Most of the time, our lives are rather routine. We can predict what we’ll be doing next year because it’s likely very similar to last year. Routine is not a bad thing. Predictability helps us be more effective and efficient.
At certain times, though, our lives become unpredictable. We change jobs. We relocate. We pursue new interests and friends. A new chapter begins.
It’s one thing to begin a new chapter when it’s thrust upon you, say through a job loss. But what about those other, more normal times? How do you know when you’re about to enter a new chapter in your life?
In this post, I examine one of the three signs that might suggest you’re entering a new chapter in your life: The sudden call.
Sometimes we know God is moving us rather abruptly into a new adventure. Like the Old Testament patriarch Abraham obeying the call of God to relocate, sometimes we need to move first before God shows us where to land (Gen 12:1). It wasn’t easy for him. He packed up 75 years of accumulated possessions, livestock, family and servants. And it’s no day trip with a backpack for us either.
Sudden calls are extraordinary occurrences of divine intervention to do something that to others might look crazy.
Several years ago a friend of mine asked for prayer to confirm a sudden call in his life. He was awakened in the middle of the night with a strong conviction that God was asking him to quit his highly successful sales job. But to do what? He didn’t know. When this went on night after night he became convinced that the next job wasn’t the issue. Quitting his current one was. When his wife independently told him she thought he should quit too, he knew needed to act, regardless of the consequences.
Quitting his job without having another in hand defied conventional wisdom. Like Abraham, it was a courageous and costly move. He gave up a certain job for an uncertain future, trusting God for the outcome.
Because of their abrupt nature, sudden calls can create a lot of anxiety. How do I know if what I’m sensing is a calling from God or just a lapse in sanity? What happens if my worst fears about the future come true? How can I explain this to others?
If you think you might have received a sudden call, here are three suggestions to consider:
- Test your equipment. My friend didn’t take act on his first impression. He first tested his equipment: his devotional life. He had a vibrant devotional life, so he prayed and asked God to give him additional insight and confirmation. If you think you’ve received a prompting to act, especially one that might require drastic changes, first evaluate your devotional life. If it’s not as strong as you think you’d like, start there. Reading the bible and time spent in prayer is always the best preparation for action.
- Seek counsel. My friend didn’t rely solely on his own judgment. He sought the advice of those he trusted, and especially the one with whom he’d share the consequences, his wife. Sudden calls are to be spiritually discerned, so seek counsel from those who, themselves, seek God. Of course, any contemplation that contradicts the scriptures cannot, by definition, be a call of God.
- Don’t panic. When my friend decided to pull the trigger and resign, he did something even more courageous. He resisted the temptation to force a solution. It would have been easy to let anxiety take over and take the first job that came his way. Instead, he went on high alert, carefully and intentionally evaluating options, knowing there was a purpose for his move and asking God for the wisdom to discern it. Unknowingly, he followed the advice of theologian Henri Nouwen: “Take time to believe in your free choice before you move forward in a new direction.”
Sudden calls can be some of the most exhilarating ways to begin a new chapter. My friend experienced immense personal growth and a deepened relationship with his wife. But sudden calls are not the most common form of new chapter beginnings. Healthy discontent is much more common. That’s the subject of my next post.
If you’ve had a sudden call experience what are some of the lessons you learned?
Gosh I hope I never get a sudden call, because at this point in my life it would probably kill me. But if that happens, I’m checking back with the solid points brought out here. Thanks Leary!
Ha Jean. Abraham was 75 when he received his. I think you still have a few years left in your tank. 🙂
Abraham had some amazing adrenal glands. That good desert living . . .
Ha! Probably so.
Amazing post! I too just received a sudden call from God . . . hang on, I better answer this 😉
Ha! Good one. Thanks Jeremy. Yes, you had BETTER answer it.
Okay, so what happened to the guy in your example who quit his job?
Hi Jean. Whoa. Just saw I hadn’t responded to your question. Sorry about that. The guy I wrote about went on to take another job after a few months. While he’s not sure why he was to leave, he never regretted doing so.
