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Have you missed your life’s calling? Probably not.

As I have gotten older, I’ve begun to realize that life seldom goes according to our plans. This is probably not news to most of you, but I’m a bit of a slow learner.

See, I used to be the kind of person that made plans and then carried them out. If I wanted something to happen, I made it happen. If I had a dream, I worked to make that dream come true.

But then, life got a little more complicated. Other people came into my life – my husband, my two children – and I needed to take their needs and their dreams into account, too.

And sometimes, it doesn’t matter how hard you try or how badly you want it – life doesn’t go according to your plan.

When my husband and I got married, we dreamed of moving overseas. We visited other countries and cultures. We felt a sense of calling, and we made plans.

But when we began to implement the steps in those plans, other things shifted. Barriers cropped up. Reality looked different than we thought it would. And then our dreams brought about different dreams, and some of those dreams gave rise to yet other dreams. Eight years later, we are still living here in the States, and it’s looking likely that we will be here for good.

For some time, I struggled to make sense of this. Did we fail? Did we miss our life’s calling?

Probably not.

The truth is that a calling in life usually has very little to do with a specific career path. It has little to do with a certain kind of education or geographic location.

Instead, a calling is more about becoming the person you were meant to be. It’s about becoming the best and truest version of yourself. And the journey to becoming that person could take many shapes and forms and paths.

But for most of us, there are often some common denominators in that journey: Suffering. Discontentment. Relinquishing the need for control. Forgiving. Accepting others, and yourself – warts and all. Surrender.

You could probably add a few things to the list.

If you are struggling with contentment:

Perhaps if you look again, you will see that many of your desires and longings have actually already been fulfilled – or all the pieces are in place, just waiting for you to step inside. Things may look differently than you thought they would, but perhaps they are there, nonetheless.

If you are mourning the death of a dream:

Perhaps if you look again, you will find that your old dreams have gotten out of the way in order to make room for your new dreams. If that’s the case, pack up those old dreams, put them away on a shelf, and unpack a few new dreams instead. Who knows? You might come back to the former dreams again someday, but you might not even miss them.

If you are looking around and wondering how you got to the place where you are:

Perhaps if you look again, you will see that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Sometimes we can’t step into our true lives, our true selves, until our own plans have been laid aside. But you haven’t missed your calling. You haven’t failed. (What a relief, eh?)

May you find peace today in trusting that you are on your way to becoming the person you are meant to be, no matter where you find yourself.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Melissa

    Love this, Katie! I think sometimes our own plans get in the way of what (and who) we’re called to be. Remembering that we’re meant to be where we are, on the path we’re already traveling… that’s a good way to start the day. πŸ™‚

  2. Helene

    Beautiful, wise words. And so true! Thank you.

  3. Jamie~Simple Homeschool

    Such a beautiful reminder, Katie–great words to start the week off with. Thank you!

  4. Jessica

    My husband and I needed this, thank you! Our plans to move overseas were put on hold two years ago and we were devastated, our dreams felt shattered. However, I can now see that because of this change in our plans we have learned so much about ourselves, our hearts desires and whats truly important. We still dream of life overseas but at this stage aren’t sure how this will unfold, however we feel we are growing in the process and enjoying our journey nevertheless.

    • Katie Fox

      Jessica, I do understand that pain – I am so glad to hear you guys are doing well moving forward now. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha

    This is beautiful ~ it reminds me of Parker Palmer’s “Let Your Life Speak” – he writes about finding our true vocation, from the Latin for voice, meaning finding how your voice can speak to the world through your life. Love it!

    • Katie Fox

      Yes! I chose not to use the word “vocation” in this post but it is exactly what I had in mind – I think that vocation and calling are pretty much the same idea.

  6. Christina

    What you say is so very true. I think it’s easy to hold onto dreams that we think haven’t been fulfilled when maybe that dream isn’t what our path in life was meant to be. A little bit of reflection is great at bringing things into perspective.

