Are You Destined For A Specific Career?: Making the Gamble of Choosing A Passion

   

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With the millions of choices placed in front of us through this life and the dozens of passions which develop, choosing what we ought to dedicate our lives to is no simple matter. In fact, it can be rather schizophrenic. It is as if we reach into the well that is our heart and only pluck out a few select things, laying the rest aside to languish. Having to randomly select which part of your soul you will not pursue for the sake of other passions and talents leaves one empty. Just ask the lawyer who wanted to be a musician, the teacher who wanted to be a farmer, or the fellow who cooks in the back at your local restaurant who always wanted to go to college, read books, and teach children.

Choosing between the practical and the “dream” is ubiquitous. Moreover, choosing between passions and talents because there is only time to pursue one or two is everywhere.

A close friend recently informed me of his continued struggle with writing. Having a deep passion for writing progressive Christian literature akin to Donald Miller or other such icons, this friend—not lacking in talent by any means—is torn within his soul. He is a brilliant researcher and academic writer, laudable musician, and a passionate rock-climber. All these things and so many more pull at his heart, demanding his devotion and attention. But between his two jobs, little time remains for all his passions. He must choose.

God gave him all of these passions and talents. He will no doubt use at least one of them for a career. Which one should he follow? If only a booming voice would erupt and the cosmic finger of God would just point him at the exact task for which he was made.

He is not alone is wanting such clarity.

I too have felt a deep, desperate, and heavy strain on what I should be doing with my life.

I desperately love writing for this blog and would love to be an author. I would love to become a pastor of some sort, going to seminary and pursuing theology. I would love to continue graduate school researching and studying Ancient History. And I wouldn’t mind just being a great High School teacher.

I am currently attempting to do all these things—to my utter exhaustion. I cannot continue to pursue all of these things. So the question is, what should I do? What passion should I sacrifice? Which talent or future should I abandon?

Often making such decisions feels more like a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with the bearded-man up stairs. A game of chance. “Rock. Paper. Scissors. Dangit. Paper. Well, I guess I will be a professional ballet dancer.” Isn’t this how it goes? (at least in our conception of reality).

For a God who claims that he is always with us and will guide us in the path in which we should follow, it often feels like we are one our own. We just have to make a choice. Which should it be?

I wish I had an answer. An easier one.

We are simply charged to believe that He has our best life planned. This may not lead to mansions, caviar, movie-star spouses, or massive walk-in closets with tons of clothes, but it certainly will lead to God’s greatest glory and your most enjoyable life.

In the words of Paul the Apostle, “Nothing in His universe happens by chance or accident. For every effect there is a cause. God ‘worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory’” Ephesians 1:12

Every stray atom, every minuscule event, and every career decision has God behind it. When we believe this, we should be comforted. No matter what we might do, God is in control. But are we comforted? Do we believe these truths?

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  • Anonymous

    It’s funny you post on this topic as I myself have posted on the same idea in my personal blog on how I need to be like a lion. We must all be at that same point in our life. Glad to share it with someone! :) It is hard to determine your passion, but I believe if we patiently study and listen to the calls of our heart, and not the “demands” of this world, God will reveal the one path that will fulfill all those needs. And it all starts with Proverbs 3:5-6. Good blessings on your journey my friend!

  • I had the mindset that I was created for one thing and that once I figured it out, I needed to devote my entire life to it. 

    I’m discovering that this a myth. I have many passions and many talents. Just because I can’t pursue them all today doesn’t mean that I can only pursue one. Each season of life is different with different focuses. 

    Today I may be focused on writing and maybe even have an opportunity to write a book or get a full time writing gig. I’d love that.

    But I also love discipleship and I want to lead something in that realm. I’d love to teach in a discipleship school and pour my life into the generation behind me.

    There are countless other things I want to do. I can’t do them all now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do them in some capacity at some point.

    I don’t want to limit myself and even worse, limit what God can do in and through me.

  • You mean you aren’t supposed to pursue them all at once? That may be part of my problem. I am trying to be a writer/blogger, SAHM to 4 young kids, ministry leader, and wife while I research master’s programs and dream of having another baby. I didn’t realize this wasn’t advised. Haha!

    This post is so timely for me. My husband and I recently moved from So Cal to Washington and we’re in this quandary about what direction to pursue: vocational ministry in a church setting, start our own business, take whatever job appears even if only temporarily, or a great unknown choice that God may be holding out for us. 

    I’d like to think that God isn’t a sadist who gets pleasure out of watching us squirm as we hope to pass His pop quiz on what we’ll be when we grow up. My view is that He genuinely wants us to use our talents and natural abilities He’s given us in a way that glorifies Him and benefits others. I think that’s where people get tripped up sometimes; they are looking for what will make them happy, successful and famous. The real question is: “God, what are you already doing, and how can I join in?”

  • You mean you aren’t supposed to pursue them all at once? That may be part of my problem. I am trying to be a writer/blogger, SAHM to 4 young kids, ministry leader, and wife while I research master’s programs and dream of having another baby. I didn’t realize this wasn’t advised. Haha!

    This post is so timely for me. My husband and I recently moved from So Cal to Washington and we’re in this quandary about what direction to pursue: vocational ministry in a church setting, start our own business, take whatever job appears even if only temporarily, or a great unknown choice that God may be holding out for us. 

    I’d like to think that God isn’t a sadist who gets pleasure out of watching us squirm as we hope to pass His pop quiz on what we’ll be when we grow up. My view is that He genuinely wants us to use our talents and natural abilities He’s given us in a way that glorifies Him and benefits others. I think that’s where people get tripped up sometimes; they are looking for what will make them happy, successful and famous. The real question is: “God, what are you already doing, and how can I join in?”

  • Anonymous

    I’m kind of an inbetween person…what i mean is that I know what I want to do (website design type of stuff) but I also have passions that I can pursue here and there such as theater (by doing local theater) or a/v stuff (by helping lead a/v at church), etc. I think it’s all about balance. 

  • You are right, Jon, we can’t do it all, otherwise we only get 4 hours of sleep a night. I’ve decided to start giving up things in order pursue what the Lord has in store for me. To be sure, it is painful, but it’s all we can do. Thanks for this insight, it helps remind us all that perhaps God does have a plan in store for us and we can’t hold on to everything, as hard as we try, and though we will have hobbies and other activities our gifts are aimed to serve Him and not us. Thanks for posting this.

  • Agreed. Balance is good. A major problem I have, as well as many others, is that we over commit time to a bunch of different things even though we have the passion and desire. I think that certain pursuits should take priority over others—even though we want to do it all.  For example, like it or not, I am a teacher. I love teaching. I also love working at the local church and would love to be a pastor. I can not do both effectively if I spend as much time as I want doing both. So, a choice must be made. I think this is where the difficulty comes in. 

  • Great @twitter-22109144:disqus ! Totally agree. Quite difficult. The tension between ministry and a vocational living is difficult. The question I am wrestling with is whether or not my vocational calling is my ministry calling. Can they be one and the same? And what does that look like? Or is my job just a means to my ministry?

  • Well said @tonyjalicea:disqus . We should never limit what God has created in us and wants to do through us, even though we don’t see or understand right now. Thanks for your thoughts Tony! Always welcome!

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