Do you love your job? Are you doing what you love? Are you pursuing your passion? If you have answered “yes” to all the three questions, then good for you. You are one of the lucky ones.
The harsh reality of life is that we don’t always get what we want, and we don’t always want what we get. Stories of people stuck in dead-end and un-fulfilling jobs are numerous. They are almost the rule, rather than the exception. But what if “loving your job” was never the point? I mean, yes, it is good to love what you do. It is preferable and pleasurable and there is nothing wrong with that. But is that the point of work?
God created us and commissioned us to steward His planet. He gifted us differently so we could all play our part in beautifying this kaleidoscope that is our home. “Fill the earth and subdue it,” He told Adam and Eve. But because sin broke this world, through that first couple’s disobedience, we often find ourselves being square pegs in round holes. We are mismatched and mish-mashed. So we walk around envying other people’s gifts and resenting our own. Or we complain and murmur about the hand that fate has dealt us.
But another oft-ignored reality check has forced its way to the center of my vision recently. Even those who do what they love are not happy. Yes, they do have moments of pleasure and perhaps their income has spared them from many of the miseries of this planet. But if you were to sit many of them down and really quiz them about their day-to-day job experiences, a familiar storyline begins to take shape.
Some people love what they do in that they love the task, but not necessarily the environment or the politics associated with the task. I love my job. When I say that, what I really mean is that I love to write. I could write for free. But I am a journalist, and sometimes the writing bit is the least of my worry. There is the politics and the ethics and the salary issues that need to be thought through.
Even in my writing, there are topics I am more comfortable handling while I do my best to steer clear of others. Also, just because you write well doesn’t mean you have excellent people skills. So it is not surprising that I will dread having to chase after and interact with some people for the sake of a story I am working on. Given a choice, I would be more comfortable sitting at my desk and Googling everything I need for my stories.
But life, at least this life, is not designed for our comforts. And I have found myself having to break out of my cocoon and preferences and personality in order to do my job. I still love to write, but given the context that I need to be in to facilitate that writing, I am not so sure I love my job. I am sure you can conjure up similar scenarios in your own job environment.
Which leads me to my point: what if loving your job was never the point? Let me explain, briefly. We work because God created us to work. We work because this planet needs work. It wasn’t designed to work itself into the perfection that God envisioned when He created it. We, human beings, are part of the plan to make this world al it was created to be. This means that my job, my career, my family, my personal dreams and ambitions are very short-sighted goals for whatever I do.
God created us to work with a global vision in mind. He created us to work with His vision of the world in mind. Every part you play is a part played for more than yourself, your family or your friends. It is a part played for the world. We need to expand our scope. But even beyond this, the reason we work for the world is because God created and commissioned us to do so. So we are actually working for God.
But at this point some of us begin to grow wary and suspicious. Are we just slaves for God? Are we just instruments in His hands with nothing for us to gain? What about our desires? What about our happiness? What about our goals and dreams? Don’t they matter? Well, the reason you have those desires, goals and dreams is because God designed you to have them. So to think that they do not matter at the expense of what God wants is to misunderstand what God wants.
God wants you to be happy, happier than you want yourself to be. This means that your vision for your own happiness is too limited, too short-sighted, too stifling. And when you resist pursuing this God-sized vision of your own future, you sell yourself short. When you take God for granted, He grants you what you want. You may get it all, the money and the fame, but that is all you will get. This life is all you will gain.
So why sell yourself short? Why settle for crumbs when a whole banquet is promised you? Why focus on loving your job when you can love something bigger than your job, through your job? Yes, our work is a means to an end, a greater end, God’s end. Some of us are “lucky” to be doing what we love, what we were “designed” to do. But even here, we are not always happy in what we do. Many of us are in the “wrong” jobs and career.
What both of these mismatches reveal is that we are not where we need to be. The world as it is, is not the world God created and created us to work in. Something’s gone terribly wrong. Our problem is not that we are in the wrong job or career, our problem is that we are in the wrong planet. So what needs to give to align ourselves to the original vision and mission that God created us for?