I buckled my joyful little toddler into her seat after our trip to see Ryan at Starbucks. Now that we live further from his store, these visits are quite a treat for both of us.
Lately, a typical morning begins with me sipping coffee while listening to her chant “Bye-bye to dada” next to the front door in her pajamas.
About twice a week I cave. Extra caffeine, a breakfast sandwich made by someone else, and a kiss from the Ryan Hudson is hard to resist.
After one of these special trips, Summer and I got back in the car to return home. The rest of the day would likely involve the water table, a park, gardening, coloring, reading, bubbles and a movie. Pretty standard toddler summertime activities.
As we drove home, I took in the Colorado summer day with a grateful heart.
Summer is one of my favorite seasons in Colorado. I love that I can enjoy the 70 something degree mornings with my windows cracked. I love that sunflowers grow wild along our streets. I love that the cloudless sky clears the way for impeccable views of the range. I love running the trails that link park after park together throughout our city. I appreciate the afternoon showers and the lack of bugs. Not to mention all of the outdoor activities within driving or walking distance.
I looked in the rearview mirror and saw two little flip flops (“wop wops”) dancing away to the Troll theme song. I thanked God for giving me such a joyful little girl.
After reveling in all this gratefulness, I pulled into the garage and took Summer out of the car.
She locked eyes with the sled in storage and begged me to get it down for her. I told her that it is no fun to sled in the summer months because there is no snow. We talked about sledding and snow and sunshine and heat and all the many activities that lend themselves to a summer day versus a winter day.
Nonetheless, she demanded to go sledding. She insisted it was possible. She threw herself onto the ground with a red face and tear-filled eyes. She banged her tiny fists against the ground in true toddler fashion.
After a couple of minutes passed, I got down onto the ground with various toy offerings and gentle words. Yet, the tantrum continued.
I could not help but laugh. Poor girl, she just did not understand why sledding was not an option in this season.
This situation caused me to reflect on how often I put God in this very situation. I demand to partake in an activity that is simply not intended for the season in which I sit.
Like a child wanting to sled in the summer, I want for what is not meant to be rather than appreciating the unique activities for which the season allows. Sure, I could go sit on a sled on a grass-blanketed hill, but I would not get far. And it would not be fun.
Recently, I’ve realized how I have confused the word calling and assignment in my heart. I have come to grips with the reality that my assignment (a.k.a. my job), is ever changing. My calling, however, is unchanging.
Too often, our culture has used the word “calling” to describe an assignment.
We are called to salvation. We are called to life with Jesus. We are called to release God’s Kingdom in this earth.
But, our assignment within that calling changes from season to season.
Unfortunately, we have misused the word “calling” so much that many believe a “calling” is one’s occupation, school of study, or place of residence. This puts such unholy and unnecessary pressure on people to discover their “calling,” with certainty and conviction.
The truth is, our calling is not synonymous with our job. Our job is an assignment, which can change. Our calling is our mission, which is unchanging.
I am called to walk in relationship with Jesus and share Love with others. Four years ago, my assignment was therapist. Three years ago, my assignment was social worker. And today, my assignment is mommy.
Coming to terms with how my assignment will change throughout my journey has brought me such great peace in this season. Instead of throwing myself down kicking and screaming because I cannot take on a different job in this season, I have come to appreciate my current assignment and how it is growing me. And how this growth will make way for any future assignments God gives me.
I pray I will not be like a tantruming toddler who insists on sledding in summer, but that I will be a joy filled child of God who appreciates the unique assignment of each season while holding true to my calling.
Resources on Calling vs. Assignment for those interested…
From my favorite mommy podcast
Kate Harris on the Power of Calling, Constraints and Consent
Denver Institute on Callings, Constraints and Consents
Jill Briscoe on calling/assignment