My senior year of college, I was determined not to move back home with my parents, so I sat down with a career counselor. The counselor said, "I have never met a more motivated young lady. You seem determined." I was and still am determined; however, not about the same things. That year I worked part-time and had to move home with my parents. This was the first time I realized how having a job or a lack there of could affect my life. A job takes up most of the day, my thoughts, and my energy. That's why taking the time to think about our career goals and dreams are important. People change jobs all the time— sometimes it is choice made out of desire, and sometimes it is a choice made out of necessity. It can be easy to wonder: “Where is God in all of the decision-making, options, and planning?”
Our jobs affect many aspects of our lives. I have noticed this especially in my twenties. All of our lives, we are bombarded with the question: "What are you going to do when you grow up?" In what feels like minutes, we are grown and still have no idea what we are going to do when we “grow up.” I am still trying to figure that out. What is my “job?” What is my “calling?” What is my career “supposed” to be? What do those things mean? As we navigate life, it is important to ask a few of these questions. If you’re taking notes, sit tight as we go through our jobs, our callings, and our careers.
First, let's start with the big picture. What is our calling? Most of the words we use today to refer to a career came from the theological term for “calling.” Vocation is a word we use today to describe a job or career. The term vocation comes from the Latin word for calling. In the Middle Ages, only those who were working in church office positions were educated–they were the only ones who were called. During the Reformation, the word calling changed from what a Christian “does” to what Christ's forgiveness “meant” to all. This is found in the message of the Gospel (Romans 8:30). Your calling is not only in relation to the church; it also relates to every aspect of your life. You have the vocation of a parent, a daughter, a sister, and an employee.
A career stems from the line of work one studies to attain a specific job. Picking a degree in college or finding a trade school is setting you up for a great career. The purpose of attaining a career is so that God may use our place of employment to glorify Himself. God uses doctors, cashiers, and businessmen to bring glory to Himself. One of the biggest reasons for this truth is because of His great love for us. We know what love is because we know who God is and God is love (1 John 4:16). God's love is unconditional, free, and for all people who choose to accept His gift. This is what you can bring to your career. Finding a career can be difficult. However, if your goal is to show God's love, you can't go wrong.
Next, what is a job? In a world with many options, make sure you are asking the right questions. The question changes as Christ followers. Instead of, “What job am I going to choose?” the question becomes, “What is God calling me to do?” By the age of 25, the average person will change jobs around five times. The average American will change jobs 11 times before the age of 50. Here are three reasons that may be plausible to explain these facts:
1) Those in our twenties are looking for more than a “job.” We are also looking for fulfillment of some kind. Unlike other generations, we are living for the here and now— not retirement.
2) Switching jobs is looked at in a positive light, even though it was something that was frowned upon in other generations.
3) Technology online and in the traveling industry makes changing jobs much easier. Before, if you wanted to stay in touch with family, you would find a job close to town. Now, with social media and travel, staying in touch is possible. Taking a job far away from family is more common.
Because there are so many options, journaling about your future career can be extremely helpful. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are starting your vocation, switching a job, or changing a career:
Write down what a perfect day would look like in a perfect job, from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. What time would you wake up?
What steps do you need to take before you apply for that job? What types of things would be necessary to attain that job?
Begin to make a list about things you do not want to do or things that are non-negotiable. For examples, you wouldn't want to commute more than one hour, or you wouldn't be able to work on the weekends.
This brings us back to the question, what job is God calling you to? When I was a senior in college, I was determined to find a job in social work. I look back at my dedication and smile. I applied to multiple jobs and found myself burned out. I did not go into the field of social work at that time, but God did redirect my steps.
Aren't you glad His calling is sure and unmistakable no matter what your job is or what your career will be? Your job affects so many parts of your life, but it does not affect His love for you. First and foremost, you are called because of His love and forgiveness. If you are looking for fulfillment in your job, turn your eyes toward God. Secondly, He does care what you do for your vocation, career, and job. Do not make the mistake of leaving Him out of the process.
Reference: God at Work Gene Edward Veith Jr. and Career Development by Spencer G. Niles
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.