I had a job that pays good money( working in a casino), and the job is not stressfull and more relax. But i got a feeling deep down in my heart that God has something more for me out there, i dont feel inspired and motivated eveytime i go to work.. i feel like im only existing and not living the real purpose God created me for.. God gave me certain skills and abilities and i think its not alligned with current job.. im scared to make the change, but im gonna do it anyway! Tnx for ur post leary!
Hi Brian! Thanks for dropping by and commenting. It sounds like you’ve got a good dose of healthy discontent which I talk about in the next post in this series. I’ll pray that God rewards you for trusting in Him for your next steps.
Don’t know how I found this but so glad I did. I am at the stage where I normally put on my gym shoes and start running. I also know that I am taking the time to pray more and asking to to reveal to my why I’m in this space. I know I have a job to do for God, it’s not clear yet. I’m praying on the next step….
Hey there Mrs. P! So glad you found my website as well. Feel free to browse around and ask questions. I applaud your pursuit and your patience. It will be rewarded. 🙂
I got a call from God I left my good paying job after months of praying and seeking God I decide to move .I put a transfer in at my job .the week before I moved the job informed me that the person decide to stay.Here I’m I gave up my apartment told the job I was leaving my fiancé got a house for us .I drive 1000 of miles away to find myself with no job or job opening in my new state .I ask myself did I hear from God .I was placed in a very uncomfortable position no job no money nothing and no way to get back home I learned to trust and depend on God after much fasting and praying I got a job six mths later after hearing the spirit tell me to apply for my old position in my new state I’m working filled with the Holy Ghost and trusting God
Hi Angela. Sounds like you were on quite a journey…and reaped quite a harvest of faith as you trusted God through it all. Thank you for your testimony. So few step out because of fear and don’t reap the assurances you’ve experienced that, through it all, God provides!
This is me right now! 13 years ago I got a sudden call, a real one, from the principal of a school who needed me to teach. I just planned to be a stay at home mom but prayed about it and felt God wanted me to take it. When I told the principal I would sign the contract I felt a great peace and God told me everything would be OK. Now, a transfer to another state and a few schools later I have a job I LOVED the last 3 years. But starting last spring I felt God was preparing me for somewhere else. I told my school this would be my last year (I had already signed my contract) and had a LOT of unrest about coming back this year (physical stress, stomach aches, nightmares) but felt committed by my contract. It is weird – I really really liked my teaching job and am a very good teacher! Parents and students like me. I really felt that things would be different this year and they are. I don’t feel the connection, feel like I am going somewhere but no place that I expect or plan, and just in general lost. I even told my principal I wanted to quit at the semester but he said he could not replace me so I feel committed until June. I also must admit that there is some teacher to teacher bullying, which affects me, but the last 3 years I so loved work it did not matter. I am nervous but excited to see what God has planned. I wish He would hurry up and show me!
Hi Diane. Thanks for sharing your story. I smiled when I read your last sentence. How true. You know the old adage: “God’s never late and He’s never early.” How many times I wish He were early. 🙂 But then, what would that make of my faith? I’m praying that He will give you the wisdom you need for today and the faith you need for tomorrow.
Wow Leary,I feel that God has called me.After praying with a brother who is a seer in church he reveals to me that Am called to discernment.My dreams are so deep,intense.It’s like Am a major participant in them & often I find myself surrounded by bright,benign beings.From childhood I vowed my virginity to God & my girlfriend knew about it and left me.I seem to excel at everything I lay my hands on & by some special instinct I simply learn things fast.But I don’t seem to be able to keep any work/job long enough and I keep battling dark beings often.I’ve accepted the call but if God would point me further to the path He desires it will edify my spirit.Thanks for your inspirational post.
You’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Grace and peace to you. Col 3:17
Good morning Leary Gates I believe God called me, he wants me to change my life style, cause right now I’m not at my best and it seems things get worse in my life since not excepting the calling God had over me. I really want to walk in my calling but it be so hard with friends and other distractions. My bills at a high right now I can’t provide for my kids like they should be provided for. I think because I didn’t step in my calling I have been struggling even harder, I don’t have a job, when I apply they never call. Can you pray for me Leary Gates it’s a struggle for me.
Hi Rhonda, I’m sorry I didn’t catch your comment earlier but, yes, absolutely, I prayed for you right now and am trusting God to give you the wisdom to walk with Him through your challenges.
