Two types of students enter college: those who know exactly what they want to accomplish, and those who remain unsure about their career path. There’s nothing wrong with the latter classification, but it can be deeply frustrating to not understand God’s plan for your professional life. Your job at this difficult time is to discern your calling, and to make academic and career decisions accordingly.
Determine Your Natural Gifts and Passions
Where do you excel? What gets you excited? God has granted you valuable gifts, but you may not yet be fully aware of them or the role they could play in your future career. For example: if you are naturally empathetic, you’re a wonderful candidate for nursing. Likewise, musical talent and Christian passion could prime you for success as a worship leader.
Qualities that, at one time, might have seemed problematic may actually enable you to succeed in a particular career path. Perhaps you decried your naturally introverted nature in high school. Now, however, you can concentrate for hours on important projects without feeling bereft of company. Conversely, maybe your type A personality prompted drama. If you can tone down your worst tendencies and harness your take-charge attitude, you could succeed as an entrepreneur.
Journaling and reflecting can help you determine where you thrive. As you journal, think about your performance in past classes, jobs, or activities. What made you feel the most alive? Which pursuits resulted in awards or top grades?
If you continue to struggle, ask trusted individuals for feedback. Your friends or family members may observe qualities that you typically disregard.
Determine How You Can Honor God in a Particular Career Path
You don’t have to be a pastor to honor God on a daily basis. A variety of career routes allow you to live out Christ’s message every day on the job. Some, however, are more suitable to a Christ-centered life than others. Certain jobs are inherently unethical. Others focus so exclusively on the pursuit of wealth or fame that they make Christ-centered living all but impossible.
Reflect on how a particular professional approach would highlight God’s glory or detract from your life as a follower of Christ. Sometimes, the answer won’t be obvious.
Don’t Rely on Fleeting Signs
Well-meaning Christians frequently mistake everyday circumstances as divine signs from God. Career counselors Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck use the example of a woman dissatisfied with her minimum wage job. She notices a real estate sign and assumes it means God wants her to sell property. Quickly, however, she realizes that she hates selling and is horrible at it. She blames God, but is it really His fault that she misinterpreted an ordinary sign?
Don’t Shy Away from Risks
The Parable of the Talents reminds us that hiding our God-given talents can lead to ruin. Risk-taking is sometimes necessary, especially as you seek to make the most of your unique gifts. The key: taking the right risks. You should know exactly why you make a risky career move, and how it will benefit not only you, but also your loved ones and your community at large.
Accept Not Knowing
Even as you pursue a particular major or career path, you might not feel entirely sure that you’re making the right choice. Doubt is a natural part of the human condition. Even your fellow students who seem so confident likely wrestle with occasional misgivings. Trust that God is leading you in the right direction, and that you can eventually use any skills or knowledge you gain to glory Him in your own unique way.
Be comforted by the increasing role that transferable skills play in the workplace. Today’s employers appreciate the diversity that outside hires deliver. Sometimes, those with diverse knowledge or resumes deliver the most value. It can be difficult to understand how your current efforts will lead to the ultimate outcome of serving God, but if you lead a Christ-centered life, all will work out in the end.
Make a Difference Right Now
Don’t wait until you graduate and score that first full-time job to make God the center of your life. You can accomplish great things right now, exactly as you are. Begin by reading your Bible regularly, praying, and meeting with other believers.
Arrange a Bible study to help others deepen their relationship with God. Volunteer for a cause close to your heart. Participate in a food drive or other charitable effort. If you wait until the perfect time to fulfill God’s destiny, you’ll never get started. Your career path can eventually help you carry out His will, but there’s no reason to sacrifice faithful living in the present for an uncertain future.
If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a Bible-based, Christ-centered education at OKWU, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in any field of study. For more information on how Oklahoma Wesleyan University can help you pursue your goals, please phone us at 918-335-6200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.