Horns beep furiously at the speeding compact, zipping in and out of traffic, carelessly ignoring the traffic signals and the safety of the unfortunate drivers in its wake. “I can’t believe I’m late again!” Lizzie fumes as she finally screeches to a halt in the parking space, furthest from the building AGAIN. “If it wasn’t for my husband with his last minute requests and my cranky kids I could get to work on time. As a matter of fact, if my boss didn’t have me working so late every night I might be able to get to sleep at a decent hour and wake up in the morning.”
Lizzie reaches her desk at 9:35 am frustrated and late for the weekly team meeting. She enters the conference room with dread, thinking, “God, I really hate this job. But how can I leave? We really need the money.” With a terse smile and a quick apology, she sits down–business as usual.
If you can really relate to this scenario, keep reading…
Identify Your Passion.
It is God’s will for us to have and to abundantly enjoy the life we have…now. This includes our family, as well as our career or business. If you are a full time mom, then running that household effectively is your business and God wants you to enjoy it. If you’re working in the marketplace, then God expects you to do that job with enthusiasm and be a light to others. If you are a business owner, then God wants you to run that business for his glory and be profitable. In other words, although every task associated with your chosen vocation may not be pleasant, you shouldn’t be miserable all the time. God wants us to live with passion. The challenge comes when we don’t really know what we are supposed to be doing, but we know we aren’t satisfied. Then what? The first step in resolving the confusion is to determine where you are.
If you are experiencing any of these six symptoms, it may be a sign that you are not operating in your passion:
- Ongoing, frequent tardiness – Tardiness has also been called silent rebellion. When people really don’t want to do something, they are often late because it’s a natural tendency to put off/procrastinate regarding things we don’t enjoy.
- Lack of enthusiasm – Sense of dread or depression when you are operating in that area.
- Lack of energy/drive – No strength or desire to do tasks related to the job.
- Envy – No sincere happiness for others when you see them enjoying their work or reaching their goals.
- Just getting by – You no longer have new ideas or creativity in that area.
- Lack of productivity – No lasting or positive results are seen in spite of the effort put forth.
Lack of Passion vs. Burnout
However, one word of caution is needed. Be careful not to confuse a season of burnout in an area that you used to be passionate about with a need to go into a totally different direction. If you have burnout you will experience many of the symptoms above even though you are working in your God-given calling.
For instance, a person could be working on a job that she was formerly excited about. The work was interesting and she felt it was meaningful and challenging. But, because of problems with people on the job, disappointments with how some projects turned out or disillusionment with management, she is no longer happy. A person in that situation may be doing exactly what she is called to do. She might just need to consider doing the same thing for another company or communicate to resolve those issues with the present employer. Or, maybe the dissatisfaction is coming from a need to expand. It may be time for her to step out in the same area, but as her own boss.
In this case, the passion for the work is there, but the person is experiencing burnout due to adversity. This person doesn’t need to change fields, but just needs to go to God for guidance and encouragement in order to persevere.
Identifying Your Passion
Finding out what you are passionate about is the key in determining what will make your life full of meaning and fun too! I have often heard it put this way, “What would you do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?” If you can answer that question, my friend, you are well on your way to identifying your life’s work. Other questions that are helpful in determining the vocation that God has called you to work in are:
- What are my hobbies and personal interests?
- What are my natural talents?
- What subjects do I find myself talking about constantly?
- What do I daydream or fantasize about doing?
- I have always wanted to do _____ but I just don’t see how it can ever happen.
- Doing this introspection is by no means contrary to seeking God’s will for your life. Do you realize that when you ask yourself these questions you are merely identifying the desires God has already placed in your heart? The bible tells us…
Jeremiah 1:4-6, New Living Translation
“The LORD gave me a message. He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”
Now God did not give everyone the same calling. In this instance, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet. You may be called to be an awesome property developer or a wonderful schoolteacher or even a missionary. However, the point is that God has given each of us a purpose and has formed us specifically for that purpose. Just as God called Jeremiah and set him aside for a particular purpose, He has also set each of us aside for a specific task.God has already formed and planned ahead of time for us to be passionate about a particular area or areas and less passionate about others. Let’s look at one more scripture that illuminates this point further.
Psalm 37:4-5, New International Version
“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
When we take pleasure in serving God and living for Him, we can be sure that He is the one giving us a passionate desire to do “this” or “that.” Be confident that the “thing” that makes you happy is God’s will for you (as long as it’s not illegal or immoral of course–ungodly desires come from your flesh!).
Don’t fall for the misconception that in order for something to be a “real” job you must be miserable doing it. Yes, your chosen vocation will require you to put forth much effort, but if it is God’s will for you, you will have the faith and grace (empowerment from God) to do whatever you need to do. Take some time this week to identify the types of activities that bring you joy or the changes you would like to make in your current situation to make it more fulfilling.