Well, let’s see. I can make perfect no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. I am a speed-reader and lover of good novels. I’m a very responsible babysitter and excellent note-taker. My sale-rack shopping skills are unequaled. Do those count for anything? For what career are my “qualifications and skills” suited? What qualifications and skills should I be learning and honing right now, to prepare for my ideal job?
I’ve asked myself those questions for more than ten years. At age 31, my jobs are currently mother and homemaker (these take up most of my time), as well as adjunct English instructor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Reviews Editor at The Christian Chronicle, and occasional contributor to Oklahoma Today magazine.
My lovely cousin Holly e-mailed me the other day saying she liked my career, and wondered if I could give her any career advice.
My career? I thought. I still haven’t picked a career. This is just what I’m doing right now while I have so many young children. I(There are four, all under the age of seven.) What I do from eight to five everyday was nowhere on a list of goals or a five-year plan. But I truly believe that all of my jobs are some of the “good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do”Ephesians 2:10
But five years from now, my jobs will probably be vastly different. I have no idea what they will be, and I’m not bothering to write a five-year plan either. Instead, I’ve decided to do the following, and I think it will work for you, too.
- Pray: God has a plan for you, and it is probably completely different from what you would imagine for yourself. It might be much harder, much bigger, or much smaller than what you envision, but it is important. Pray that God makes you willing and ready for His plans. There’s no need to pray that He will reveal His will to you. You have to take that one step at a time.
- Read the news: This one sounds weird, but you will find out about some of the most interesting ways of living and working when you read news articles (notice I said read the news, not watch the news). When you’re in high school, you tend to only know about a couple career fields, the ones you see everyday: your teachers and your parents’ jobs. But when you read articles about developments in science, the arts, business and politics, you learn about the world and all the voices and places in it. You start to form opinions and have ideas. You will take notes on the kinds of people you respect, and those you don’t. You start to see the world as an adult when you read the news, and that’s an important step in choosing a career.
- Choose a major: This is completely not urgent until your sophomore year in college. When you’re choosing a college, it seems important to know your career field, but those professors and recruiters know that you’ll probably change your major at least once. Take classes that sound interesting to you, and see what inspires you. Listen for the thing that lights you up inside. Whenever you learn something that makes your mind run away with ideas, pursue that more: you might be finding your place in the world.
- Wait on the Lord: I’ve found that almost every career opportunity I seek out without God, I don’t get. If I do get it, I don’t like it; it doesn’t work out well. I let my mind get ahead of God. I start making all these plans and researching all these possibilities, and they just don’t happen. Why? Because I ran ahead; I was impatient. I didn’t just wait, pray, and see what God has in store for me. Every single job opportunity you have, whether it’s a summer internship, a part-time job, or your first “real” full-time job, you must approach it prayerfully, patiently. Let God lead the way.
Don’t stress now about choosing something to do from eight to five, Monday to Friday, for thirty years. Instead, just focus on doing something today to serve God. You’ll look back in forty years and realize that all those days of serving God have become much more than a career; they’ve become a life lived in preparation for eternity.