I too feel that the Lord is leading me in a new direction. This past August, I left a church, due to extra biblical things that were being taught. The Lord showed me that I was serving man and not the Lord. My father passed away with in the month. Since then I have not felt comfortable in the same city anymore. It feels foreign to me and quite strange. Have been praying for Gods guidance and direction.
Thanks Liza for dropping by and leaving me your comment. I just prayed that God would give you the next step of obedience that He wants you to take as you follow Him. Grace and peace.
Lately, I have been praying for the Will of God for my life. I currently live in Indiana and work in the retail world. I like my job, but I feel no peace and happiness from my job and also where I live at here in Indiana. I have been praying and seeking the Lord’s Will for my life and honestly, I’m ready to take a step of faith and live in Hawaii. I have the funds to fly out there. If it’s the plan of God for me, then I put my faith in Him to somehow provide for me and take care of me in Hawaii. I don’t know what to expect if I move to Hawaii, but I put my faith in the Lord to watch over me and take care of me. Please pray for me about this and tell me what you think. Thanks.
Hi Blake. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Hawaii sounds like a big step. I am reminded of a time that my wife and I visited Hawaii. Over a meal, we made a remark to one of the servers how beautiful it was there. She replied, “This place is a rock,” and went on to explain that she felt like she was in prison, few options to go anywhere without a lot of expense and she was just saving up enough money to get off the island. I guess that goes to show that one person’s paradise can be another’s prison.
If you haven’t been there before, or have connections, I might suggest you prayerfully start small. Ask around to meet those who have been there. Perhaps they can connect you with islanders who can tell you what is it like and maybe even connect you to some employment options that you can explore. I like what Henri Nouwen said, “Take time to believe in your free choice before you move forward in a new direction.”
May God fill you with wisdom as you trust Him.
Hi I live in idaho been here 26 years have moved to mcallen texas 3 times we just last a year and we end up back. we have struggled financial and here we do good.we bought a house husband has a job. we want to move cause of the weather my body Hurst cause of the cold we don’t want to live here planning to sell house move to Houston texas where there’s more good paying jobs .praying to here from God
Have prayed for you this morning Elvira that God’s grace will overflow in your life. Boldly forward!
Im not a christian, however Ive just now starting to get back to church. Ive had the pulling to move to my hometown state for about a year. I can not seem to loose this feeling that says Go Go Go !! Ive got a great job here in Al and a small home thats paid for. .I feel a ” calling toward ministry as well and even checked into it. Is this God or am I simply losing my mind..
Hello Frances. The true test of a call of God is its durability. Does it last? If you have a hard time shaking it, it may be a sign of a calling for you.
The best course of action I would recommend is to continue to go to church and learn about God. He’s more concerned with your heart than your works of ministry so the best thing you can do is live a life fully committed to Him. That you say are not a Christian yet and that you may have a desire for ministry suggests that God may be tugging on your heart to be in relationship with Him. That is your first call. Even Christians can lose their first love when they are overly occupied with what they do rather than being occupied with Whom they serve. May God continue to stir your heart and bring someone to you who can equip you in the grace, mercy and truth of Jesus. Boldly forward.
I am now un this place in my life, renting from a family member and now they seem to be trying to tell me what to do. Then my sister is upset at ne for silly reasons. Son needs good job none whete we live. I feel like church iis dead; no growth people set in their ways. My gut tells me its time to go but where. I do not want to be out of God’s will. Prayers appreciated
I feel led to move to Texas. Unknowingly at the time that I was suppose to move. I received a map of Texas in the mail. My sister lives there and I ask and she stated that she never sent me anything. I moved out of my apt because of the relocation and a family emergency that required my assistance. I went into prayer and God confirmed 3 times of the move one of Abraham in Genesis one in Mark and the other through the rites of passage. He confirmed that I am in the stage between one state and the other. It’s rough he took me out of my comfort zone, tried me, shaped me, molded me and humbled me as well as taken me places in the spirit I have never been. I will be there soon I believe the door just has not been open yet. I am in ministry and have been through a lot in the last 2 years. I do believe he is calling me there for ministry and to work with the abused and abandoned. This was a great post.I just have more faith that this what I am suppose to do. Thanks!
