We’ve all been there.
Life in a lifeless cubical world. Surviving the 9-5 vocational jungle. Juggling a bunch of disjointed dreams against the backdrop of reality.
Perhaps you know what it feels like to be a fish in an aquatic Pandora’s Box…
…like you don’t belong no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard the effort.
But as I mentioned in last year’s post, there’s value in not giving up, there’s honor in putting down the white flag in favor of the warpath…and there’s hope in maintaining a posture of perseverance, no matter how hard the challenge.
True, it can be arduous making ends meet and bridging relational divides amidst an unfulfilling environment; it can be difficult loving¹ people in a vacuum where nothing around you seems to give you that much desired sense of accomplishment and worth.
But truth is, at some point or another, we’ve all questioned our place, especially during [what seems like] a fruitless season, where nothing seems to be effective or bear influence.
Yet, I contend we don’t often help our cause at theses points of impasse.
Why? Because of the human tendency to put calling before purpose.
You see, our purpose is simple: to be heaven on earth…
…by choosing to love as Jesus loves…
…and to be an extension of hope through proclaiming the good news².
However, our calling is a bit more complex.
While our purpose boils down to modeling God’s love, our calling is how we model God’s love – an evolving expression, designed to influence different people at different seasons in our lives.
Thus, if our purpose is truly predestined (see 2 Timothy 1:8-9), then it should be clear how a) purpose proceeds calling and b) staying aligned to God’s will with a grateful heart is dependent on being completely satisfied in our purpose, regardless if we understand our calling (or how it should manifest in a given season).
In my case, when I applied this truth, it didn’t take long before my dayjob frustrations started making more sense. I had lost sight of my purpose within my assigned role, instead, fearing I was wasting my calling in a passionless, uninspiring position.
Yet, when I recognized my pride, flipped it through repentance, and returned my focus to loving people where they were at, my whole perspective changed.
No longer did I perceive my situation through an entitled lens…or doubt the handy plan of God on my life. No longer did I shrink in timidity or defeatism based on the incurrence of condescending labels.
Contrarily, I began to understand, in greater measure, how a) our callings aren’t meant to always align with what we think they should (i.e. our innate wirings, our creative passions, giftings, etc.) and b) the disconnect between where we are and where we hope to be doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in the wrong place.
In fact, I submit this wedge is something we all must taste at some point if we’re to truly appreciate and rely on the faithfulness of God.
‘Cause whether we feel relationally abandoned or hopelessly lost in an occupational wasteland, it doesn’t negate the fact God is always up to something. For He knows exactly what we need, when we need it…and will always stay faithful to develop the fine qualities He’s established/establishing in us (Romans 1:20)…even if our workplace environment doesn’t [seem to] value these things.
As for me, the only way I could rightfully deal with my workplace dissatisfaction was by embracing a holy satisfaction in my divinely appointed purpose: to do Father’s work His way…and to allow His Kingdom to reflect in and through my life (Matthew 6:33; John 5:19).
And I’m telling you…it wasn’t long after surrendering my aspirations in this way that I began to feel fulfilled within God’s placement again.³
So in closing, I encourage you, brothers and sisters, to not see your worth through what you do or value your calling ahead of your purpose. Rather, allow yourselves to be fully content on what God has purposed you to do, all the while, being faithful to pray into your calling…regardless if the heartstrings of passion are being presently plucked.
‘Cause at the end of the day, you’ll find when the two are in alignment, you’ll be primed for refinement.
And that, my friends, is a beautiful place to be.
1) Granted, love should never be circumstantial anyway
2) In addition to being disciple-makers
3) Sometimes, a return to basics with a slight twist of perspective is all we need to adjust the way God wants us to.
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Photo from motivationgrid.com & mosstotalfitness.com