Some of the most thought-provoking people in recent times weren’t real. Remember the Obama campaign’s “Julia”?
Now there’s Lucy, a creation of the Huffington Post’s “Wait But Why” blog. Lucy is today’s emerging adult, an encapsulation of what the article calls Generation Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs for short.
From their earliest years, GYPSYs like Lucy, born between the late 70s and the mid-90s, have been told that they’re special, they can be whatever they want to be, and they should just “follow their passions” when choosing a career. Well, not surprisingly, some have noted that many GYPSYs struggle with a sense of entitlement.
According to the article, “The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than … prosperity and security. ... Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.”
This, as the HuffPo’s blogger points out, is a recipe for unhappiness for Lucy — or anyone else. When reality exceeds our expectations, we’re happy. But when reality falls short, we’re unhappy, even depressed. And reality just can’t match the dreams GYPSYs have learned to expect.
And there’s a lesson in here for the Church, too. We often tell young Christians that God wants them to “follow their passions” — a phrase that’s only been around for a couple of generations — so that we can all discover our special “calling.” In fact, I used to tell people that the key to discovering God’s will is just discovering your passions.
Now, there’s certainly truth to the idea that the Lord has gifted us in unique ways to serve Him, and we can discover these gifts through our passions and use them for His glory. Remember how Olympian Eric Liddell “felt God’s pleasure” when he ran? But there’s more to the biblical picture of calling and vocation than just this.
Jesus also said we must pick up our cross and follow Him. Paul said that anyone who wishes to follow Christ will be persecuted. Remember, Eric Liddell died in a Japanese prison camp.
It’s really only Christians in the West, especially America, who have the luxury of dwelling on the question “What has God made me to be and what is my calling?” Unfortunately, in the process of this dwelling, we may miss other lessons about calling that our brothers and sisters around the world are forced to learn.
The Protestant Reformers understood calling to be not primarily aboutpassion, but as a commitment to glorify God in whatever station we find ourselves. It may be your calling right now to be a student, or a mom or a dad, or a minimum wage employee simply just having to make a living. Whether directly connected with our passions or not, God calls us first and foremost to do the next thing well, to His glory, with all of our might.
So instead of asking “What does God want me to do one day?” we should be asking “What does God want me to do next?”
It’s possible that we’ve “Christianized” a sense of entitlement, and therefore a misunderstanding of calling. In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul says that God determines the exact times that people live and the boundaries of their dwelling place.
Thus, whether we inherit a culture of economic downturn in which many people can’t find a job, or if jobs are plentiful and we can really “follow our passions,” we accept either as from God’s hand. Our calling — whatever culture we find ourselves in — is to live fully engaged in this world, regardless of the particular circumstances.
As Bonhoeffer wrote, “Bravely take hold of the real, not dallying now with what might be. Not in the flight of ideas but only in action is freedom. Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of the living.” These are good words for every generation.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: October 11, 2013