question: “Do I need to leave this seemingly perfect fit for the sake of my marriage?” Could it be your calling has become an idol that keeps you from being who God wants you to be right now?
God does not call married people to forsake their marriages in order to pursue a vocation or calling. He does not pretend that married people have as much vocational capacity as single people do. The apostle Paul talks about this tension in 1 Corinthians 7. But God does have a calling for you both that fits because you are married. Your spouse is integral to your calling because your spouse is integral to the process of bettering you.
What is your marriage worth to you? I believe marriage is dearer to God’s heart than any endeavor you or I could achieve. If your marriage team is not winning, find a different opportunity, a different timetable, or a different strategy in your vocation. You are a spouse. And God will call you in your complex and beautiful identity to something as unique to you as you are in your marriage team.
Copyright ©2016 Lindsay Hall, Used with Permission.