In a past USA Today survey, they asked people "What would you ask God or some other supreme being if you could ask a question?". The #1 answer in this survey was "What is my purpose in life?". The author mentions that it never tells us that information specifically in the Bible, but it does say that God "will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go" (Psalm 32:8) and that He "is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him" (Phil 2:13).
The book can be summarized in these few ideas:
Ã¢â¬Â¢ God tells us to "ask, seek and knock" but he wants us to do this continually and to stay in an intimate conversation with Him. God gives us enough clarity to keep us encouraged and moving but enough mystery to keep us coming back for more.
Ã¢â¬Â¢ "Jobs and positions are only access points, not callings, to the people or places that God knows need our glory."
Ã¢â¬Â¢ "Your calling in life comes in the form of your strongest desire, your truest preference, and is often initially experienced as your deepest curiosity."
I received a free e-copy of this book from David C. Cook in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Do you know the particular purpose of your life? Do you know who you are, what really gives you fulfillment and your life meaning?
You are more than you have imagined. "You know you're created to be something, to do something, to contribute something, but it's so hard to figure out what that something is."
It is hard to find purpose or place in this world. Barkalow suggests the key is finding your calling (a weighty purpose in life). This book helps you travel that path leading to knowing what you are doing here.
Barkalow understands that God's calling involves mystery. "Mystery is an invitation to intimacy with God." You must continue to ask, seek, and knock to find the deep things of God.
Finding your calling is a journey. Although the calling is within you (it relates to the essence of who you are), it must be developed. This journey of development and discovery is "the overlooked but crucial truth...that we will have to fight for every square inch of our calling." Barkalow gives a strategy to succeed in the battle.
Your calling is related to your deepest desire. The author says, "The realization of your calling is the fulfillment of your truest desires." Not every desire is good, however, and part of the journey is the maturity and experience required to identify the desires God has placed in your hearts. Knowing and living your calling will not come as an epiphany but through a long process of trying and finding. Barkalow quotes Publilius Syrus: "It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity." In the end you will find, "You were created to do what you most want to do."
How are we to know when you are living in your calling? "When the world experiences the effect of our lives, then we are walking in our calling." It will be said you, as it was of David (Acts 13:36), that you served the purposes of God in your generation.
While the concept of calling is rather personal, this would be a great book for a discipleship study. Unfortunately, there are no study nor discussion questions included in the book.
This book was provided for review by The B & B Media Group, Inc.
I first heard Gary speak in 2001 at a men's retreat in Colorado. I've followed him off & on since then, picking up audio cds or reading his blogs along the way.
I got a copy of it from a friend who sent it to me right after it was published. All I can say is, if you've read any books like Wild at Heart (or even if you haven't), this book is a great guide to living in your desires & deciphering your calling. It was very helpful to me and I'm continuing to refer back to it as I move forward in my journey. The author has a way of bringing up and answering questions that may have only lived in me as a vague feeling until then.
Also, the author does men's retreats. See the links below to learn more.
If you're like me, you're probably not sure, at least not all of the time _ OK, not even most of the time. I mean, there are times, moments of clarity when I know what God has called me to, who I am in Him and my place in the story; but if I am honest, those times seem surreal, like a dream. You know, those nighttime visions in which you magically know how to play the guitar or ride that perfect wheelie or sing on key. Then you wake up, so sure how to proceed, only to realize that the once again the fog has settled in and clarity is anything but clear.
I just finished It's Your Call - What Are You Doing Here by Gary Barkalow. Man, I wish I had this book a year ago _ or twenty years ago for that matter. Calling, especially God's calling on our lives, is so opposed. Our enemy twists it and contorts our interpretation of it until we are left seriously doubting any purpose for our lives at all aside from the usual paying of taxes and trying to keep our kids out of jail. But like a lighthouse in the midst of that fog, Barkalow offers a clear point of reference to re-orient us to the truth; and that truth is very good news my friends. It is the truth that God has created you, and me, with a unique role to play in this grand adventure that we call life.
Beyond orientation and clarity of the battle set against you though, Gary also offers something of even greater value: he offers perspective. You see, I know that God has called me, and I know that this calling is opposed, but it is the interpretation of the events that follow that keep coaxing me out of that Ã¢â¬Ëdream' and into a Ã¢â¬Ëconsciousness' that appears more true of who I really am. It's not, of course. It's the Matrix, it's Ã¢â¬Ëthe world that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth'; but it seems so real, so true of who I am.
In the last chapter of It's Your Call, Barkalow reminds us that between desire and fulfillment of this call that each of us have, there is a chasm, a time when Ã¢â¬Ëreality is far more disrupting than dreaming'. That truth alone, spoken by a man who has walked a road that many of us are on as well, is worth the fourteen dollar price tag.
So what are you doing here? I can't answer that question for you, but I can tell you that it is much bigger than you have been led to believe. For me, I'm going to keep pursuing the dream. As for you, well like Gary said, it's your call.