Vocation Part Five:What if I Get It Wrong?

Underneath many peoples’ anxiety about jobs and career choices is this question? “What if I get it wrong?” “What if I misunderstand what it is God wants me to do?”  We have touched on these questions in previous posts by offering the answer Barbara Brown Taylor received,that what God desires is for people to do what pleases them and to follow God. And by our conclusion in Part 3, that what is important is the way we do our work, that is, who we ultimately work for and not what our particular job is.

The fear of making a mistake looms large in career choices.

If our career choice was between being a drug lord or curing cancer, most of us could make the choice without much trouble. It is much more difficult to choose between two good choices. Should I do medical research or be a clinician? Should I take the risks of self employment and open a neighborhood coffee shop or work for a larger corporation to have health care benefits and a steady paycheck for my family?  Deciding between two good choices can be tough.

But why? Why is it so difficult to choose between two good choices?

We seem to assume that only one of the good options is the correct choice. We act as if God prefers only one of the good choices and our task is to fathom the hidden mind of God.These are interesting theological assumptions, don’t you think?

I’m don’t think God hides his will from us. I do think, based on personal experience, that we can manage to ignore God’s will for us. But I don’t think God is playing some sort of divine hide and seek with our lives. I think God trusts us to make the final decision.

What if it’s not so much “Here are three choices, guess which I like best”?  What if it is more along the lines of, “Here are three good options, pick the one that gives you joy”?

I also don’t believe God is a linear thinker. Actually, I’m pretty sure God is not a linear thinker. God is more flexible and creative than we are. Look at the marvelous complexity of the world.  The structure of the world is more web like than linear. God may well have a plan for our lives but perhaps it’s not linear.  If you listen to older people talk about their lives, one of the most interesting things is how, in retrospect they see that God was present and at work in apparently unrelated, non linear events.

Can we make wrong career choices? Of course.  But we can also be sure that God is with us no matter what career we choose.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor tings present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39

cross posted at http://www.conversationinfaith.wordpress.com

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