Friday, February 25, 2011

Career confusion

Studied: Communications. Works at: Meat packer.
Studied: Biblical Literature. Works at: Waiter.
Studied: Business. Works at: Pastor.
Studied: Education. Works at: Self-employed artist.

I find it amusing to read Facebook profiles. There's no telling how our calling, upbringing, and education will be related to our career. There are few things more confusing to a young graduate than job interviews. A degree doesn't necessarily match job openings, and sometimes "the perfect fit" slams shut in our face before we even get our foot in the door.

My husband and I have done a lot of different jobs over the years. Not all of them seemed related to our call to Christian ministry. Gas station attendant. Preacher.  Sales clerk in the men's department. Bible teacher. Harpist. Dog walker. Writer. Physical ed teacher (both of us. really.) Real estate office receptionist. Piano teacher. Library page. Principal of a Christian school. Motivational speaker. Summer preschool worker. Administrative Pastor. Door-to-door government census taker. Alumni director. Landlady. Choir director. We hunted down employment, but some work found us.

Our policy has been, "Yes." That makes for an interesting life.

We've been open to whatever God has for us. My husband was working within his calling and field within a decade, but my own path has been more circuitous. We've learned from every task God has put in our paths and from every tool shaped to our hands.

It can get very discouraging to find dreams disappearing and feel trapped in the routines of work, year after year. Many people give up and think they've missed their calling in life. Some plunge into the sea of possibilities and swim with the fishes. Others abandon safety nets and wash up on the shore in a heap of wreckage. Only God, who renews us daily, knows what lies ahead. 
  • The product that you thought would sell itself and now fills your garage? God knew. 
  • The boss who seemed so open to ideas and turned out to be cautious and obstinate? God knew. 
  • The classroom full of bright faces who turned out to be willful troublemakers? God knew. 
  • The church that seemed so exciting an opportunity and now seems just a drudgery? God knew.
  • The hopes of making a difference in a community when you feel like you've faded into the background? God knew.
Our responsibility is not to be famous or well-known. We are expected to be God's letter to the world, wherever he places us. No matter how unexpected the current context, God calls us to faithfulness in line with our gifts and training. Sometimes his plan for us doesn't look anything like what we'd thought it would... but would we have been willing to engage life if we'd known all the details?

We'd love to  hear about some of the jobs you've held, and what your job title is today.

Read more:
*The poor are despised even by their neighbors while the rich have many 'friends.' It is a sin to belittle one's neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor. Proverbs 14:20–2 NLT

*Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:22-26 NKJV

*Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This 'letter' is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. 2 Corinthians 3:3–6a NLT


  1. I can't believe how CLOSE TO HOME this struck, R. We should have tea much has changed in only the past 10 days.

  2. I LOVE the pictures you chose as object lessons! And thanks for the encouraging word. It does get a little discouraging in those phases when we know we are doing precisely what God asked of us - but things aren't occurring as we'd supposed. Blessings! And Shalom!

  3. The article is spot on. I've been in the same spot for 3 years and was on the verge of giving up. Is there a way we could discuss this further? or will this comment box do?

  4. Either way, Anonymous - email me for a more private conversation or continue here.