Focusing Our Calling Within Our Present

by Jun 9, 2017Connect, Cultivate6 comments

What a gift we have as human beings to be in the present with a story and past behind us while moving toward the future with goals and dreams. We’re the only living creatures that can be aware of all three—past, present, future—at any given moment. That’s amazing, and yet at times the present feels like an in-between, with an uncomfortable tension to be resolved so we can move into our sweeter, more appealing future.

Those in-betweens we experience in the present, on the way through our unfolding dreams to stepping into our calling, often come in the form of a transition, a sense of stalling out, or a derailment. Suddenly our goals and dreams or our calling feel far off. We find we are discouraged, maybe fearful or indecisive, definitely frustrated, at best, cranky.

Okay, maybe that’s just me. But then maybe not.

Where are you today in your in-betweens? What do you most long for? What emotions surround your thoughts about your hopes and dreams or calling?

Suanne Camfield in her book, The Sound of a Million Dreams: Awakening to Who You Are Becoming, has a chapter called, Present. In it she writes:

“My friend Ed once told me that we spend so much time wondering what we’re called to that we forget we’re called to whatever we’re doing right now. This I needed to hear for the present is not a barrier to our call. It is our call.”

I wonder if we might live in a culture that exalts the call, the big dream, or hurrying toward the future at the expense of the beauty of the present. Is it possible, that in rushing through the current moment, we miss much that might have given us great joy? Could it be that there is a depth God is cultivating in us right now where we are that is crucial for the unfolding of His purposes or calling? Perhaps that cultivation is our most important focus right now?

And backing that up one more step to sit in agreement with Susanne Camfield and her friend Ed, could it be that what we are experiencing and doing right now truly is our calling? Found in the ordinary everydayness of being available and responsive to what each moment brings?

What would that be like for you—to experience this present moment as your calling?
What might you begin to notice?

Recently my husband and I took a relaxed fifteen-mile bike ride on a beautiful path along the Truckee River. That day the river was flowing fast and wild from massive amounts of spring snow melt. I think back to those rushing waters and see it as a metaphor for how any of us might rush through our days toward the future, crushing with all the churning any possibility of noticing what this present day held.

So a question we might hold and consider could be: What has God given this day for?

Those words alone bring me more into the present. Admittedly, to slow into the moment is something I have to do intentionally. Otherwise, I am much like that roiling, rushing riverif not in my actions, in my thoughts.

To use another metaphor, instead of always looking across to the far end of a field of flowers, we can notice the one flower in front of us and enjoy its intricacies. I think God knows I need images like these to bring my focus to what is right before me.

When I bring my thoughts to the present moment, I am less anxious about my purpose or calling or how my dreams or goals might come about. I begin to rest in what this present day holds. I am simply and more fully engaging in the day. Perhaps I do this in a planned way, and maybe within the context of the future, but mostly I’m allowing myself to be a part of the details of the moment, really seeing the people and activities of the day before me, even becoming more aware of the subtleties of God’s presence and leading.

In bringing your focus to the present right now, what do you see before you that you might have been missing or looking past? How might you enjoy it or engage in it more fully?

Incorporating one or two questions into my morning rhythms of prayer and journaling helps me to bring my focus to the present, while I continue to trust God for my future. Including the one mentioned above, here are a few to start with:

What has God given this day for?

What is God’s heart for me and for those I will be with today?

How will I intentionally engage more fully in what each moment holds, with open hands to receive from God or to give to others?

Borrow these or create more of your own, but whatever you choose, begin to watch for how calling unfolds more naturally and beautifully when we focus intentionally on the present moment.

Focusing on the present is just one consideration in the discovery of calling. I know you each have your own journeys and stories, so feel free to share your perspectives and add to the conversation. I always love to hear from you as I gain much from what you share! What do you think about purpose and calling? Do you seek to discover it or let it unfold naturally? And if you know your calling, how did you discover it? 


  1. Bethany Macklin

    Thanks, Jan. ? You know it’s a subject I love and I sure appreciated the reminder!

    • Jan Kern

      I do know that! You are a student of His Word, passionate about the depth you find there. And you also share it so well with others!

  2. Joy Martin

    Love this post Jan. One of the lines I very much connect with is, “…could it be that what we are experiencing and doing right now truly is our calling? Found in the ordinary everydayness of being available and responsive to what each moment brings?” That is exactly the place God is settling me into…being available in this very moment. ..paying attention to what is around me right now …the breeze, the birds singing, the voices and presence of those around me, the whisper of the Holy Spirit, the blog post I had been wanting to sit and read …like this one. ? Thank you. Great words here…bringing Rest and not striving.

    • Jan Kern

      Sweet words, Joy. I can picture God settling you into that place of being available in the moment that is currently before you. It seems to me, through reading your blog, that you have been doing that quite well! May you continue to enjoy the song of the birds, the presence of those around you, the Holy Spirit’s whispers–all of His blessings in the right now of His calling for you personally.

  3. Bethany Macklin

    Great post, Jan. The importance of the present in living, following, and finding our “calling” can’t be overstated. I’ve found that the surest way to find our calling is daily obedience. Each stone we step onto in faith and obedience is the next “step” towards the path God is calling us down. And that obedience is rarely some great expression of faith as much as it is 1000 ordinary acts of simple righteousness: being kind to my kids, speaking respectfully to my husband, refusing to gossip or complain. As I obey God, He speaks to me. The more I obey Him the closer I get to Him and the clearer His voice becomes to my inner ear.

    In my life, I find my calling by living fully in the present, “What is God calling me to today?” As I follow those daily light posts, God leads me into the next thing He has for me in His kingdom plan. He leads, He guides, He calls. I simply obey. When I trust and obey in the present, I will unfailingly find myself perfectly placed in the future to fulfill ALL He has for me. It is not a perfect process, but it is a peaceful one, a restful God-centric way that has taken me much grief, striving, and struggle to learn to stop, wait, and listen to God’s gentle, “Do you love Me? Then obey Me. Do you trust Me? Then follow Me. TODAY.”

    What a supreme source of joy that I don’t have to figure it out! That I can fully enjoy all the intricacies, as you so beautifully put it, of the gift of each day. I wrote a post on the “in between” seasons that adds an interesting layer to the supreme importance of the “dormant” season. (

    I think sometimes the present–in whatever form it presents itself–makes us feel stuck and impatient to move on prematurely. When we fall prey to that, we not only miss the joy of today, but God’s call for tomorrow. The best things in life are always worth the wait. Thanks for sharing your rich insight with us!

    • Jan Kern

      Oh yes, obedience, simple acts of righteousness, one after another, is so much a part of living in the present moment! Thank you for bringing that in as well as another question for all of us to consider asking as a part of stepping into our day. Your words make me think of Jesus’s invitation, “Come. Follow me.” Go there. Go with him. That is the calling. And as you said, He will lead into the next thing and the next. Thank you for all your comments and adding more beautiful layers and insight to the conversation, Bethany!

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