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Follow your calling

By Julia Fetherston

When you were young, did you ever have a dream job? Whether the dream was to be a chef, a lawyer, a doctor, or maybe even a rockstar, most of us felt a strong pull towards a specific career. What is it about growing older that throws such a wrench in our young hopes and dreams?

As children, we tend to view the world through rose-colored glasses. At some point, the hard hammer of reality and practicality comes to knock some sense into us. And even after all the pondering and planning, many doubt their eventual career choices.

If you’re someone who’s questioning whether you’re able to honor God with your career, whether you’re able to use your God-given gifts in your role, or whether there might be a better fit for you somewhere out there, the lack of certainty can really weigh on you. So how do you know what your calling is?

What is a calling from God?

We can really overcomplicate what God calls us to do. Our career isn’t our primary calling—so what is?

Matthew 22:37-39, NIV says our main calling is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

First and foremost, we’re called to love God. Second, we’re called to love the people around us. Our job should be used as an outlet to accomplish our calling from Jesus. When looking at a career, our main question should be whether we can love God and others through our work.

If we can bring honor to God through our careers by loving Him and others, we can step out with confidence that God will take care of the rest. Romans 8:28, KJV assures, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” 

God’s gift

Our God-given gifts are one way we can accomplish loving God and others. 1 Corinthians 12 (NIV) speaks on how we’re established with unique gifts that we’re meant to exercise.

Verses 4-7 say, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

The “common good” refers to the Body of Christ—or the church. This doesn’t mean we need to quit our current jobs and start working at the church. Whether or not our careers are in ministry, we can still participate in ministry. Volunteering at the church, opening our homes to others, teaching the younger generations, being a listening ear, and even organization are all gifts that can serve our fellow believers.

Every gift provides value to the body of Christ, regardless of how small and insignificant it might seem. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be” [1 Cor. 12:17-18].

“When looking at a career, our main questions should be whether we can love God and others through our work.”

Leap of faith

It’s easy to feel you don’t know what God wants for you. Sometimes it can seem like your prayers for clarity and guidance are falling on deaf ears. It feels murky and uncertain—and that’s never a great feeling—but having full clarity would negate the need for faith.

Maybe you’re not able to properly fulfill God’s calling to love Him and others through your job, maybe your gifts aren’t being utilized, and maybe you’re feeling a pull towards something different. Sometimes you’re stuck between one or more options, and you can’t quite figure out what the right move is. This is where faith comes in.

Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith.

Most importantly, you need to go to God in prayer. Lay down your doubts and uncertainty before His feet. Dive deep into His Word. And if the answer isn’t clear after you’ve taken these steps, sometimes you need to step out with boldness, trusting God can and will work everything together for good if you do it to honor Him. Don’t let your fears and doubts keep you from experiencing His blessings.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” –[Proverbs 3:5-6]

Keep the faith

As believers, we often get in the habit of condemning ourselves and others once things stop going according to plan. As soon as we hit roadblocks of any sort, it’s easy to want to hit the brakes and shut down. Here’s the thing: We’re not promised smooth sailing while serving God. In fact, we’re almost certain to encounter suffering.

1 Peter 5:8-10 ESV refers to the devil as a lion, prowling around and looking for easy prey. We’re called to resist him and stay firm in our faith, knowing we’re promised restoration and strength after enduring suffering.

If we encounter issues and hiccups while trying to honor God through our work, that isn’t an automatic sign we’re in the wrong field. If there are moments when we’re struggling to fulfill God’s calling, it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to find a new job.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” It doesn’t say we should stop trying, and it doesn’t say we should look for something else to do—it says we need to try our hardest. Struggles aren’t indicative of failure, and we still need to show up ready to honor God through our work, even when it gets hard.

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Julia Fetherston
Julia is a writer and storyteller with a passion to inspire others to live out the truths of the gospel. Her out-of-the-box thinking provides a unique perspective on biblical truth, and her mission is to relate those truths back to others.