Each day, we wake up and set out to do some sort of work. For many, we spend from 8ish to 5ish doing our assigned duties to earn a living. Some may find a deeper purpose and a calling in the position that they are in than others.
Upon exiting college and entering a full-time position, I thought I had scored my dream job working administratively for a Christian missions organization. As I experienced the office culture and breakdown of what I wanted adult life to look like, a sort of sadness came from losing my expectations. I wanted to have more time with my friends. I wanted to enjoy my job and co-workers. I wanted to feel like I belonged there and had a purpose in each task. However, my reality is spreadsheets, data entry, frustrating conversations, and unmatched ideals. I was exhausted and wanted to run away, hoping that something better, something more fulfilling, was out there. But in my heart, I knew God had led me to this job for this time. The pieces had come together in such a way that there was no other explanation than His hand joining them. I know that, at least for now, I am to stay in that position, with faith that God knows what He is doing with me.
As Christian women, whether SAHMs, students, waitresses, assistants, managers, or CEOs, we are held to the same commission that “whatever do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for others” as Colossians 3:23 instructs. We are called to work in some capacity and are to do it well with invested hearts. It’s a verse we’ve likely heard but find harder to draw encouragement from when work becomes hard on the heart; when we become weary and unsure of our “whys” to the actions of our day; or simply become idle machines, just getting through each check of the to-do list.
We are called to work in some capacity and are to do it well, with invested hearts…with faith that God knows what He is doing with us.
We often know what we should do or how to do it, but the practicals get lost in our hopes for the ideals. We must break down those perfect pictures in our heads, take life one day at a time, and remember our faith and the God to whom we belong. As our jobs become less than ideal, whether suddenly or over time, we can cling to these truths for a much-needed change of perception.
Six ways of finding God’s purpose in a job you don’t like:
1. My work is a provision.
In the Bible, there are countless stories of God providing for the needs of His people. One way He provides for many of us is through our paychecks. We can pay for food, housing, clothing, and even more blessings because He has given us a job for which we are paid. Let us be thankful and do our work with honesty as it is a grace that we get to be compensated.
2. My work is worship.
Romans 12:1 says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him” (The Message). We can praise God for who He is by reflecting on Him in our work. We can be honest, diligent, and loving because we have a reward far greater than a Friday deposit. Our work is a way of doing great things—or what seem to be just ordinary things—in significant ways as we are loved and sought after by the Greatest. Let our work show that we are working for One higher than the institution we are placed in.
3. My work does not define me.
I am not just a (fill in the blank). If I let my identity come from my work, what happens when it’s gone? Strong, faithful, working women remember and rest in the fact that they are the Lord’s and that means we don’t need to get bogged down with what we do but can do anything faithfully because we represent a steadfast and faithful God.
If I let my identity come from my work, what happens when it’s gone? Strong, faithful, working women rest in the fact that they are the Lord’s and that means we don’t need to get bogged down with what we do but can do anything faithfully.
4. God is in control of my boss.
Romans tells us in chapter 13 that God sets all authorities in place. As He has fought for our good, we can submit ourselves to our superiors in the workplace because we know that we are ultimately serving Him, which will always be worth it, even if we don’t see the “good fruit” for a while. If we remember all the ways He’s weaved our stories with our friends, family, and spouses, we can trust that He has just as good of a purpose in putting us under the bosses that we have.
5. My work is for my good.
Romans 8:28 tells us that our good is important to the Lord of this whole, wide world. There is nothing meaningless in light of God’s good work. When I don’t see the good in my job, let me remember that He may just be working in my own heart rather than only having me produce something for others. Over the past few years in my position, the Lord has brought me closer to Him (as I have prayed for with differing expectations), and I can now see that my dream job would not have been enough to keep me dependent upon seeking Him. He is good to have me in a place that keeps me in conscious need of His Spirit working in me to do well.
6. My work is not my purpose, but I have purpose in my work.
The search for fulfillment through advancement, promotion, and recognition in a job is a tireless one. Any glimpse of such success is satisfying for just a small moment. In my position at a non-profit, I often feel like I should be serving in a more hands-on way. It can feel as though administration is not enough to do the will of God, but in reality, we are placed in our exact position, city, company, or office, because the Lord knows it will work out for our good and the good of others. Our ultimate purpose in life is to give glory to Him in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). Yes, that seems rather vague and hard to apply most of the time, but it’s in remembering and living out the “smaller” truths He’s given us that we glorify Him in all that we do, including our work.
In all of the places we have been sent, let us pray for further dependence on the Lord so that we may work with diligent integrity, the gifts of our skills, loving service, and deep thankfulness that makes an impact on others and gives Him all the glory.
You’ll also like Not Sure How to Answer the Question: “What’s Your Why?”, Do You Have to Like Your Job?, If You’re in a Hard Season, It’s Time to Speak Life, Have You Ever Said It? “I’m Not Good Enough.”, and Overcoming Bitterness When You Don’t Get the Credit You Deserve.