Where is God calling you?
What is God’s will for your life?
I believe God has a unique assignment for each one of us–some way He wants us to bring His healing and His peace to those on earth. It can be confusing, can’t it? You want to follow God, but there are all kinds of voices, especially Christian voices, telling you which path to take. I’m growing tired of Christians making a ministry job the sign of a certain holiness that the practicing doctor hasn’t obtained. I’m tired of the question, “Where is God calling you?” because I believe we already have the answer to this question.
Sometimes the word “calling” feels like an excuse to float through life. Other times, I’ve heard it used by people who in some way feel like they need to defend their high-paying job to Christian peers. I really struggled with these questions when I moved home from China. I didn’t have a clue what God was “calling me” to and I prayed and begged for nearly two years–a prayer that quickly turned into, “What do you want me to do? I’ll do whatever you tell me–just tell me something!” Have you ever felt that way?
Here are six common misconceptions about choosing a career path that I wish I knew long before last year:
1.) God’s will is a labyrinth. You need to make sure you don’t mess up and make the wrong decision. I’ve received messages from college students paralyzed with fear over their career path because as one girl said, “I just don’t want to choose the wrong path!” Here’s the truth: If your heart desires to follow God and you are seeking His will, you can’t go wrong. He gives wisdom and direction generously. (James 1:5) Remember, He is a good Dad, not a cruel taskmaster waiting for you to make the wrong decision.
2.) There is only one right path/decision/career. If you need to make a decision, sometimes God doesn’t speak clearly and we are left frustrated. Confused. Michael faced this when deciding to move home from Germany. He prayed without ceasing, but after several months still didn’t know what God wanted for his next step. In these situations, God gives us wisdom to choose. Choose something! Don’t live in fear of making the wrong decision because it’s not always that clear-cut. Often times, God’s will is allowing us to choose.
3.) Ministry jobs are a higher calling than secular jobs. Truth: God needs bankers and lawyers and church workers and missionaries to build His diverse Kingdom. I left full-time Christian work for the business world. Each of us are required to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God. And do whatever we can to make sure our peers, coworkers, and those around us know the God who sent His Son. FOR THEIR FREEDOM.
4.) You need to figure out exactly which career God has for you before taking a job. NO! Getting a job–any job–will help you in your quest to find the right job. Also, it’s ok if you take a job in your twenties and you decide two years later it isn’t the life for you. I don’t think you would feel as guilty if you didn’t have Christians running around saying, “but I thought ____________ was your calling?” God leads us down many different paths (I was a missionary and now I’m in publishing) especially if you consider the lives of many Biblical giants. Side note: I highly recommend working before going back to school because it will help you clarify your job path.
5.) There is no turning back after not following God’s leading and making a wrong decision. Not true! Read Recalculating and God’s Plans if you are struggling with this mindset.
6.) Making a high salary is dangerous. We know the verse about rich men entering the Kingdom of God. We know the love of money is the root of all evil. But here’s the truth: if you love money and chase after it with clinching fists–it doesn’t matter if you have little or much, your misplaced desires will destroy you, not the money in itself. I will always be thankful for those with plenty, because their generosity made my years in China possible. You are free to pursue a job with a high salary! And if Christians look down on you, don’t let them make you feel guilty. Give generously and keep open hands on money that doesn’t belong to you anyways.
What do you wish you knew before making a career decision? Did any of my misconceptions help clarify a decision you are facing today?