Written By Joanna Tan, Singapore
I struggled a lot after graduation, asking God what I should do with my life. I could not find a job in the industry of my choice, so I took one I knew I wouldn’t stay at. Work was not the meaningful, passionate experience I had imagined it would be. Instead, it turned out to be mundane, filled with politics, office gossip, and sometimes, simply a survival game to get to the top.
I started thinking about what I wanted to do in the long-term. How should I work for the Lord and find satisfaction in my toil for Him?
Finding the Purpose of Work and Life
As I sought God’s guidance on what I should do with my life, I was reminded of the purpose of work and life.
God has called us to be first and foremost His children and His chosen people. Since Jesus has died for me on the cross, the purpose of my life is to live and glorify Him. No matter what we do, we are no longer to live for ourselves, but to serve Him, and to testify to His grace and mercy so others can know Him too.
As God’s children, we also have the assurance that He will always be with us, and that He has prepared good works for us to do to glorify Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Even though it was difficult for me to do work that I did not enjoy, I saw God’s faithfulness in leading and guiding me over time into an area of work and passion as I sought His ways—healthcare. During the two years I waited upon the Lord, I started to gain greater clarity, and learned to ask the following questions in my search for a suitable job.
1. What is your passion?
God created each of us uniquely. He has given us different passions and desires so that we can work heartily in the areas He has placed on our hearts. Perhaps you may not yet have a clear idea where your passion lies. You may start by narrowing to a couple of broad industries (such as IT, education, etc.) that you have an interest in. For me, consistently over the years, healthcare was an area that I was inclined towards.
In addition to your areas of interest, think about what grieves your heart. It could be something in the world that saddens you, or something that touches a soft spot in your heart. For me, I always had a burden for people who are ill, and I am drawn towards helping these people and their families.
Once you’ve found an inkling of where your passion lies, commit your dreams and desires to God, and allow Him to lead you into using them for His Kingdom.
2. What are your strengths?
If you are unsure about your strengths, try seeking counsel from people who know you well and whom you can trust to give mature and honest advice. Participating in different activities can help us learn what we enjoy doing. Personality tests can also be helpful in discovering what we are good at. Different strengths in skillset and personality make certain roles more suitable than others.
As I served more in church and interacted with others around me, I found that I was good at engaging people and caring for them. People felt comforted sharing their problems and talking through them with me. Through my work experiences, I also discovered that I am more of a “detail-oriented” person, rather than a “big picture” person.
This helped me figure out that I would likely enjoy a role where I could directly help others more than one that involved organizational skills and people management.
3. Are you trusting the Lord?
For most of us, it takes us some time to find a job in the areas that we’re passionate about. What can we do in the seasons where God doesn’t seem to be working or directing us in the areas we had hoped to find ourselves in?
During those times, I’ve been encouraged by Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This verse reminds me that God’s ways are higher than mine. I can trust in His wisdom, rather than my own understanding of the situation. Even though it was difficult to wait upon God while feeling stuck in an industry not of my choice, studying the Bible and holding on to His promises have helped me to persevere during times when I felt discouraged and lost.
In retrospect, God provided wise counsel through sermons and people to guide me in seeking my vocation. He helped me gain clarity about the industry I have a passion for, helped me better know myself and the job scopes that would be suitable for me. He also opened up opportunities for me to work in the healthcare industry, which helped me ascertain whether that was where I wanted to work in in the long-term. This period of waiting strengthened my trust in God, and reminded me that He is always with me and working faithfully even when He seemed silent.
Remember Our Ultimate Vocation
Regardless of whether we find a job that’s the right fit for us, let’s be careful not to build the core of our lives around the pursuit of our vocation—or finding the right job—but our identity as a child of God.
Although our work can bring us joy and satisfaction, it can never fully satisfy us. No matter how ideal the job is, there will always be challenges and areas of growth. But when we build our lives around Christ, we can find meaning, everlasting joy, and peace in all that we do.
My journey in dietetics has just begun, and I look forward to growing in my field and helping others improve their health and wellness by eating rightly, and to bring comfort and joy to them through the work that I do. While I strive to give my best at work (Colossians 3:23), I’m also learning to ask God to help me fulfill my ultimate vocation by finding opportunities at work to share His love to those around me.
If you’re in a season where you’re wondering what you should do with your life, I hope you’ve found those three questions helpful! Keep seeking and trusting the Lord to lead you. God promises to give wisdom to those who choose to seek Him (James 1:5).