I needed to see this. I feel that God is calling me right now, and I am waiting on clarification from him. I am struggling with being homesick, and nees clarification from God on what direction he needs me to take. Please pray for us. God Bless.
This is Diane from Oct 28 post. It has been so neat to watch what God has done in my life I just have to type about it. Work became very hard as bullying increased and I was teaching at a school with some pretty harsh discipline of students I did not like (old time catholic school). My husband’s job was turning bad also with a really tough boss. His blood pressure went way up and he was not sleeping well. In November I told him our jobs are killing us (we are in our early 50’s) and I literally feared he would have a heart attack within the year. So I prayed and prayed not knowing what to do. In Dec students reported to me an admin member hit a student on the head hard with a notebook. I emailed the headmaster and shortly afterward he had a very very stern meeting with me saying I could not question a member of his team. We had previously had a good relationship and I was devastated. Weirdly enough the day before the meeting I received an offer to teach at a charter school. I had applied for Aug 2017 but she wanted me Jan 23! As you can imagine I took the job, only with permission from my headmaster but he seemed willing by that time to let me go (I had finally made a formal complaint of some harassment). It was pretty awful with the politics that last month and I was so sad to leave my students but such a relief now. In addition Jan 2 my husband was let go of his 13 year job. He never had a bad review and his headhunter even said that when checking on him (through his contacts with my husband’s company) many in the company wondered if it was the right thing to do to let him go. But God had plans. My husband received an offer in Chicago making 25% more than he did before with a larger year end bonus. Plus it is closer to his and my family and in a much preferred location/state than the one we are in now! My daughter going to college was accepted to a college 2 hours from there for next spring. it is rather competitive and she was at first rejected but I prayed and she was allowed spring enrollment! I am sad to leave my new school, it is a charter, one of the the best in the nation, and has been a good place but I trust God has somewhere for me to serve. I applied to a college to teach in Chicago and had an offer in my email the next morning. But it is only two classes and I really like high school. We also have a house to sell. So I am just looking to see what God will do next. And in the midst of all this my son in law had treatment for cancer. The cancer is gone but he had a few serious side effects – one a blood clot and the treatment for that has damaged his liver. We are waiting until tomorrow for the health reports. I wonder why God has taken us through this – we are normally a happy, healthy family of 11 (including 2 sons in law and a granddaughter). But I find I have been forced to sit and trust God to make it all happen with the health, house sale, job, and move as I really can’t do anything else! I am so impatient I am begging Him now to settle us all – but I realize I must wait and work in His time. I guess that is my lesson now, but it is really hard.
the last week it feels as if God is calling me to do something big.FIrst I’ve felt its time to rid my house of electronics as they pollute the mind and take up hours of my day(other then my computer).No tv,no cable,no dvd players ect.Second I feel an even stronger erg to connect closer to God.THird I’ve been feeling an extreme erg to move to this little town by the lake(I can transfer there with my job).its also been a dream of mine to live in a cabin by water and my wife has always wanted to live in the wooded areas and in small town and that’s exactly what this town is like.Just us living simple,for God with no destractions,but i’m not sure if this is God calling me or just a shift in my spiritual growth.Dont know if this is God telling me to move.Anyone have any ideas
Hello I cam across this website Very great information I am in transition period Where i want to get out of my job situation I feel like i have no life And ready for a change I want to move out state And start over I lost my dad last year And the job I’m in i just not going anywhere in life Tired of being stuck I have been a caregiver for 10 years And the job it has turn is to 24 7 I live with the person And take care of them And i think it time for a change And take care of me I want to move I will not have a job But i will have enough money to get place to live I used to be spare the moment kind of person Like that topic like you were talking about sudden call I feel like i;m seeing sign about the move I inherited some money And might be able to get apartment I have had lot hardship Lost jobs and so on I feel like i just need to make the move And don’t look back I used to be risk taker And tired of been stuck Thank you Carolyn
Wow! It’s a blessing I came across this post. For about a month..I have been feeling ad though God is transitioning me else where. The fact of leaving my job that I love, my church and just change period just fears me. I strongly feel the urge to move ALL OF A SUDDEN. The town is only about 40 mins away..we go there often. Please pray for clarity and boldness! And to add the church I feel like he’s sending me to is where I know I can be useful!
