We all want to find fulfilment.
When we were younger, we just pressed ahead with our life. We weren’t thinking too far, just focused on the ‘here and now’, pushing to climb whatever ladder was in front of us. We worked hard to do our best, we wanted more for our lives and a piece of the ‘American Dream”. School, career, family, church. Each option with its own unique set of struggles and issues to overcome, but oddly they are the same.
We work and work to gain the next rung of whatever ladder we find ourselves on, pulling up one more level, determined to get further and higher than the others.
Somewhere along the way we notice this isn’t making me very happy. It may be sooner for some and later for others, but in each of our lives we notice.
The faith we’ve kept offers some vague promises about life being ‘full’ and having ‘joy’ in the journey, but it’s a bit hazy when we slow down our ladder climbing enough to think it through.
We can get a bit surly inside, irritated by the growing dissatisfaction of our progress. The goals we set in our youth shimmer in the distance, unmet. We ponder with regret some of the decisions and compromises we’ve made. We wonder what could have been…
It’s about at this point that I begin to hear comments about how much people hate their jobs. It creeps out at first, bitter and seeping out from the inside. Working late, going in early, struggling to keep up… it’s clear why we run out of gas. Our work doesn’t always fulfill us. It may pay the bills but it doesn’t bring us lasting contentment or satisfaction.
Last night in church LifeGroup we discussed the idea of “vocational calling“. The concept of having a specific purpose and set of unique gifts that God himself granted us. It’s in this idea of a divine purpose that we can find some ‘light’ for this dark and disturbing tunnel we may find ourselves in.
For the Christian, our purpose and our calling go hand in hand. But, our occupations are often unrelated. So, when we work at the local supermarket but long to teach Sunday school… we begin to understand the dichotomy of loving our life but hating our job. Totally understandable.
God wired us to be in ‘vocational’ ministry for our entire life. We will naturally have a ‘bent’ or leaning towards our calling. No matter where we live or work, we’ll find ourselves drawn to certain causes or people. We will always want to ‘teach’ others if we’re called to be a ‘teacher’. It doesn’t matter if we find work as a fireman or a judge, nothing we ‘do’ will provide as much satisfaction or ‘fulfilment’ as what we were created to ‘be’. Understanding that concept is a huge step forward!
Love this quote from Frederick Buechner “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
So, let’s discover what God created you to ‘be’ and don’t be confused that what you ‘do’ is the same thing as what your called to “be”. The distance between our paycheck and our hearts can be frustrating. Remember, St. Paul was a tentmaker by day, Apostle by night. I’m confident it wasn’t ‘fulfilling’ for him to work as a common laborer, but it provided the path for his ‘calling’ to be realized. For some courageous few, we get to do both at the same time, but most of us have to work jobs that are not our vocations.
For those who are sick of the disappointments and pointless sacrifices made at work, it may be worth the effort to dig a bit and find what your ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’ really is.
Be careful on google, there are tons of people and groups who claim to have the magic fulfilment formula, but most are selling you something. God has been whispering to us all along who He is and what we were created to be.
Here is one resource I would recommend.
God bless! Pastor B.
Source Notation. “How to understand your vocational calling“