As young adults, most of us spent a lot of time contemplating what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives and which career path would help facilitate those plans. Some of us went straight into the work force in a career that we had always planned to pursue since we were young children. Others of us started college, picked an appropriate major, possibly changed it a few times due to indecision, and earned the necessary degree to start our chosen careers. Do you remember how critical it felt picking your vocational path? As an eighteen-year-old, the realization that your decision is going to impact the trajectory of your life can weigh heavily on you. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I don’t like this vocation as much as I think I will? What if I don’t succeed in this career path?
Perhaps some of us are currently switching vocational paths as circumstances have changed, opportunities have presented themselves, or our passions have evolved, and we’ve found ourselves asking those same pestering questions again. How do we make the right decision? Use these guidelines as you evaluate your own vocational choices and as your children ask questions about choosing their vocational paths:
Ask for Wisdom
First and foremost, simply ask God for wisdom and guidance. The Bible is very clear on this topic. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Similarly, Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…” and Proverbs 3:6 echoes, “…in all your ways submit to [God], and He will make your paths straight.” These verses demonstrate to us that God will direct us if we simply ask Him to do so.
Consider Your Talents and Passions
Secondly, consider the talents, giftings, and passions the Lord has given you. Are you particularly good at math? Maybe you have a passion for helping hurting people. Perhaps you love to be outside in God’s creation. Maybe you are an exceptionally talented teacher, listener, builder, mechanic, doctor, plumber, or restaurant manager. Whatever you are good at and/or passionate about, find vocations that allow you to use those things! God gave you your specific talents and passions for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He has equipped us to do His work. Use your talents and passions for His glory in whatever vocation you choose, and you will be satisfied in Him. Of course, you will have to make a living in order to survive, but you can do that and honor God in your vocation simultaneously. Ask Him to show you how and to help you do so.
Be Flexible and Obedient
Thirdly, be flexible and willing to do whatever you feel the Lord calling you to do and go wherever you feel the Lord is calling you to go. The vocational path you are currently on may not be the one He wants you on ten years from now. He may want to use you in different places for different tasks at different times. Be willing and obedient. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” The Lord may change the course of our lives and throw off our plans, but we are foolish not to follow Him, even if it is uncomfortable and difficult at times.
Set Realistic Expectations
Lastly, set realistic expectations. Don’t expect smooth-sailing all the time. You don’t just pick your dream job and then never have to worry about anything ever again; that’s not how it works. It will take hard work, and there will be bumps along the way. God may call you to a different path at times, and you may feel frustrated to leave behind the hard work you have diligently put in at any given career to follow His leading. Choose to trust Him in the enjoyable seasons and the challenging seasons alike. Follow Him in obedience and continue to use your God-given talents and passions to glorify Him and point others to Him in whatever vocational path He leads you to.