As a 21 year old guy I’d never felt God speak to me and then about a year ago I felt God telling me to move out to the west coast. After seeking advice from my parents, pastor, and mentors no one told me to go either way. Still think about it to this day. I never know if my own thoughts are speaking or what.
Hello,this website is a blessing to me because right now am confused don’t know what to do.I have a feeling within me of relocating to a foreign land.Though i have been praying about it,but God has not spoken to me whether to move on or not.I want to know if i’m taking the right step
My family is going through a situation that looks like were well established to other people, but my husband and I have been feeling this tug to leave and go back to Georgia. Its amazing because 13 years ago, i felt the same tug which lead me to move to Georgia and get married after knowing my husband personally for a month. We have been in the wilderness for a few months and I think its almost time. Weve prayed, surrendered and been waiting for God to show us how….please pray for my family❤️
Just made a love to resign and wait for God to direct my path. Before I resigned, I was restless and over thinking and obsessing and trying to understand why people were acting the way they were. Once I resigned, it was calm. A small hint of sadness because I’ve spent many years in ministry here and will miss the people but I have peace and contentment and don’t feel rushed to start a new ministry but waiting on God to lead me.
Also a friend who i trust with godly wisdom answered my email to them I had resigned in a way I was not expecting and it totally lined up with God.
I feel as if God is calling my children and I to move to another state ,I dont have much in the state I live in now but what if it isn’t God and I do loose or live a worse life than the one my children and I are currently living reading this did give me hope that this is what I am.supoose to do
I’m not a spiritual or religous person by any means…i live a fairly sinful existence im not one to be a standard bearer at all. 5 months ago my first child was born and the last month or two…i. Not sure whats going. I have been crazy emotional about human rights and pro life issues and reading the gospel and all sorts of crazy….finding myself in tears sometimes. im starting to wonder if god is calling me or if I am going crazy. Why is he doing this what am I supposed to do i dont understand what to do with this energy these thoughts dont go away they give me goosebumps. I suddenly want to feed hungry people and give toys to children …what gives
Hi Steve! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Sounds like God’s got a grip on your heart and He’s turning your attention to what’s on His heart. That’s pretty cool. I’ve found that He often doesn’t give us the WHY He does something or stirs something in us. It wouldn’t be trust if we had to know all the answers before we stepped out in obedience. Cheering you on! 👊👊
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Heelo Such a Great post. I needed to read I have been wanted to move and get out a streeszful situation. Caregiver to someone dementia It taking till on my health I want to move do not have job or place to live But I keep praying and asking god for wisdom In my decision. I just so ready to get my life back I have done the best I can do in this live in situation I’m ready for a change Thank you Carolyn
This is a great article. I feel that God is calling me to leave my relationship. I was born again 2 yrs ago and living with the father of my child.
I feel God wants better for me but I don’t want to split my family up.
Would appreciate your prayers and advice!
This is a great article. I feel that God is calling me to leave my relationship. I was born again 2 yrs ago and living with the father of my child.
I feel God wants better for me but I don’t want to split my family up.
Would appreciate your prayers and advice!
This was a good read kinda gave me enlightenment for the past mo th or so I have had an urge to leave the job I was at lots of negativity and what felt to be zero faith even the owner had lost faith in his own business count less times i had told myself to get off the sinking ship granite the pay was on the higher side given my location weeks went on I’d suppose I was hoping it would get better and I could continue to earn a good living but god seen me struggle in doing what he purposed so he decided it was time and I was releaved of my duties it just happened it was like I knew before they did it or I manifested my own removal of employment first job I had been fired from as I had a big plan as to how I wanted to leave I guess most time if you think you have a choice the decision has already been made I sure hope I’m not sitting around d for a couple months waiting for the next chapter in my life to take off as I place all my unwanted worries at our Lords feet and i pray in Gods plan in jesus name amen
Why God is related to a survival example???? Life is only Survival??? But in any case I believe the surprise call from GOD is better than the predictable one.
