I am in the mood for writing so I am writing again! This writing is about our God given talents. I am talking about our mental talents and not our Holy Spirit given spiritual gifts.
In 2003 when I graduated from high school I was a very confused young Christian. I knew God had a plan for my life but I did not know what it was. So I decided after graduation I would go work wherever until I figured out God’s plan for my career then go back to college/university to finish my higher studies. Like most important things in life that was the simple version. In reality I was also driven by fear, confusion, immaturity, lack of self-esteem, lack of money, and lack of will to do more in life than just settle for less (as they say). Anyway, after 4 years of working in a warehouse for minimum wages as a general labourer/forklift operator I finally figured out God’s plan for my life and so I went back to university to study mechanical engineering.
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What is Your Calling?
Your “calling” is a general term. As Christians we use the term “my calling” to mean “How does God want me to participate in church activities?” This is but only a small part of your calling, because your calling is much more than that! How much do you spend a week at church? May be a couple of hours? How many hours do you spend at work? How about, how much time do you spend with your family? Your responsibility, calling, toward your family is greater than the one toward the church. After all God has not called men to love the church but their wife as Christ loved the church.
A lot of people mix up their calling and their careers. They think, “My career is what I do to make money to support my family. And my calling is what I do at church.” This cannot be farther from the truth. You are called to honour Him in your work place, and therefore you are called to be faithful to the talents He has given you! As Christian men we are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church. As children of God we are called to live holy lives. As citizens we are called to be peaceful and obedient citizen. As givers we are called to give joyfully. As fathers we are called to lead and provide for our families. Your calling is not just something you do in church, because we are called to do and be many things. You can fail your calling in our area, but succeed in the other.
In this writing I want to help you figure out God’s will for your career (God’s calling for your career), so here are few tips:
1) What Are You Good At?
What do you excel at? What would you still do if you did not get paid for it? What makes you lose track of time? What occupies your mind even after you leave work? What excites and fascinates you? What puts a smile on your face when you head to work? What motivates you to learn about it? What makes you dream about the endless possibilities of what you can do?
There is a reason why I said “What Are You Good At” rather than “What Do You Like/Enjoy”. If I ask an average teenager in North America “What do you like to do in your spare time?”, the most common response will be “video games”. Yet, we have seen how many “men” have no clue what they are good at because they spent all years of their youth playing video games. That is why I ask, “What Are You Good At?” Many people do not know what they are good at. If you do not know, that is ok. The whole purpose of this writing is to help you find out. And there is a difference between what you like/enjoy and what you are good at. Because you will enjoy what you are good at, but it is not necessary that you are good at what you like/enjoy. Let me tell you a story:
When I was about 6 years old my dad bought me a remote controlled red Jeep truck. (He had four days off every 45 days when he was in the army. So when he came home he would buy my sister and I toys. By the time we were teenagers, my mom started asking us to start throwing these toys away! My sister had so many dolls they circled the bed room!) This was the 80s when things were made properly, even toys! So I was very impressed by the little details and build quality of the truck, but I was not very impressed by how it operated. So I quickly got bored of it and decided to see what is inside of it. How does it work? So I got a screw driver and sat on the carpet and started taking it apart. I remember the look on my dad’s face like he was telling me, “Take it apart, I don’t care, but don’t ask me to put it back together!” I got to the motor and I realized the motor was mounted transversely (T-shaped/perpendicular) to the rear wheels! I kept thinking, “How is the motor turning the wheels if its shaft is perpendicular to the shaft of the wheels?” So after a bit of a struggle I opened the little box that houses the gears and I was stunned—the “magic” was done using a warm gear! “What a BRILLIAN idea!”, I thought. (Ah, the mind of a child, eh?) It was my first time seeing a warm gear and I kept looking at it for few seconds trying to absorb the beauty of this thing that can transfer rotational motion 90 degrees!
Mechanical design is what I love and want to do. I am not passionate about engineering as whole, or about mechanical engineering as a field, but for mechanical design. Mechanical engineering is a wide field where you can end up doing many tasks, but I know that I want to do design. So when I went to university I knew exactly what I wanted to study, and when I graduated I knew exactly what jobs I wanted to apply to. And God is faithful and good and He will help you find a job that deals with your God-given talent if you honour Him and obey Him in regard to your career path.
2) What Is Your Family Good At?
