I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. (CEV) Romans 12:1-2
As Christian parents, we long to help our children figure out God’s callings in their lives, and this is a good thing. However, we can sometimes focus so much on helping our kids figure out what they should do (their vocation) that we neglect to help them figure out what is most important: who is God calling them to become.
Calling is more than vocation
God has given each of us gifts and talents. As parents, we want to help our kids develop their particular gifts. However, it can be easy to get caught up in helping our kids hone their talents and forget to help them understand why and how they should use them. In the very first verses of Romans 12, Paul lays out a foundational difference between how the world approaches work and service and how God desires us to approach it. “...I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2). God is calling each of our children to submit their gifts and talents to his transforming love. Only then can God truly disciple our children into the people he is calling them to be.
Talk about calling
When we think about having a “calling,” we often think it only applies to a lucky few (for example, Oprah!) or only pertains to certain jobs (for example, a pastor or a missionary). The truth is that God calls all of his people into a myriad of roles, jobs, and relationships, and often, into multiple jobs, roles, and relationships throughout a lifetime. Talking with your child about your life experience can help them better understand what calling looks like in real life, and how God may be calling them right now.
When your child asks you about your work or job, don’t shy away from answering, and don’t minimize what you do.
Share with your child how you submit your work to God and share examples of how God “shows up” in your day.
If you’ve worked multiple jobs in your life, point that out to your child. Discuss how your calling has been bigger than any one job or role.
Show how you also follow God outside of your vocation.
Talk with your child about ways you followed God’s call when you were their age.
Ask your child how God might be calling them to submit their daily activities to him. Have them write down ideas on a piece of paper, and revisit those ideas throughout the week.
As parents, we can help our children embrace God’s calling and walk alongside them as they begin to learn how to submit all they do to God: their school work, friendships, activities, and service. It’s part of our calling as parents!
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Connecting Children to God's Story