Image for 'How to Identify Your Calling'

How to Identify Your Calling

“Those who conjure up the courage to start looking at the depths of their heart, mind and soul, they will naturally fall into their calling.” By Jennifer Lynn Strobl

What is your calling? Has someone ever asked you this question? It is a common phrase the local church uses to ask someone what they feel God is leading them to do in life. If you search the definition of calling, you will find a definition from Merriam-Webster along the lines of, “a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.” This could mean your job, your volunteer position or maybe even a way of life. 

The word “calling” is an abstract term but in my own discovery, calling is a culmination of who you are and what you were created to do. Simply said, the “who” plus the “what” equals calling. Before we jump in, I want to tell you that oftentimes, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to discover what our calling is, thinking it is finding the ONE and ONLY thing we are to do in life. I think this is a false narrative as our calling may change from season to season, person to person, even situation by situation. Therefore, allow your being and calling to shift as the Lord shapes you in different seasons.

Let’s start with the “who” because, honestly, who you are matters much more than what you do. If you are doing good for the world, yet you are not a good person, then are you truly stepping into who God has called you to be and what He has called you to do? You cannot have one without the other. Ultimately, if the transformation doesn’t start from within, one’s attempt at stepping into their calling will dissipate quickly. Those who conjure up the courage to start looking at the depths of their heart, mind and soul, they will naturally fall into their calling. Discovering the layers of yourself before going into action invites you onto an intentional path of life rather than a road that leads to a dead end. 

You may be asking yourself, “Where do I start in learning more about who I am?” We can start at the very beginning, at the time each of us was created. We are all created in the image of God, yet each designed specifically and uniquely. God’s character is so brilliant and so vast that each of us is able to be created in His likeness yet not like anyone else. 

What does the Bible tell us about the character of God? The Bible describes God in many ways throughout Scripture. God is love (1 John 4:8), God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), God is trustworthy (Psalm 145:13), God is merciful (Psalm 86:5), but the one that I want to bring to your attention is that God is holy (Isaiah 57:15). Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (ESV). The Greek word for holy in the Bible is “hagios,” which means “set apart.” 

Colossians 3:17 tells us, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (NIV). This is a countercultural way to live life. For some, being set apart means shining a light wherever you go, like a city on a hill as the book of Matthew describes in chapter five. For others, being set apart means making choices for Jesus rather than for the flesh. This may look like forgiving others even when we do not want to, showing compassion to the poor, listening to a friend when they need you. It means choosing grace over anger, compassion over judgment and contentment over greed. We function from our identity in Christ to then go forth and pursue our calling to be set apart in this world like a light in the dark. 

The second part of calling is the “what.” We know that God has called each of us to “love God and love others” but the specificity of how each of us fulfills this will vary (Matthew 22:37-39). This process begins with prayer. We have the blessing to partner with God and take an open-hand posture to receive prompts in the direction the Lord desires for us. This takes vulnerability to say, “Lord, send me,” even to places and in roles we may not expect. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (NIV). For example, when I worked in sports medicine, I knew my calling was to teach others about Christ; however, I was confused as to why I was working in the medical field. Once I shifted my mindset and saw another perspective, I realized that I could teach others about Jesus through my kindness by helping others within this field of work as Jesus’s character is displayed through many words and actions. The calling may remain the same but the environment, or how it is lived out, may shift.

The second aspect of “what” is to discover your spiritual gifts and talents. Maybe you are an excellent writer, or maybe you love to teach the Bible, or it could be that you have a heart and ability to connect with those in the margins. Seek God’s guidance to highlight these things and consider what abilities and talents you are utilizing in your life right now. Ask others whom you trust to share what gifts they see in you because there are times others will see things in us that we do not even see ourselves. 

Lastly, your “what” can also be connected to something you feel passionate about, so ask yourself what in this world makes your heart stir? What is something in this life that motivates you to make a difference that even if there are barriers, pushback or even spiritual attack, that you would continue to pursue this calling? 

Our calling in life is more about who we are rather than specifically what we are doing. God has created each of us uniquely and guides each of us in different directions. My prayer for each of you reading this is that you will discover the depths of who God created you to be and move forward in the direction in which Christ is leading you. May God speak to you and make known the beautiful adventure before you. 

for further study

I recommend simply taking one step to start as discovering your call can be intimidating and unfortunately, many of us put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to figure it out as soon as possible. 

Maybe for you it looks like committing to prayer and meditation for 10 minutes a day and specifically asking God, “Who am I and what is my call?” 

For another, it may look like taking a step and leading a small group at your church. This puts you in a position of leadership and influence while allowing you to practice your gifts. Many churches and schools also have internship programs along with residency. Ask yourself today, “What is one step I can take to learn more of who I am deeply and what God has planned for my life?” 


  • In His Image by Jen Wilkins 
  • You Be You by Jamie Ivey 
  • You Are The Girl For The Job by Jess Connolly 
  • Your Calling Here and Now by Gordon T. Smith


  • The Adventure Before Us by Jennifer Lynn Strobl
  • The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

This article was originally titled “Call to Action” in the Summer 2023 issue of Peer.


Jennifer coaches young adult women, high school and collegiate athletes and women in ministry to discover who they are, how they were created and what their calling is in life. She is a podcaster, writer and speaker. She is the Director of Groups and Missions at a church in Nashville, TN. Born and raised in the Midwest, she currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, Nick, and two pups, Hudson and Rainier. You can find her on Instagram at @jenniferlynnstrobl. 

You May Also Like