Ask the same above questions about your family, because you have inherited their genes and so you probably have a mixture of natural talented inherited from your father and mother’s families. But notice I did not say “What does your family do for a living?”, because your parents, for example, could have chosen the “wrong” careers. Let me give you an example:
Growing up I noticed that my dad loves mechanical design and working with his hands, whether it is carpentry or fixing the car himself, of fixing electrical things, or doing house structural and aesthetic repairs, etc. He had a knack for these things. But my dad is an accountant, so what happened? Well, my dad loves science and math and he comes from a relatively poor family. So he decided to study accounting (a two years course) instead of say engineering (a four years course), because he wanted to graduated quickly, get a job, and start making money. And I have been seeing him for 30 years still building things in his spare time.
So I knew not to become an accountant like my dad (or mom; she was an accountant too), because I knew that even though my dad is an accountant he really loves mechanical things. So I knew not to choose his career. His passion for mechanical things helped explaining why I love mechanical things too. My point is that you should analyse what your family is good at, but not necessary choose their career paths.
3) What School Courses Do You Like?
School is a great way to know what your God given mental talents are, because school gives you the opportunity to experience a bit of everything you will experience at the work place. For example, I knew that I enjoyed science, particularly physics and math (especially algebra and geometry). Of course, if you put physics and geometry together you get a mechanical engineer/designer! I also knew I hated presentations so I knew whatever job I was going to do must not have me standing in front of others, so no teaching jobs! So schools are a great place to find your natural talents.
4) Know and Embrace Your Limits
Growing up I was passionate about Christianity, mechanical design, classical music, soccer and tennis, and drawing!
I liked Christianity but I knew I wasn’t called to be a pastor because I am very much not a people’s person (the more alone I am the more comfortable I am). So I knew it was not my calling to be a minister in a church. I liked classical music but music was not my thing. Actually, all my mother’s family play music and my dad loves to play music too, but I knew early on that even though I enjoyed it I did not have the passion to learn it. The same with soccer, tennis, and drawing.
It is very important to know your limits and embrace them, even your fears. For example I cannot stand the sight of blood or wounds, so I knew working in the medical field was not for me. It is important to accept your limits for two reasons:
a. The more you eliminate as potential career paths, the easier it becomes to zoom in on what you are meant to do. I thank God that I am not gifted at everything—imagine how difficult life would be if I excelled at everything!
b. When you know God’s will for your life and what is not His will for your life, it helps you accept yourself. It helps you appreciate and embrace your talents and the talents of others. See, God did not create us to be self-sufficient, and it is God’s will for us to have a godly and healthy view of what we can offer the world and what the world can offer us. Nowadays I can simply enjoy the music of Beethoven and the tennis skills of Roger Federer without me feeling as if I have to prove myself that I am a good musician or a tennis player. I am at peace with God and therefore with myself because I joyfully accept the talents He has given me and others.
5) Ignore Money, Job Security, and Social Status
I think the word ‘ignore’ is strong to use here but obeying God is already hard in this age, and the last thing you need is the worries of making money, finding a job, and social status to distract you from obeying God’s will, that is: pursuing a career that fulfills your God given talents. Let me tell you a story:
When I went to university I had no idea what the engineering profession entitled, how much money engineers make, what is the work place like, how easy is it to find engineering jobs, and so on. It was actually the end of my 3rd year before I had an idea how much engineers make, but I had heard, even before applying to university to study engineering, that finding engineering jobs is difficult. One day at the warehouse a co-worker asked me, “Why do you want to be a mechanical engineer? Why don’t you become an electrical engineer?” I answered, “Because I like mechanical things.” She said, “But electrical engineers make more money.” So I answered again, “But I like mechanical things.” She said, “There are also more demands for electrical engineers.” So I answered her again, “But I like mechanical things.” She did not seem to get it—money is not everything! Money is important—I would not take an engineering job that under pays me significantly—but money is not everything; it is not even the most important thing, nor is it in the top 10 important things to me. Let me tell you a story about money:
When I decided to study mechanical engineering a Christian family member asked me, “How easy is it to find a mechanical engineering job?” I answered, “Not easy at all.” He asked, “Then why did you decide to study mechanical engineering? I chose my profession because there are job opportunities and makes good money. Even though I would have preferred to study something else, but this job is a good deal.” I answered him, “I am not worried about finding a job. My job is to obey God in regard to being faithful to my God given talents, and His job is to help me find a job when it is time. I am not going to worry about Him doing His part.” He told me, “If you truly believe this then good for you.”
Anyway, years past and he kept moving from one place to another in search of making more money. A lot of people from his church are surprised by his actions because he has a good degree and makes a decent amount of money in any city, but he keeps moving from one city to another, and from one country to another in search of making a dollar extra. (I think he moved, and moved his family with him, 5-7 times in the last 10-12 years.) The last move seems to be the hardest and in a recent call to his mother he told her something like, “The Lord is teaching me lessons I would have never imaged. I am going through such financial hardship that I can’t sleep or eat properly.” His mother, a believer, was delighted to hear that God is working in the life of her son because money is not everything. What is having money in comparison to having peace of mind or health? What is money in comparison to doing a job you love, a job you are passionate about, a job you are excited to go to every morning?
