Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
“I think I missed my calling,” I announced to my husband.
With a perplexed look, he asked, “What do you mean?”
Since graduating from college with a master’s degree in education, I moved from one job to the next like a monkey swinging from one vine to another—not quite sure of the direction I was going, just grabbing onto the next bough. I went from teaching elementary school to writing lessons for an online education company to working for an education contractor with the U.S. Department of Education to Assistant Director of Testing for a large school district to writing national reports for a private education company to becoming the Family Ministry Director of my church to serving as the Interim Youth Director. Along the way, I wrote a book and claimed the title of author.
I applied for just two of the jobs listed above. Every other job found me. I guess you could say I made a career of stepping into positions whenever they were offered.
In retrospect, I see that I was always ready to move on because I was never content with where I was. Moving to a new job every couple of years held the prospect of job satisfaction and often a pay increase. It’s true that my bank account grew as well as my skill set, but the joy in my work did not. I lamented along with the writer of Ecclesiastes who wrote, “What do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless” (2:22-23).
Meanwhile, I watched as my husband thrived in his job. Greg had decided at an early age that he wanted to be an astronaut. As he got older, he settled on aerospace engineering and has worked in this field since graduating from college. In fact, for more than 25 years he’s been with the same company.
Unlike me, Greg has enjoyed his work and valued the stability it provides. He works late when needed, takes on extra tasks if asked, and brings his computer home on weekends in case an issue arises. Every job has its downside, of course, but Greg is consistently grateful that he gets to do what he loves to do.
And this brings me back to why I thought I had missed my calling.
As a child, I experienced my greatest joy through my creative endeavors of writing, baking, and sewing. Many of my teenage hours were spent penning songs and short stories, baking muffins and cakes using various ingredients from the farm, and sewing unique outfits by adapting patterns to fit my taste. But when I had to choose a career path in college, I didn’t choose one that correlated with my abilities.
“What do you wish you had majored in?” Greg asked me.
Several answers came to mind. Costume design. Archeology. Culinary arts. Graphic Design. Creative writing. Theology.
The minute I said it, I saw the irony. I hadn’t missed my calling at all. I had already arrived, even though the route had been circuitous.
Every day I get to sit down and write about God’s goodness and presence in my life. I may not get paid for it, but it brings me great joy. And when someone responds to one of my posts to say that my words moved him or her in some way, I am overjoyed. “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).
As I reflect on my convoluted career path, I see one consistent marker: God. Though I was swinging from vine to vine like a capricious monkey, he was the one positioning the branches and setting the course. I may not have always enjoyed the work I did in the world, but God was an excellent boss. He used every situation to mold me into the woman I am today, fully equipped to use my gifts in a way that brings me pleasure and him glory. I didn’t see it then, but I do now.
I don’t normally listen to rap, but this homemade video nailed it!
THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND is The Lord is The Boss by Dillon Loving.
Favorite lyric: “All day it’s a battle, but my Bible is a sword. Then you better grab your saddle if you’re riding with the Lord. The whole world’s in his hands. The Lord, he’s the boss.”