  7. Amy

    This was nice to read because it really summed up how I had been feeling for a couple of years. I also had dreams of living abroad, traveling a lot, becoming an artist in the country somewhere, and it was hard to let go of these dreams even though I knew they didn’t fit the life that my husband and I were creating (right now, anyway). But, they dissipated instantly when we found out I was expecting πŸ™‚ I realized I’m exactly where I want to be.
    Now I have a whole new set of dreams.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Katie Fox

      That’s great news, Amy! Congratulations! Have fun with your new dreams. πŸ™‚

  8. Esther

    I’ve often looked around and wondered how I got where I was, but looking for that fingerprint of God on that path is quite reassuring.

  9. Dante Smith

    Hey –

    Your last post [Have you missed your life’s calling? Probably not.] was freaking awesome. I have gone ahead and added your stuff to my Feedly account. Please keep me updated if you post anywhere else.

    Keep rocking –


  10. Wendy J. Williams

    We have raised 4 children and have quite a few foster babies over the years. The words you wrote are very true and remind me of the verse from Proverbs 3:5&6
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path plain.”
    co-author of Empty Arms

    • Katie Fox

      Yes. Such wisdom there. πŸ™‚

  11. Amy Rogers Hays

    What a beautiful word for my Monday, Katie. Sometimes I think the extra days off around holidays are an opportunity for reflection. That can be great, but sometimes it can make us a bit discontent. Am I really doing enough? Am I really making any movement beyond keeping afloat from day to day? Am I working toward my dream steadily? I can get very discouraged that things are not moving as quickly as I’d like. But of course I am being shaped in the now. My dreams are growing and changing in the slow work of being present now. And sometimes that means that the dreams change, but sometimes it just means that I am changing.

  12. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Thanks for a good reminder at the start of the week, Katie. πŸ™‚

    • Katie Fox

      You’re so welcome, Aimee! πŸ™‚

  13. Laurel

    Thanks Katie! As an evil step-mother of 2 and bio-mom of 2 I certainly couldn’t have envisioned this dream of a life! However, I’ve never known such contentment and peace as I lay down my life to serve my family as a house manager, checkbook balancer, chef extraordionaire, etc.! As a teen I thought I’d die as a single martyr alone overseas before I hit 30! This is certainly different! I’m enjoying God’s redemptive path for my life. (:

    • Katie Fox

      Haha! I relate, Laurel!! πŸ™‚

  14. NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner

    I’m in the middle of re-evaluating a lot of things in my life and this really spoke to me this morning. Thank you! I can’t wait to dream big, and see where life takes me!

  15. Cindy

    I love this! If my 22 year old self saw my current 32 year old self, she would be flabbergasted and disappointed. But, I am happier than I have ever been, even if I didn’t meet those career and life goals I set back then.

  16. Jenn R.

    ” …a calling is more about becoming the person you were meant to be. It’s about becoming the best and truest version of yourself. And the journey to becoming that person could take many shapes and forms and paths.”

    This is a topic that seems to plague me. I really like this perspective. It is not one I’ve come across, but it makes sense. Thank you.

  17. Priya

    Very well written. Many of us suffer from self-doubt every now and then. Looking around and counting one’s blessings helps at such times.

  18. Rivki Silver

    Yes, the plan we want is not always the plan that is meant for us! I remember how devastated I was when I didn’t get into graduate school, but it was an event that led me down the path that I’m on, and I am so glad I got here! Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

  19. Barefoot Hippie Girl

    I love the idea that maybe our old dreams have gotten out of the way to make room for our new dreams. Even 2 years ago I would not have dreamed of being a blogger/aspiring author. God has the better plan. Really and truly.

  20. lee ann

    favorite john lennon lyric: ” life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans” from beautiful boy ( darling boy) .

    thanks for the reminder

    • Katie Fox

      Ooooh, good tie-in on that quote from John Lennon – very wise.

    • Kiasa

      I think of that quote on a daily basis!

  21. Denise

    Today is my birthday, and this was the perfect picture of what I have felt so much lately and want to carry passionately into this year! Thank you so much for articulating it so beautifully and sharing the encouragement!

