Calling: A strong urge towards a particular way of life or career (Oxford English Dictionary)
Wanderlust: A strong desire to travel (Oxford English Dictionary)
I first visited the UK in the summer of 2012 for 2 weeks during the Olympics. At the time, I thought I just had a case of “Wanderlust.” There was a certain nostalgia which came with being in the UK and seeing all the beauty and history that London & other parts of the UK had to offer.
I can remember going to people’s flats for dinner and having a great chat with British folk. I can remember going to the touristy places which I had only seen in the films & photos before. I quickly found myself saying “I could live here one day” and left it at that.
Although I have travelled to other places before, when I returned to Canada I couldn’t stop thinking about London. It seemed like everywhere I went, I saw something relating to London or the UK. Over the course of a year, I decided to pray if there was more to this than simple wanderlust.
I discussed with my mentors and men who I trusted if they could see me being a pastor in London one day. It was unanimous that they agreed that they could see me doing ministry in London as well. My fiancée and I had talked of the possibility of moving to London before we were engaged as she could see the love I had for the city. When we got engaged, we went ahead and applied for visas to move to the UK. We were approved for those visas and moved here 3 weeks after our wedding.
Inevitably, we were nervous and faced many challenges in moving our whole lives to the other side of the world. We truly had to trust God that this was a calling and not wanderlust.
When someone is called to a place, they are often going to be more likely to endure through the challenges because God has told them to be there. That has certainly been our experience in the UK.
In the time that I’ve lived in the UK, I have seen people who felt a wanderlust to come to London and tried it out until it became too difficult and then they continue their journey onto the next place (or back home). This isn’t a bad thing, it simply shows that the reason for coming to London was not due to a special calling upon their life by God.
On the same hand, there are people who have been called to London for a time & then have left because God called them away. I would have to trust that they really sought God for that and were absolutely certain that He called them in the first place & then called them away.
Love For The City:
Those who are called to a city will love that city in a different way than those who are in a daze of wanderlust. Every time my wife & I have left London (if only for a few days), though we usually find it relaxing, we actually really miss London. We don’t just love London for the architecture, but we love the people here. Of course they can be pushy/rude and focused on the fast-paced lifestyle, but we’re used to that by now. God’s heart breaks for these people & so does ours.
Those feeling wanderlust will feel it easier to leave a place because they know that they can go experience more adventures in more cities & don’t feel the same inner need to stay put.
I’m not supposing that “wanderlust” is a bad thing; I am merely stating that it is different than “calling.”
Both those who are called and those who are travelling may love the same city, but in a completely different way. Those who are called to a city will find it harder to leave than those who are just journeying through a city on their travels through life.
At this point in my life, I know I am called to London
– Tyson Bradley