Adults often ask kids “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Costumes, whether it’s for Halloween or just everyday dress-up, let kids pretend. Even if just for a day, they imagine what it would be like to come to the rescue as a firefighter, save the day as a doctor, or create fun projects as a teacher. But how many of us grow up to be those things? (To be fair some of us do, we have YA friends who actually do all these jobs!)
The truth is, many of us grow up to do things we didn’t dream of as kids—accountants, marketers, engineers, secretaries, the list goes on. And frankly, some of us are still trying to sort out what we want to be. The topic of jobs can bring about all kinds of thoughts and emotions for young adults. Some people live and breathe their jobs; they can’t get enough of them. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people detest their jobs and think they are the worst. Many of us live somewhere in the middle. It’s in these responses we begin to see how much our jobs impact our identity.
LOVE my job.
Loving your job is a gift. Walking in joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so if you are excited about your work, that’s wonderful! But even a good thing can become too important. Do you ever find yourself overzealous to get a project done, even though you have weeks to finish? Do you only feel ok about work if you crossed everything off your to-do list? Is there always too much to do that keeps you from taking time off? Or, when you finally decide to take a vacation, you find yourself checking your email constantly, just to be sure everything’s ok.? You need your job to feel complete—at least that’s how you are living.
ALWAYS looking for a new job.
The mentality that I need to find “the one” doesn’t just exist in dating relationships. We carry this thinking into work. If I just find the right job with the right company, then everything will fall into place. This type of thinking reminds me of a certain Spanish word: inquieto. It carries the idea of restless and worried, someone who is anxiously looking at every single possibility but so worried they just roam back and forth, too paralyzed to make a decision. The world may be full of options for work, but if you’re a restless worrier, inquieto at every turn, no job will ever be enough.
HATE my job
Does my job even make a difference? We can be pretty negative about our outlook on life. Right out of college, this mentality described me to a tee. As a teacher, I loved my students—always
the best part about my job— but I never believed I did enough. I felt behind with every lesson plan, sure there were better ways to teach, but I wasn’t talented enough to pinpoint how. I often carried the weight of the world on my shoulders (a rather self-centered outlook, by the way). I focused on my weak points or failures and didn’t rejoice in the blessings of being part of the students’ lives. Who would want to go to work every morning with this mindset?
That’s a snapshot of a few struggles with our jobs (trust me, I know there’s more). I don’t have this three-point solution to offer, but Scripture does provide truths we can preach to ourselves as we walk through these varying struggles.
- If you find yourself anxious, nervous you won’t meet a deadline, terrified you won’t stay ahead of the game, or convinced you will disappoint your boss if you don’t get everything done, you may be finding your identity more in what you can do than who God has declared you to be.
“For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,…” Eph. 1:4-5.
How often do we rest in our adoption and acceptance as God’s chosen children? God sees us and delights in having us in His family! We don’t have to fret about meeting the approval of others (or even standards of our own making).
- If you find yourself inquieto, looking anxiously around the corner for the next best job, slow down a little. How much are you depending on the Lord, begging Him to work and move? Is it possible God wants you to wrestle with Him a little as you navigate your questions and unknowns?
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. Selah”
- If you feel this sense of tugging/unrest, maybe God is trying to prepare you for a change. However, are you focusing so intently on your own actions and decisions you are losing sight of God’s sovereignty?
“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10
Be hopeful. Pray BIG. He can do more than we think (Eph. 3:20), and the final result is up to Him. Don’t put all the pressure on your shoulders. In his recent book, Truth on Fire, Adam Ramsey states:
God is even more Godlike than you think. Nothing is so big that it intimidates him, or so small that it escapes his attention. He is as sovereign over the difficulties awaiting your next Tuesday, as he is the renewal of the universe.
And if you hate where you are at (which is a tough spot to be in), try living in Psalm 139. God is intimately invested in your everyday life. Your job matters. He sees your struggles. Have you asked the Lord to search your heart to reveal what exactly is weighing you down?
- Have you prayed that God can use your work to make an eternal impact? That doesn’t mean you need a ministry job. God desires all His children to share the Good News so everyone can come to repentance.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
God may be at work in the lives of your coworkers. He’s not as concerned about your position as He is the posture of your heart. He uses people in every kind of job. That’s you and me. As you faithfully invest your time and resources in a way that honors the Lord, be ready. God may have some open doors and surprises in store for you!
As we live our lives, we may have a few career changes or a long chain of them. God wants to use every season. As we walk in obedience, He may confirm a specific profession, or He may change our hearts to do something completely new. Our jobs are important, but they do not define how valuable we are. We can be grateful for our jobs and offer them as worship to the only One we need to please. Our jobs are ways to reflect the beauty and creativity of our Creator and point others to Him in the process.