The holidays are rough. Well, let me back up, they can be rough and not always because of the faults of consumerism, trying to squeeze everything in at the last minute or spending ample time with our crazy families. For many people, the holiday season is difficult because the only gift we want is a sense of direction.
“Lord, could you, uh, you wrap that one up and just stick in under the tree for me? You will? Great, thanks.”
If only it worked like that. Just say a little prayer and the vocation fairy would drop the magic desire in our hearts or text us the coordinates to plug into our maps. Ha! If only…
Too bad it is so much more intricate than that. Too bad I have no idea where to go from here. Too bad I am so far off.
Or am I?
Finding vocation can be difficult and so can discussing your “keeping my options open” stage with your extended family, but that does not mean that you’re far off. It also does not mean that you are wasting your time. There is so much more to our day-to-day lives than waiting for all the right pieces to fall into place. This Christmas I want to give you a gift (really, don’t mention it), albeit a small one. Take this piece of advice and run with it: you’re not really that far away from your vocation right now; you’re actually living it this very moment.
I know that sounds crazy and I know that you can’t give that line to Grandma Gigi, but it should give you some encouragement through this process and down the road. Vocation is not tied to a career or where you will be come June (or August), but it is inherent inside of you; you just need to find it. Vocation can be played out in a profession or in a slew of locales, but that is not the entirety of it. The details of your life can shout to you what your vocation is and who you are made to be. God did not form you in the womb for the sole purpose of being the Head of Relations of this non-profit in Africa working with refugees and diplomats to make lives better and share the gospel with them. Now, this may be a part of it, but God did not make you to do only this thing and if you don’t get the job there you’ve missed your calling; far from it, actually. God also made you to be personable and a great conversationalist. He gave you a heart for the oppressed and the unprivileged. You were given a relationship with Christ and a burden to share the good news of the gospel with those who do not know it. There may be a dream job, but that’s not your vocation.
You and you alone are who God called you to be. Careers will come and go, but your identity (in Christ and his formation of you) will never fade. That is what you have been called to do. You can be a personable conversationalist with your Uncle Jerry, who only knows how to talk about football and why he would rather eat fried turkey than whatever that stuffing was. You can show your heart for the unprivileged by sitting next to your cousin at the dinner table who is usually left out or just feels a bit awkward. You can share the good news with family members who do not know Jesus or those you stand next to in line during the post-Christmas return extravaganza. Vocation does not have to be expressed only in Africa; it can be expressed here and now.
“How does this help my job search,” you say? Well, when you know that your vocation is more than a job you should be able to take a breath, step back, and recognize that you’re calling does not hinge on one of the three “perfect jobs” that are available. Landing one of those jobs would be great, of course, but the rest of your life is not in shambles if you don’t. The Lord will use you wherever you end up and that should be an encouragement. Merry Christmas!
Jesus promised to clothe us, feed us and take care of us, what else do we need? There is no need to worry about tomorrow; there is so much already happening today. Allow the Lord to worry about where you will be six months from now and you focus on being who you were made to be today. Cling to the Lord and just be you, it is one of the biggest gifts you have been given.