Recently, one of my cousins posted on Facebook regarding her frustrations in finding a job that not only paid well, but also, that she enjoyed. I can relate. Truthfully, this has ALWAYS been a struggle for me.
When I went to college at 18 years of age, I had one goal; to graduate and get a high paying job with benefits. I did well in school and graduated with a B.A. degree in Communications. But had I listened to my inner voice, I would have majored in Art or English. But I didn’t want to disappoint my parents if I failed to get a high paying job, and ended up as a struggling artist. And the truth is, I doubted myself too. I didn’t believe it was realistic to do something I enjoyed and still get paid well. I didn’t know any adults who actually liked their jobs. They worked because they needed the money. Not because they enjoyed their careers. I didn’t have faith that GOD would not allow me to fail.
After I graduated, I started looking for any job I could find where I could utilize my degree. My parents who had just spent the last 4 years working part-time jobs to help me pay for college, started slipping employment ads under my bedroom door. They knew that in 6 months, my loan payments would start to kick in and I needed to be prepared to pay them. So, like many college graduates, my focus wasn’t to find a job that I enjoyed, but rather one that paid the bills.
Soon I got a job #1. I was so excited. It was my first real job. The pay was ok for a single person with no kids. The benefits were amazing. So, I was content…for a while.
Then I bought my first house, and I soon realized that I needed more money! I now had a mortgage, a car payment, and student loan debt. So, I started working hard, and luckily, I worked for a company that believed in paying for production. I received raises and bonuses. And I was content…for a while.
But soon, I started to resent my bosses for their lack of knowledge, mood swings, and constant micromanagement. I knew right then, that I needed to work for myself. I wanted freedom and higher pay. So, I began to research career fields in which I could be my own boss. I fell in love with real estate after buying my first home, so I settled on being an Appraiser. I just knew this would be the perfect job for me. I would make my own schedule, and get paid a good salary.
Eventually, I got hired by job #2. I was happy that I would finally be appraising property, but I still had the goal of working for myself and I thought this would be the opportunity to get training and then move on to self-employment. And I was content…for a while.
But soon, I realized, that I was misled. The training I was receiving was not adequate and the managers would not help me, for fear that I would leave the department (Yes! They actually told me this). To my dismay, I stayed there for another 8 years. I wanted to leave the entire time, but by this time I had started a family, and it wasn’t that easy for me to leave. For a while, despite the selfishness of my managers, I started enjoying the job. I had more freedom than most jobs, and I was doing something important. I had my own office and I was valued for my skills (but not compensated for them). All in all, for a few of these years, I was content…for a while.
Then came management changes, unethical work practices, and a massive pay freeze. This place was not the right fit for me, and I started to dread going to work. I tried to stay content for the health benefits, but that wasn’t enough. I decided I would be leaving very soon. And I did.
By now I had worked for corporate America and for the government. Neither one satisfied me so I decided to take a different route this time. I would do what I had wanted to do for years; start my own business.
I thought about being a writer because I’ve always loved to write, and I thought about being an artist because I love to create. But the same doubt from when I was 18 set in, and this time it was more real than ever. I had a family to help support, I couldn’t be selfish, I needed a business that would keep us financially secure.
So, my husband and I started a living facility for people with mental disabilities. The money came in fast, and my schedule was mostly flexible, which allowed me to work on things that I enjoyed, like reading, writing, and doing art projects. Plus, I could spend more time with my daughter, and had virtually no commute. I was content…for a while.
Deep down, I always knew the business we chose to do, was not my thing. I had never worked with people with mental disabilities before and they required a lot of patience and a lot of assistance. It can be a stressful job if you don’t love the work. I love interacting with my clients. However, the cleaning, and the cooking, and the shopping, and the doctor’s appointments all took a toll on me. I’m still much happier than I was at my previous jobs, but still longing for that dream career.
I want the type of career that excites me and gives me something to look forward to when I wake up in the morning. I know some people have accepted discontentment for their jobs, but I never could. I don’t think it’s too much to ask; to enjoy what you do for a living and make a decent amount of money.
FINDING THE FAITH
Feeling distraught, I scoured the internet, I read tons of books, all in search of the perfect career. A career in which I could use my creativity, have a flexible schedule, make good money, and work primarily from home. I tried a few side ventures, nothing panned out. Then I realized that I hadn’t yet consulted with GOD.
Why didn’t I go to GOD first? I guess I lacked faith that I would hear GOD’s voice. And I wasn’t sure if GOD cared what career I chose. I felt like a drama queen. I thought to myself, “Why can’t I just be happy with a regular 9 to 5 like everybody else?” But the truth was, I felt like I was drowning. I needed purpose. I needed a focus. I wanted a calling. I was at a breaking point, and I knew that only GOD could help me.
It was a mistake not going to HIM for guidance. The internet has a huge amount of information on it, but nothing like the wisdom we receive from studying HIS word. I drove myself crazy looking for career information on the web and in books, but nothing I read gave me hope or renewed purpose.
So, I pulled out my trusty study bible, and posed the question, “What does the bible say about choosing careers?” Here are some scriptures that resonated with me:
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your straight your paths.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
Psalm 32:8 ESV “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
Proverbs 16:3 ESV “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”
Psalms 37:4 ESV “Delight yourself in LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
There are more scriptures like the ones above. And the resounding theme is that we need to trust GOD for the answers to our deepest questions and to guide the totality of our lives. Once we can learn to trust in HIM, he will instruct our lives in the right direction, and we will be blessed.
Too often, we lean on our own understanding, and that can sometimes cause chaos in our already stressful lives. We must train ourselves to go to GOD for everything. He wants us to depend only on him and no one else. If we can do this, and show GOD that our faith in him is unyielding, and that we are willing to obey him when he directs us, then we will receive his blessings.
Had I exhibited faith in GOD when I was 18 years old, and trusted in the gifts and talents he gave me, I would already be well established in a career that I love. But sometimes, GOD must break us down to build us back up.
Over the last 16 years, I relied on myself to find the answers. I prayed here and there, but I never really showed faith that GOD would give me the wisdom that I needed. I don’t believe he wanted me to suffer all these years, in unfulfilling jobs. But we tend to grow the most during our darkest times.
In Exodus, GOD uses Moses to free the Israelites from slavery. He performed many miracles to show how mighty he was, and to build the Israelites faith in him. He was taking them straight to the promised land. But during the voyage to the promised land, the Israelites complained and nagged, and stopped trusting in the LORD. So, GOD decided to teach them a lesson. A trip that should have only taken 11 days, ended up taking 40 years! And NONE of the generation of Israelites that were freed made it to the promised land. Why? Because they continued their grumbling and never quite learned to trust God fully. They were negative and started worshipping other gods. They were going to these other gods, the same way I was looking for my answers in books and on the internet. I don’t mean that we can’t gather information and be resourceful, however, first and foremost, we need to seek out GOD! He alone is our salvation.
When finally, I stopped forcing the issue, and started believing in my GOD given abilities and trusting HIM, my stress was relieved.
Over time, I started practicing new artistic hobbies. People noticed my talent quickly, and I even made some side money. It felt good. I haven’t quit my day job yet, but I have something in me now that I didn’t have before, FAITH!
I don’t want to end up like the Israelites; never getting to my promised land. I believe GOD has something better for me. And I know that if I continue to trust him, I will live to see it sooner, rather than later.
Let’s continue to trust in GOD for the answers, and see where LIFE takes us!
Until then, stay prayed up!