• Ashley Elliott

Does God Still Call People By Name?


Recently, I was asked when God called my name…


Hmm…


When did God call my name?


Did God call my name?


I cannot remember the day I became a follower of Christ either. Is something wrong with me?


Have you ever wondered if you are illegitimate because you haven’t experienced what others have encountered?


Moses could probably recall when God called his name. Remember that burning bush experience? That didn’t happen to me. My experiences have been much more ordinary. Does that mean I am less called? Or does God call average people like me? Not everyone can oversee over a million men, women, and children like Moses did. But everyone is an influencer to someone.


For me, the challenge has been identifying what role I am supposed to take because these roles were typically reserved for men. Moses had a pretty significant calling; I, however, relate more to Aaron in this story. You see? God called Moses, but he turned God down. God asked him to speak, and Moses replied, “Lord, please! Send anyone else” (Exodus 4:13).


He told God no.


Why do you think he said no?


He was afraid.


Out of Moses’ fear, Aaron received his calling.


Perhaps you were not the first one called, but you are the one who is willing to step up and serve when others have said no.


As long as I can remember, I have loved God. From early childhood, I have had a strong sense of calling on my life.


Often, however, I haven’t felt chosen by those in leadership. When I looked into the mirror, I occasionally wondered if God made me the wrong gender. I felt that I had a man’s calling. I

wanted to lead people toward God, and in my circles, that role was reserved for the men.


There were a few opportunities to work with children or music, and I enjoyed those roles, but I felt drawn to teach, to speak, to counsel.


Dare I say that I felt called toward pastoral duties? It brings tears to my eyes as I resist the urge to pounce my finger on the delete key until I remove those words from the page and from my heart.


Shame.


Who told me I should feel ashamed of my calling? Who told me that I was not called to speak or even to lead a church?


No one. Absolutely no one. And, never did I even speak up to declare out loud that I wanted to be a member of pastoral staff.


Then, how did I get to this place? Isn’t it really my own fault?


Yes, partly. But who told me that I shouldn’t tell anyone what I desired? Who told me that my calling was not acceptable?


Culture.


My surroundings told me no. People told me no. I recall times when I requested to speak, and although the word, “No” was usually avoided, a speaking opportunity was never offered. Instead, there were great developmental opportunities for men.


Culture was my teacher. There were times when I was allowed to share a “testimony” but not to be the main speaker. I was able to sing but not to change the pattern of my tones in a way that communicated similar words in a lower pitch.


So I learned. I prayed. I told God that I would do my best to do what he would call me to do. I would be Aaron. I would get an education and be ready for whatever came before me.


I determined to use my calling to direct people to Scripture through the field of counseling. I attended a Christian University and prayed that I would be able to counsel in a church setting while taking no financial income from the church. Maybe then I could serve in the ministry.


Who told me that I was unworthy of receiving a salary for pouring my life into God’s people?


No one.


But children are not born with these inhibitions, so I continue to ask, “Who put this in me?”


The enemy.


Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He put fear into Moses’ heart, and he will put fear into your life as well.


But God is unstoppable.


When Moses was crippled by fear, God used Aaron.



Let's say yes to God, even if we face fear, shame, cultural barriers, or the attacks of the enemy!


Do it in fear; do it in faith.


I have determined to be a culture changing, enemy defeating, warrior for Christ. My calling is to break through the barriers and do hard things.


What is your calling? Has your culture ever held you back? What has the enemy whispered in your ear? It’s important that we examine the history of our cultural upbringing so we can determine if we want to let its power over us persist.


Culture can also be a wonderful influencer when the norms are healthy. What type of culture have you created in your home, your career, or your church?


Let’s fast forward about a decade; I married a man with a similar passion for God’s people. He’s a pastor, and I am a university professor. We are proud parents of three energetic boys who love the Lord. We have spoken at our church together and have seen a little bit of growth in church culture.


We recently launched a ministry where we offer coaching, consulting, and psycho-educational courses. I am thrilled to use the platform to teach, to speak, to counsel.


I didn’t have to leave my church, my city, or my home. I merely had to leave my comfort zone, to put myself out there, and to look for ways to fulfill the call that I already felt was upon my life.


Maybe you’re like me and have questioned your calling. Maybe you have felt overlooked or under-skilled.


Scripture has reminded me that God calls women. God calls men. God calls parents. God calls people who stutter. God calls shepherds. God calls.


We simply need to prepare our hearts so that whenever He calls, we will not say, “Lord please, send anyone else” (Exodus 4:13); instead, we will respond, “Here I am” (Isaiah 6:8).


Together may we be culture changing, enemy defeating, warriors for Christ.


Let’s do it in fear. Do it in faith.

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