My girls are in a season of YouTube dance parties. Every night brings a negotiation of how many songs they can select and who gets to pick first and if they’ll choose music videos or movie trailers. Occasionally a request is made for something that pushes my PG-rated boundaries, but for the most part they stick to parent-approved songs and cartoons.
This means that, not only do I know every single word to all the top hits from Kidz Bop, but I also have memorized the most popular scenes from Moana, Sing, and Trolls. (I’m proposing this as an explanation to why my short-term memory has taken such a hit since becoming a mom. The brain cells formerly used to remember appointments, birthdays, to-dos, and what I came into the room to do are now consumed with pop song lyrics and cartoon quotes. That feels feasible and scientific, right?)
After taking both my girls to see Moana, I’m both glad and sad that the clips they pick every other night are only the catchy songs and not the scenes that moved me to tears when we saw the movie in the theater. Glad, because I obviously don’t need to sob like a baby before my kids’ bedtime each night (they do enough of that for me). And sad, because the scene I found most moving is nowhere to be found online — even to share with you here.
If you’re unfamiliar with the movie’s plot, it’s about a girl who feels called to the ocean and to saving her island (and people) from danger. That’s the short version, but you get the picture. Girl embarks on epic journey, girl faces challenges, girl saves the world. In between those steps, of course, quirky characters are introduced, hijinks are ensued, catchy songs are sung. I really enjoyed the movie and so did my girls, but one scene in particular has haunted me since we left the theater.
After facing a series of challenges — and then being hit with one more — Moana breaks. Standing on a small boat, alone, in the middle of the ocean, she yells at the ocean:
“Why did you bring me here?
I’m not the right person.
You have to choose someone else.
Choose someone else.
You better believe I broke down at that point. I’m not talking about a single tear rolling down my cheek, LIKE A GROWN-UP. No, ma’am. I’m talking about a hiccuping, heaving sob, LIKE A BABY.
Because I have felt like that. So many times. Recently, even.
Like Moana, I have felt my shoulders break under the weight of what I know to be a calling. Not just an expectation but a purpose. It can be too much at times, too hard, too demanding, too scary. Just too much.
- When both kids are sick at once – and then they swap germs and ailments…
- When you get a series of hateful comments or emails, criticizing your work (and your heart)…
- When the ministry event you spent months planning is a flop and only a handful of people show up…
- When the words won’t come or the laundry keeps coming or the deadlines fly by or the tears won’t stop…
Our callings can feel unbearable.
Certainly, we will have times when we can’t stop grinning and glowing, feeling God’s pleasure as we run the very race He’s given us. We will celebrate and cry buckets of happy tears and know the peace that comes with seeing Him work in our lives. But other times? That calling that we were so excited to answer, that purpose we were so thrilled to fulfill? It will be so heavy we think it might just crush us this time.
When it all piles up, when we can’t see our way past deadlines and dentist appointments, sick kids and complaint cards, overdue bills and birthday parties, that’s when we find ourselves at the end of ourselves. It’s when we feel like Moana, screaming into the void, “Why did you bring me here? I’m not the right person. You have to choose someone else. Choose someone else. Please.”
I’ve been there. Maybe you have, too? Maybe you know the sting of pouring out your heart and soul and blood and sweat, only to have your efforts ignored or mocked or overlooked.
Perhaps you’ve stayed strong and overcome challenges and faced down enemies and ignored critics, only to realize that this thing you’re battling today might be the one thing you can’t defeat. If that’s where you find yourself today, you’re not alone.
If God has called you to love your neighbor, to serve your family, to minister to your community (and He has), then He is with you every step of the way — even the tentative steps, the shuffling steps, the can’t-take-another-step steps. Just like He gave Moses, a poor speaker, the words to say to Pharoah, God will provide exactly what you need when you need it. Just like Moses found friends to hold up his arms when he no longer could do it on his own, God will send people to answer His calling alongside you.
We are not alone, though our callings are as unique as we are. And though our calling might never be easy or comfortable, it will always be worth it. God has called us and no matter how many oceans we face, He will be with us. He will be with us, and we can do this. He will be with you, and you can do this.
What do you do when your calling feels like too much?