  22. Julia Costa

    Katie, how are you? I’m from Brazil, so I’m sorry for my English. Things are not different around here! I always find myself thinking about how life carried me in it’s plans and how I’ve lost control of it! It’s not that I didn’t plan everything. The biggest things: marriage, baby, house… I did plan it! But I’m talking about everyday life, about small decisions. About living. It looks like most of the time i’m in remote control! It takes courage to shake it off and get to decide every little thing again. =) I’m happy to realize that without loosing much of it. Much of life, I mean. In your case.. we can’t have everything. And some plans are set aside. And it’s ok! If you are happy at the end, it’s always ok! πŸ™‚ Love your blog! Julia.

  23. Lindsay@littlehousebigworld

    I too thought I would be living overseas at this point and struggled to get over the feeling that I had somehow missed something. My new understanding has become, “It’s not where you live but how you live.” Thanks for these encouraging words today. Good stuff.

  24. Starla

    I love it! I can go away for a little bit and no matter long I have been away when I log in there is an article that hits home. I have been on this journey since I had my second child. I thought I was done with having kids, and long and behold I had a another beautiful child. I thought I too would be living abroad (haven’t given up hope). But I am searching myself once again…..not looking for the wife, or the mother, I am searching for me. It has been a journey, some great some small. But I want to say THANK YOU! for finding new ways of helping me look at my life and realizing I am still me, and getting better with every trial and journey, bringing me to the person I am meant to be.

  25. April

    My life is not exactly what I had planned. I am a single mom and that wasn’t in the plan, but the most important thing is I am happy with who I am. My kids haven’t had a relationship with their dad in a few years so I play both roles but I am really proud of what matters most to me. My kids. They are 14, 17, and 19 and they are great kids with an amazing faith. As long as they turn out to be good people, and they have so far, that is all I could ask for.

  26. Sarah

    Good words. For me, I’ve recently had to acknowledge that I am living my dream. But now what? It was always such a destination – I really hadn’t thought beyond the point that I’m at. Now I’m discovering that there is still so much life to be lived and that the fulfillment of this dream (as hard as it’s been) is part of a path to another dream, which I’m just starting to think about. I love what you say about our calling being about becoming a certain person more than any one thing that we do. I wish I had had that perspective when I was younger and I hope to impart it to my children. It’s so important and takes so much pressure off to make the “right” decisions.

    • Katie Fox

      Wow – what a nice problem. πŸ™‚ Have fun and good luck as you journey toward your next dreams!

  27. Angela

    This post made me feel SO THANKFUL. Yes, everything is not perfect, but you’re right…many of my dreams have already been fulfilled! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Katie Fox

      So glad! πŸ™‚

  28. Madeline

    I feel like this question is a black cloud that follows me around. You have really given me a lot to think about and sit with, so thank you!

  29. Kiasa

    This is my constant struggle right now. How do I determine if a dream is worth working toward or if its time to let it go? I’m still not convinced that where I am is where I’m suppose to be (probably because we currently are a bit nomadic and the future is unknown). Since I helped my spouse fulfill his dream do I expect him to help fulfill mine? When is it time to be content and when is it time to stand strong and say “there is something better for us and our family!” When my current life feels too stressful to bear those dreams are my only respite for my weary heart and soul.

  30. beth@redandhoney

    This post was written for me. Err, it feels that way, anyway. My writer brain is failing me right now because this hits me way down deep in the gut and in my heart and in my brain all at once, with tears in my eyes (tears in my eyes? sheesh, I was a philosophy major, for pete’s sake! pull it together!).

    I just turned 30 last week and have been reflecting on the last decade that I spent being married and churning out three deliciously chubby and darling babies, moving, dreaming, loving, and on it went, never stopping.

    It’s been a ride. And as I tend to do, I have fretted that I’ve not done things “right”, that I’m not enjoying it all “enough”. The reality of this just hits me like a wave:

    “May you find peace today in trusting that you are on your way to becoming the person you are meant to be, no matter where you find yourself.”

    This post would be an incredible Ted Talk. (Thank-you for writing it.)

