By Linda Gilden, Crosswalk.com
In life, we have many decisions that must be made. According to Eva Krockow of Leicester, England, people make upward of 35,000 decisions every day. Most of them are very simple such as what to wear, when to leave the house, do you have time to stop for coffee, etc. But throughout the day, one or two decisions emerge as extremely important now and then. The most important decisions include asking Jesus to come into your heart, if and where to go to college, if you can work and go to college simultaneously. Then eventually comes choosing a career, choosing a lifetime mate, and making decisions for your children.
Any big decision involves great amounts of thought and more.
When Christians discuss a calling from God, they usually talk about making a vocational choice. When you ask Jesus into your heart, you essentially choose to become part of His family and make all decisions with the knowledge that you now belong to Him and represent His Kingdom in everything you do. As you seek to decide on a career choice, you must seek God's will with all your heart and work hard to ensure you find a job that you enjoy. People will observe you and notice whether or not you are truly enjoying your job or tolerating it as a way to get a regular paycheck. Witnessing God's Kingdom and faithfulness will shine through your actions at work. Many will ask you why you seem to be so happy and enjoy your work so much, and you will have the opportunity to tell them why.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, new creation has come! The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (1 Corinthians 17-20 NIV)
Here are a few C's to help guide your decision-making as you consider a career.
As you begin your decision-making process, the first thing is to communicate. Communicate? Yes, before anything else occurs, you need to pray for wisdom from God and talk with him with an open ear and heart. Tell Him what you are thinking even though He already knows. Prayer should be the first and last thing you do as you consider a calling or vocation. James 1:5 reminds us, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5 ESV)
After you finish your preliminary conversation with God, prayerfully make a list of those things you are looking at as part of God's calling on your life. Having two columns and eliminating some things might be helpful as you prayerfully make your list. If you are unsure about what type of career you might enjoy, there are a number of personality and work-related assessments that might help you narrow it down.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, he new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconcilied to God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 NIV)
Keep in mind that your primary calling may be to be a good wife or a nurturing mother first, and make sure the things you list are compatible with that calling. If you are searching to find a vocation that suits you outside the home, two considerations must be made - the time you can spare away from your family or those days you might have childcare.
On the chart you are making, draw a line down the middle and list the things in the left column that you consider your strengths, talents, and the type of thing (work) that you enjoy doing. On the other side (right column), list things you wouldn't want to consider as a vocation. For me, I don't think I would enjoy being a plumber, landscaper, home inspector, or anything that seems dirty or germy. I would enjoy something with a more creative bent, allowing me to use my love of words and make a difference in people's lives. Working with children might be a variable since I had small children at home and would like a change, at least in the age group.
Once you have narrowed your list down by the process of elimination and have several choices, it's time to do a lot of thinking and lots more communicating with God. You might also talk to some godly friends. When your friends know you well, they may see something you hadn't even thought about. If there is something you think you might enjoy, find someone who is in that vocation and ask if you might shadow them one day or even for a few hours. The most important part of your contemplative period is the time you spend listening to God's input. As He leads you, you can cross things off your list, and add question marks and notes so the next time you look at the list and begin to discuss it with God and perhaps your spouse, it will become clearer.
Many of us have a good friend, mentor, or family member who we confide in when trying to make critical decisions. Once you have narrowed your choice down and feel that you have decided on your preference, you may want to ask your friend or mentor for advice. You have decided what may be the best career for you and your family; it may help you to get a second opinion. Your friend can be objective and point out things that may have been missed.
"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel." (Proverbs 27:9 HCS)
God has given everyone the ability to see a need and act on it. He seems to expect us to notice it and get to work rather than waiting for a special call from him. There is no biblical formula for translating the world's needs into a precise job calling. That's why you need to seek God's guidance in the various forms of discernment available to you.
6. Communicate Again
You should constantly communicate with God on something as important as this. You should be running every thought and idea by Him. God's calling is to those who have accepted the call to follow Him as they seek to make the most of their call. Vocational direction is hard to sort out, especially when you have a family. And we must never lose sight of our primary calling to life in Christ. This means to follow Him in the vocational calling on their lives and be united with Him in every way and aspect of life.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)
God has a special plan for each of us, and there is pure joy in knowing you are in the center of His will, whether in a personal or a vocational calling. Follow His will and you'll always find joy in everything you do.
Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of writing and learn to use their writing to make a difference. Linda recently released Articles, Articles, Articles! and is the author of over a thousand magazine articles and 19 books including the new Quick Guides for Personalities. She loves every opportunity to share her testimony, especially through her writing. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!
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