Since the day I gave my heart to Jesus, I’ve believed God has a plan for me. And not just any plan but a good plan. In going to a Christian college, I learned that we have a divine calling from God and that it can be lived out through our careers.
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has “plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.” But what about when our own desires become tangled with our earnest seeking after God’s will? Then we encounter the danger of taking this verse far from its original meaning. Our culture has been saturated with the call to chase our passions and live for fulfillment.
With this in mind, we ask God to come into our lives and into our expectations and to answer prayers in the ways that we desire. But our desires are not always a part of our “calling.”
Here are three barriers that you may be encountering in trying to live God’s calling for you as He intended.
While trying to discover the career path that God called me to, I thoroughly fleshed out my options. I listed my passions and my skills and researched the possibilities everywhere in between. I applied for several jobs and graduate programs and I waited in response for God to open a door.
But when a door opened, I wondered, “Is this the best option God has for me? Is this the right path?”
So I took time to pray. I asked friends and family. I sought after God’s plan and yet I was frozen with fear. What if I took the wrong route? What if this door isn’t the one that God wants me to walk through?
In the middle of my fear, I lost the very purpose that God calls me to. I was frozen with the belief that God had one perfect route for me and yet we find that this is not the case. God doesn’t always ask us to pursue one perfect career.
Let’s be honest, there is no perfect career.
You may enjoy the pay or the hours, but oftentimes the trade off for personal satisfaction is the work.
We stay stuck when we wait for a sense of perfect peace and affirmation that the open door before us is, in fact, the calling that God has for us. Sometimes, we just need to take a leap of faith. If you’ve prayed and sought out Godly direction from friends or family, maybe it’s time to walk through that door.
God asks us to live for Him in our choices. If you are choosing a path that can or will glorify God, it is the right path.
Another problem on the path to finding a calling is the long sought self-fulfillment. The first step we take in discovering God’s plan for our lives is to consider the passions He placed within us. But this can be taken too far.
When seeking fulfillment first and foremost, we place our own satisfaction above the glory of our God. When we let that be our priority, we lose sight of our purpose. And in this mess, we find confusion and an even greater ambiguity as to where we should go next.
God will sometimes ask us to walk through a door that leads to suffering of some sort. Whether it’s a smaller paycheck or a more trying job, sometimes the very place that God wants us to be is far from what we would consider fun or rewarding.
God asks us to seek our fulfillment from Him alone. In glorifying Him in your everyday life, you will receive the fulfillment you seek.
3. Feeling Forsaken
Finally, when we place anything as a priority before God, we are relying on the wrong god. We are creating an idol.
Are you looking for a career because of the money? Are you hoping to work your way into a powerful position for a sense of control? Are you hoping to help those in need for a feeling of justification?
These idols do not flash brightly as warnings, but they slither between the cracks of our hearts and weave their way into our hopes and desires. When we let these idols creep into our motivations, the result is feeling forsaken by God.
After all, when God asks us to follow Him, He says to leave the world behind. It is essential to take a hard, deep look at your motivations and honestly discover if there are any idols that are hidden beneath the surface. Don’t turn away from God in your searching.
The Ultimate Call
God calls us to live for His glory each and every day. Whether our jobs are influencing millions around the world or we have the impact of influencing just one other heart, God’s glory is revealed in us.
Don’t spend so long looking for a perfect plan that you forget to take action and live out God’s love now. Take a risk, walk through an open door and place your heart in God’s hands. Live fully for Him in whatever you do and you will be living out your purpose.
The smallest act of grace and kindness can bring about the profound glory of God.
Our calling isn’t in the perfect career, but in living for the glory of God in every moment of every day.