I started a new job recently. Well, really a new career. I got hired on to be the campus operations pastor at the local church my wife and I love and have been serving at. It’s a fantastic church that is growing, doing great things in the Springfield community, has great leaders and volunteers and really representing what a community of believers following Jesus looks like. You could really say I’ve landed my dream job.
Here’s the thing, I’ve always felt a unique wiring, gifting or bent to “vocational ministry”. I can trace this feeling (or calling) back to the time I was 17 or 18. I didn’t know where, when, why or how this may happen. But nevertheless, I somehow knew this line of work would be in my future. Here’s the rub though: somehow I was under the impression that I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be, implement spiritual disciplines into my life, be happy or find purpose without this particular career.
So what I did in my late teens and early twenties was chase a job. Or sometimes wait for that ministry job to land in my lap. In fact, when I was 20 I had an offer to interview to be a youth pastor. Man am I glad that didn’t work out! You see, what I didn’t realize was, I needed to establish some disciplines, find out who I was and gain some life experience before I was ready for a particular career. (That perspective is only now apparent on this side of things.) Otherwise, I would have been an undisciplined, inexperienced, dissatisfied, burnt out, bitter, unhappy and immature “ministry worker”. (Or any other worker.)
Now, am I saying I’ve somehow figured everything out and have arrived? Heavens no! I still have leaps and bounds to grow and evolve. I work at it everyday. I’m actually just more acutely aware of how much I need to grow, learn and evolve. But what I realize now is, although I’m super excited for this new opportunity, I was at peace and healthy in life before starting this career path. Had I not been chosen for this role, I would have kept on reading, writing, giving, volunteering, growing and experiencing. And that’d be o.k.
We have to keep in mind, that while we may have goals and timelines that we’re set on, there’s probably necessary and important formative events that must take place. If we were to land that dream job, promotion, salary, whatever; but hadn’t gone through the refining, chances are we’d do a pretty nice job of making a mess of it. Essentially, we’d be the same frustrated, malcontent people, only in a different environment. Short cutting the process isn’t creative and constructive, it’s costly and careless and will end up being detrimental in the long run.
I guess what I’m trying to convey is the point that really you only find true happiness and contentment when you find yourself and your purpose. This takes time and is a process. And most surely it’ll look different from person to person. Once you align God’s purpose and yours along with talents and passion, then you’re ready to get started. Otherwise, it’s simply about chasing a position, status or career that’s going to be fleeting and short lived. If you’re prepared to miss out or not obtain the desired goal and be perfectly content with your current stage in life, well then, you’re on the right track.