My HOPE internship: learning to value God’s calling first

by Anna Hofmann, Writing and Research Intern (’19)

As a college student, having an internship feels mandatory. Maybe you’ve felt pressure to believe this at some point.

Internships can be beneficial and formative opportunities, whether you’re looking to gain experience within a certain field or if you’re simply looking to inform and direct career plans.

Here’s my experience: the deeper value of my HOPE internship was more than my day-to-day tasks.

In my internship, I gained a broader perspective—that God first calls us to be His. My experience at HOPE helped me draw a larger picture, involving the internship but not concluding with it.

Through several calling conversations led by HOPE staff, I learned that God does not create us to live for ourselves. If this is our mindset, we will not find genuine fulfillment or true joy—no matter how exciting and impactful our work seems. Whether in an office or on the margins reaching the underserved, God first and foremost calls us to be His.

What I ultimately take away from my time at HOPE is how to understand who I am and how that influences my future plans. What I do matters, but pursuing God’s call to be His is what’s truly valuable.

Understanding calling starts with recognizing two truths.

1. We are not our own.

When considering who we are, we first recognize that God calls us to be His; We do not call ourselves to be “ours.” Following God’s call implies that we first die to ourselves. This begins with desiring God’s will more than our own.

2. God calls in all directions, but always in dignity.

If we genuinely believe Ephesians 2:10—that we are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works”—then we can only embrace His call with open hands.

As Tish Harrison explains in Liturgy of the Ordinary,

Of all the things he could’ve chosen to be done “in remembrance” of him, Jesus chose a meal. He could have asked his followers to do something impressive or mystical—climb a mountain, fast for forty days—but instead he picks the most ordinary of acts, eating, through which to be present to his people. He says that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood. He chooses the unremarkable and plain, average and abundant, bread and wine.”

No role is too insignificant or ordinary for God’s purposes because, in the end, it’s His story, and he’s inviting us all to join.

Although the HOPE internship program was an incredibly positive professional experience, I’m glad that God’s call to be His moves me forward into my next semester and beyond.

So we can move forward in confidence, knowing we are created for God and that He always calls us to purposeful work. My internship helped me see the importance of valuing God’s call beyond my actual job or title.

HOPE’s internship and fellowship program is designed for students seeking to develop spiritually and professionally. Learn more here and apply for our 2020 summer internships and fellowships.

Anna Hofmann is a student at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), where she is studying business administration and media-journalism. 

HOPE Intl

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered economic development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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