    • Katie Fox

      Wow – thanks, Beth. SO glad to know that this post was powerful for you. I’ve liked your blog for a long time. πŸ™‚

      • beth@redandhoney

        Wow, thanks! You just made my day πŸ™‚

  31. Richard

    Thank you for those redemptive perspectives. I’ve just turned 70 a couple of months ago. This morning I felt a burden lift while in the process of accepting the belief that I somehow missed God’s calling on my life. The visions I had from childhood had brought me through rough terrain – and provided something to live for.. Even through it was before years I began walking again with the Lord my “promises” from God were basically what ‘veI lived towards..My problem was in seeing everything I had believed I understood-, to have to be worked out from my fallible perspective. God only knows what He’s doing!

  32. Linda

    Thanks for your inspiring article
    I’m 56 and got married at 17. My husband was 19. We were so in love and our love grew stronger over 38 years. My dream was to be a wife and mom and artist. I lived my dream raising 3 awesome sons who all married great wives. I now am a grandmother of 3 grandsons. I have painted over the years but this past year I haven’t painted any. My husband passed away at 57. Too young. We had more dreams but I’m having to rethink them. I will continue dreaming and trying to live each day to the fullest. I have lots more living to do.

  33. Kate

    I was exited, then dissapointed, in this article.
    Yes, our dreams change. But. .. I think you need to find the root of the initial dream. Not settle. I again live overseas. With my husband and children. Why can’t we HAVE IT ALL! !!

  34. Lara

    Katie – Thank you for deciding to post this again. I love your thoughts – this is such an encouraging way to approach our dreams, both past and present. And it’s striking that you share the quote from Joseph Campbell. I just picked up his book “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” last week!

  35. Wendy

    I had a similar “profound” thought recently. I was yet again full of fear that my life was slipping by and I was no closer to the things I really wanted than when I had started wanting them. A decade plus or so, with my teenage years somewhat contributing. Living in dreaded fear I was losing time has been plaguing me for years. I wanted to turn time back, buy more time. Anyway all I “want” to achieve is doing artwork. The profound thought part is that I’ve done “everything” else (or things considered that). I am married, well traveled, I have lived overseas, I have lived in 6 different states. I have two healthy children. I have three degrees. All I have left to do in my remaining time is art. What a freeing thought. Wish me luck.

  36. Ines

    Katie, thank you so much for this sharing! Actually, it happened to me something that just made me think (and feel) about the same. I’m Portuguese, but I live in Slovenia. How did this happened? Well, I never – EVER – thought about moving abroad. Despite the economical crises, I was feeling totaly OK with my life in Portugal. Although, because I got unemployed and applied for European Voluntary Service, I went to Slovenia for 7 months. “7 hardly long months”, I thought in the begining. But actually, what happened then surprised me the most! I had this *strange* but *familiar* feeling that I arrived at… home! And this feeling was increasing, and increasing during the time I was there. Conclusion: After my EVS project was finished, I basicly went to Portugal to say “Hi! I’m going to leave again to Slovenia, ’cause there is the place for me to be”. I don’t know for how long. Doesn’t matter for now. I trust in Life, and I know that she will continue to show me “the way”, just if I am free to listen to her “calling”.

  37. Meredith Cox

    This is an incredibly timely post. Thanks–as always–for your words, Katie!

  38. Anna M

    Thanks for sharing. Just turned down a job offer at lunch I really wanted (and was really good), to keep space for other good things. I know its the right choice, and in the midst of this, I have seen areas of discontent, dreams I’ve stepped aside from and a big question if I have given up too easily on my dreams. Your words feel very timely.

  39. Alana

    I really needed this today! Feeling lots of angst over a recent move, and your point that a geographic location isn’t as important as character development wherever we are was especially poignant. Thanks!

  40. Josephine

    I often pondered what my life’s purpose was, especially after I had an emergency hysterectomy and my dreams of having children crushed. But life never fails, I had always “adopted” children, wayward children always seemed to find me. So while speaking with one of my “daughters” she said that my life’s purpose was clear; I was meant to be a serial adopter! The kids are all grown, and we just celebrated the birth of our 14th grandchild. So this strange multi-cultural family is my fulfillment.

  41. Linda Sand

    The ways in which I contribute to our world are not the ways I planned to contribute. But people thank me for my contributions so they must be the right way for me, right? Who knew? We all know who knew, right? After all, who gave me these talents from which I contribute?

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