Your life calling is: a message you embody to a specific audience for an ultimate impact through a unique task.
You have a message that impacts others as you do your mission—your life calling. The message is Christ embodied in you in some particular way for the world. It’s the unique way Jesus shines through you because of how he has shaped your identify. Here’s an example. Years ago some good friends discovered their unborn child had a heart deformity and almost certainly wouldn’t survive. Instead of getting an abortion, they prayed fervently through the full term, went through the birth, and then watched their child die a few days later. It was a heart-wrenching experience putting that tiny coffin in the ground on a lifeless winter day.
That couple went through the pain with Jesus and came out whole on the other side. If I ever run into someone who’s enduring the death of a baby, that’s where I’d send them. Because they met Jesus and allowed him to make a home in that part of their hearts, they can embody him to others who are in the same valley of death.
Life messages are powerful in coaching because they reveal things that tools like strengths and personality type completely miss. The message of your life calling is rooted in the places God has deeply dealt with you, not in your natural strengths or what comes easily. Opening yourself to allow Christ to engrave his message on your heart is the heart of your call. It’s not the outward task that accomplishes God’s purpose, but the impartation that comes through the task—like the message of David’s heart that shines through every time we read the Psalms. Our good deeds are only truly good as the Christ-in-us shines through them.
This life message is designed to resonate with certain people—your audience. Those you are called to serve need exactly what God has put into your heart. Your preparation uniquely qualifies you to speak to them, and makes you the kind of person they’ll listen to. Identifying the specific audience or need you are made to serve is a key part of understanding your call.
The reason for all this is to create an impact on those lives. Your legacy is the ultimate impact of your life message on your target audience. It’s your lasting contribution to society and the Kingdom of God. The true goal is never to build an organization or accomplish a mission—it is to serve real people through the organization or mission.
But the task your message flows through is also crucial. You have a unique life mission/calling task (or series of tasks) that is the most effective conduit for your message. That task is what puts hands and feet to the Christ-in-you and connects Him to your audience. And there is a certain kind of role that fits your design and best enables you to express your call. The task without a message is empty; but a message that is not channeled through the right kind of tasks and roles is limited and ineffective.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.