Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. –Colossians 3:23
It was over 20 years ago. The door had firmly shut on the job of my dreams –teaching – and, after I got over my major, extended funk, I realized this was an opportunity to pursue another one of my life’s interests – writing.
So I got a job at a local newspaper writing feature articles.
I loved it! I wrote human interest stories with a positive slant. Interviewing folks fascinated me, their stories intrigued me. I had the best of both worlds: a job I loved and freedom to set my schedule and choose my topics. But I was too stupid to see it. I wanted a position on staff, not be merely a stringer.
So when the society page editor resigned, I stepped into her position. I didn’t like it as much as writing people stories, but I was caught in a “climb-the-ladder-to-success” scenario. Excuse me, trap is a better word.
Fast forward a year or so, and I found myself in the editor’s office. Editor of the entire newspaper. I hated it. I hated the hours. I hated the politics. I hated everything about it.
In his book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg tells the story of a man who was offered the presidency of a university. A Quaker, he called together a half-dozen Quaker friends to help him discern whether this was truly a calling from God.
When asked what he would like about being president, he told them all he wouldn’t like. Finally, when asked a third time, he came face to face with the real reason he even was considering it: “Well, I guess what I’d like most is getting my picture in the paper with the word president under it.”
“Parker,” one man asked, “can you think of an easier way to get your picture in the paper?”
We can laugh, but that’s where I was. I liked the words “editor of the newspaper” behind my name, but there was no joy. I was absolutely, totally miserable. The mother of miserable.
Fortunately, I didn’t last long. I went to another newspaper, where I continued to write my devotional column, plus another column about my former town and also covered board meetings.
My sister’s death in 2003 made me realize I still wasn’t fulfilling my God-given calling. I was letting money and prestige dictate my job choices.
When you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for you (see Psalm 138:8), joy will fill you. Your work will be a blessing. But when you’re out of sync with that calling, uneasiness, restlessness, joylessness, and even downright misery will rule the day. Work will be a curse.
It takes courage to step out of the rut we’ve carved for ourselves, take off the masks, and leave the comfort of the known.
But remember, God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), and He will guide you, direct you, prepare the way for you, walk with you, go before you, and provide for all you need.
Commit your way to the Lord, and your plans will be established. He will make your steps firm (Proverbs 16:3 and Psalm 37:23–24). In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Why not ask God what He wants you to be doing? His answer may surprise you – and will definitely delight you.
Thank You, God, for giving me satisfying work that uses the talents You gave me, fills me with joy, and fulfills Your purpose for me. Amen.
Read and meditate on Matthew 25:14–30.
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.