I submitted my notice to a job that God revealed to me was no longer part of my journey, only to find myself at another job that God did NOT call me to go to. There was money to be made and a new career path. I worked at the new job for 4 days, fighting and denying what I already knew to be true…that’s not where I was supposed to be. I walked out of that job without worry, doubt or fear in my heart… Believing that God was going to lead me to my next level of promotion. Two months of being unemployed taught me humility, deepened my faith, and strengthened my relationship with God. My life went from stagnant to extraordinary over night. We are God’s strategy!
Thanks so much this is great !
I’m in a chapter of my life when I’m getting ready to get re-married, and Daughter going to college and my fiance and I thinking of moving to San Antonio Texas .
I just want to make sure this is Gods will for us and we are in order .
I can work remote but my fiance is seeking new employment
keep us in your prayers.
So I’m not sure how I found this website but I’m struggling with knowing for sure if me moving about two hours away is what God is in agreement with. I am recently separated from an abusive husband. I have a protection order in place and feel unsafe remaining at the home we shared. The landlord offered to rent me a room at reduced rent which I thought was a good idea, but now it has been on my heart a lot lately that I need to leave. The landlord is 72, I’m 49, and he seems to think that I’m his girlfriend even though I have sternly rebuked his inappropriate attention. I also found out that he practices which craft. The house just feels wrong and I feel like God is yelling at me to leave, I can’t stop thinking about it. Yesterday my sister called out of the blue and asked me if I would like to come live with her. I am able to transfer my job there and I would be surrounded by God loving people AND my ex will not know where I’m living. I just don’t know how to discern if God is really pushing me that way. Thank you for your website, I really enjoyed reading what some people have posted. God Bless!
Its me again, I just had to let you know that as soon as I hit post comment, I received an email that read: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6.
Its almost as if I sent that to God and he texted me. I’m in total amazement. Praise God!
My name is Ernest Matha from South Africa, I had to Google or rather find answers about my current situation. I was married 2009 and my wife past away in 2017, at that time we where separated for over 3 years then. We had 2 kids a boy and a girl and I was already living far over 1000 kilometers away when she died. My kids stayed with Granny (wife), I am then staying with a girl friend in Cape Town and its really not helping me grow, I did quit smoking last year and did quit drinking 2017 and she is doing both and being me quite and reserved I stayed and even when I see I can’t give God all of me, even hard to pray, how can I allow this. I met a girl that attends and loves Gods things and it was really not expected as it was only for business and we now work together and when she speaks about God and where she comes from. Oh my God how can I not believe that God says I must go and change my life. I wanna get married with her I don’t know what to do. I’m going to church for the first time this coming Sunday after over 7 years ….I wish I can share a voice recording this story is bit long.
I haven’t told her anything yet but I’m also ask God to help !e not to sleep with my girl friend as I always knew and felt bad for not doing the right thing. But its all good as I have self control and so fare the past weeks I met her I have been without sinning in that note.
I’m 21 years old and currently living at home with my parents because of the pandemic. I have saved up my money to get an apartment and I feel like God is giving me this opportunity not only because I have been praying for it but because he wants me to take the next step in my life. However my parents believe it is not time and that if I leave now, in February, that it would be a waste of money and that I should leave in June. My mom claims that God spoke to her about it and told her I should wait. I’m currently fasting and asking God to show me the way now. I do not want to leave my parents and hurt their feelings but I do believe it is the best decision for me right now.
I was just let go from a job I worked so hard to be in a position that I got and I got let go for false allegations when god knows I did nothing wrong , I’ve been kind of panicking filling out about 10 applications a day , but I haven’t had the desire to take on the jobs cause of the big pay deduction. I don’t have money to get a layer to fight for being fired for false accusations so I just prayed about it and gave it to god . We had a family reunion started yesterday and I had a family member not knowing what’s going on , offer me a job in Kansas cutting hair and I love to and want to get my own barber shop one day . I tell my girlfriend and she’s makeing every excuse not to move . WHAT DO I DO after praying about it and how do I know if it’s gods will for me to move on to better myself , I’m only 37 and tmmrw is not promising, but I just want reinsurance on what to look for , thanks brothers and sisters.