We will have many jobs throughout our careers. What does God have to do with the choices we make? Good question. What about major career pivots? ♦
It used to be simple for one to select their career or vocation. You simply followed in the footsteps of your father or made your living employed in a short list of vocational trades. One could also endure advanced education in college or trade school and seek employment in new areas, even professional skill areas like medicine, law, finance and business. Whatever the choice, either blue or white collar, the chosen path was a career. And it was for a working lifetime, ending with death, disability or imposed retirement.
And what did faith in God have to do with it?
In most cases, I dare say, not much. Men through history have simply been opportunistic, creative, functional, and motivated by survival for themselves and their families. Since the sin of Adam, man wasn’t give much choice: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground…” – Genesis 3:17-19
Throughout the Scriptures we see men and women employed without a lot of angst or decision-making paralysis over career choice or vocation. Farmers, herders, fishermen, soldiers, trade craftsmen. No major career pivots. People simply did the work at hand to survive. They worshiped God (or not), they lived and died.
My how times have changed.
A Worker’s Right to Choose
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track or publish career data, but educated guesses say that the average modern worker will have 10-15 jobs before they are 40 years old. Some employment surveys are showing workers changing jobs every 3-4 years. Talk about a pivot!
Again, what does faith in God have to do with this? I believe that God has much to do with what we do. Or He should.
In a previous post I addressed the issue of job and vocational direction (see God and Vocational Direction). In another I covered the confusion over “calling” and vocational work (see A Singular Calling). Yes, we have work to do and have been created and specially wired by our Creator. What we do with that wiring and unique gifting is intimately tied with our purpose and lifetime vocation as Christ-followers in this world.
God’s Patience with our Job Pivots
Several years ago I was struggling with the lure of business opportunities. My business was thriving and one client engagement occupied much of my focus, time, travel and attention. My faith went along for the ride. Mostly in the backseat. No one really noticed but there was a definite slow drift over a year and a half away from a vibrant walk with God. Actually, my family noticed. I would deny it, but I was getting choked by the cares of the world. I was too busy to really see it.
The endeavor ended abruptly and left me reassessing my choices: 1) I could continue seeking projects like this one, highly profitable but entrapping, or 2) I could go the opposite direction and get off the Silicon Valley fast-track and seek ministry work, driven by renewed commitment to God (and maybe holy guilt), or 3) I could return to the mainstay of my business, working in my natural “wheelhouse” in which I had been God-led years earlier.
I took a 90-day hiatus. I had many discussions with friends and sought wise counsel. I prayed. And prayed. This is when I first started to learn “surrender.” I recall a phone call with my daughter who was away at college. I spoke of my 3-pronged dilemma. I told her that “I didn’t want to miss what God had for me.” What she said floored me in its clarity and truth. “Daddy,” she said, “God is not in the business of tricking us. That’s what the enemy does. You need simply to pray and surrender. God will make things clear.”
Working in Your “Wheelhouse”
I did just that. What became very clear to me was to reject the first option. Sacrificing my faith, family and sanity for worldly success was an empty race. Success is not wrong; worldly unbalance is. Likewise with the second option. During this hiatus I met with Ed Silvoso, the author of “Anointed for Business” who helped clear my thinking about ministry and marketplace work. That our gifted work in the marketplace can be our ministry platform was the great lesson learned (see “Layman” in the Marketplace). The third option stood clear as a beacon: stay in my strength and talents but with a renewed sense of purpose and application. Dedicated to God, this “wheelhouse” is still today a source of blessing for me, my family and my customers. There is no proselytizing, only the conducting of good work and service with integrity and life-faith balance.
So what is your wheelhouse? It’s most likely around what you naturally do very well, and easily. It’s a gift from God. Figure that out and relinquish the gift back to God for His will and purpose and watch the peace, blessings, and joy overflow. It’ll be the best career-pivot you’ve ever made.
Are you working in your true strength? Are you making the right pivot?
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ who you serve. – Colossians 3:23-24