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Calling & Career


Calling. Purpose. Passion.

Those words stir me. You?

I often find myself drawn to blog posts teaching how to lean deeper into God’s calling, how to make the most of my dreams and passions, or how to make a difference in the world. I like the idea that God had a plan when he threw together this jumble of dreams, weaknesses, gifts, and thoughts… me.

I’ve given lots of thought to discovering my calling and pursuing a career that allows my “deep gladness and the world's deep hunger” to meet. (I love that quote from Frederick Buechner.)

And sometimes I feel like I’m right there… in the middle of God’s will for my life. But other times… sometime ten minutes later actually… I wonder if I can tell you what God’s calling on my life really is… or how anything I’m doing day-to-day relates to it in any way. I start to question the direction of my life and wonder just where it is that God is calling.

Cross-cultural marriage has opened a new perspective on the concept of purpose for me. It centers around a phrase I’ve often heard Billy say: “steady job.”

Conversations Billy and I have had over the years taught me that Billy truly sees ministry and calling as broader than what one does from 9-5.

I would say I cognitively agree with that, but my actions have often betrayed that, for me, job and calling are often very intertwined. Thinking through this broader concept of calling has opened up a different perspective for me, particularly in three areas.

THANKSGIVING


I believe there is dignity in work. If we can get paid to do our heart’s passions, that’s terrific… but it’s also a privilege. There are plenty of folks around the world who do jobs they would not describe as their God-given calling. Still, they honor God in their work and they thank God for the provision and resource supplied by this “steady job.”

I want to express genuine gratitude for the work at my doorstep. Too often I find myself complaining or seeking opportunities that will “better engage my passions.”

FREEDOM


When we look to an employment role to help us fulfill our calling, we can easily become discouraged when day-to-day tasks feel disconnected from our original vision. Different assignments may be resented because they are not aligning with your calling. That’s a lot of pressure on a job.

Freedom can also result when identity is disconnected from a particular role. A person may be open to move on if the workplace is highly dysfunctional, the position is eliminated, or higher pay is needed. A broader view of purpose allows a family to analyze true needs and consider God-provided opportunities.

ACTION


When I acknowledge that calling transcends job, I can pursue passions regardless of where I am employed at any given moment. Seasons when I find myself working in areas that do not interest me, my identity and calling are unaffected. I am not simply “waiting” for when I can do something else. I am working out pursuing that calling through work and outside of it.

These are a couple areas where Billy’s Guatemalan perspective, that places value on having a “steady job,” has helped me to adjust my framework for understanding calling and purpose. How intertwined are job and calling for you? When you find yourself employed outside of your passions, how do you respond?

5 comments

  1. So good! That first paragraph under "Freedom" hit the nail on the head. I have a hard time with menial tasks because they don't seem to fit into my big elaborate life calling. Valuing work itself is a lesson I am still learning.

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    1. I am totally with you on the still learning, Kristen. I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

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  2. Broadly all of us have the same call to evangelism. So unless we work with all Christians (and some do), then we all have the opportunity to live out our life calling through our work. And for the few who work in a 100% Christian environment, you'll just have to reach out to neighbors to accomplish that goal. Or even neighbors to your workplace.

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  3. Love this friend, and I am happy to read it from another women doing "ministry" whatever the heck that means :-)

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