6) Understand that the Educational System is Limited
The educational system in most countries—including North America—is limited and therefore limits your talents. What school courses should you take if you want to be a baker, a delivery driver, a waitress, a tennis player, a housewife, a missionary, and many other similar vocations. The truth is that school is not for everyone. A lot of people will encourage you to finish school and to waste years of your life and get in debt to study whatever for the sake of getting a whatever degree. More important than getting a secular degree is to know and embrace God’s calling for your life. May be you want to be a photographer but have no interest in taking photography courses—may be God has given you the talent of photography and you naturally excel at it. And you can succeed this way. But other times you have to get an educational degree to put your natural talents into practice. Who wants to be on an airplane where the pilot claims he has no training but he is gifted at flying airplanes! What if you found out your dentist never studied dentistry, would you let him fix your teeth? Probably not. Do you want to cross a bridge that was not designed by a qualified engineer? Probably not. Yes, the educational system is not perfect but it is not an obstacle that God wants to guide you around it; more than likely God wants to guide you through it.
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I want to say few things about God’s will:
1) God has a Plan for Your Life
He does. I remember when I was still trying to figure God’s plan for my life a friend told me, “Study anything! Become an engineer, a nurse, a teacher, or whatever!” Of course that is not God’s will for our lives. His will is not for us to study anything, work anywhere, marry whoever, get things done anyway, or behave anyhow. See if Christianity was just a religion then things will be categorized as either sinful or sinless (acceptable). So you actions can simply be based on them either passing an ethical code or not. This way doing any honourable job will be acceptable. But Christianity is not merely a religion: it is an intimate and personal relationship with a God who is our heavenly Father who desires for us not only to live holy lives but to live the best lives. John 10:10 says:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I can for example marry just any Christian girl from a good family and that would not be a sin, in the traditional definition of sin, but in Christianity sin is any disobedience. Adam and Eve’s sin was eating a forbidden fruit. Eating the fruit was not an ethical action of right and wrong, it was not a question of “Does this action hurt anyone?”, or “Does this action infringe on anybody’s rights?”, or “Does this action break the law?” But eating the fruit was a question of: am I obeying God by doing this action? And the simple answer was “No.”
See, Christianity is much more than what is acceptable and what is not. Christianity goes beyond that to find the mind of God to know not only what is sin and what is not, but also to know what is good, what is better, and what is best—because God wants your best. For example, I could have become a pharmacist, work legally, work hard, and make money to provide for my family and even give tithes to the church, and donations to the poor—this would not be considered an ethical sin. But God’s will for me is to be a mechanical engineering designer. God’s will for me is to exercise those God-given talents in my work place; that my work would not be a simply money making boring activity, but an exciting and dynamic activity that stimulates my brain, challenges me, and motivates me to go to work every morning in addition to making money so I can provide for my loved ones.
Your work does not have to be boring. The other day my co-worker and I were talking about our work, and I said “I love my job.” And he said, “It is so rare to hear someone say that about their job!”
2) God’s Will is Good
I grew up in a “Christian” family so I was pretty familiar with the new testament, but I came to Christ after reading the old testament because I finally understood who Jesus is after reading the OT. But because I was so focused on the God of the OT I somehow forgot about the God of the NT. Even though He is the same God but I, for some reason, was more attracted to God’s work in the OT! Therefore, I subconsciously pushed the person of Jesus Christ to the back of my mind. So when I was trying to figure out God’s will for my career I always prayed that I would obey Him no matter what His will was; I did not connect that His will had to do with my God-given mental talents. Then one day my aunt told me while talking about the topic of marriage, “God will not ask you to marry someone you do not love.” And that was the “WOW” moment for me.
See, until then I knew God is good but I did not understand that His will is a reflection of His character, that is His will is good too! How can God be love if He forces me to marry someone I am not compatible with? How can God be love if He forces you to do a job you have no interest in? But that is not how God operates. Food is good for us but it is also tasty; air and water are good for us but they are also refreshing. We do not eat food while trying to avoid tasting it! No, we enjoy it! It is the same way with our jobs: our jobs are not meant to be good only but enjoyable also. So if you like biology and want to be a nurse do not fear that God will call you to be a math teacher! If you like the road and want to be a truck driver do not fear that God will call you to be a basketball player! God’s will is good because He is good. And by good I do not mean only beneficial but also enjoyable.
3) God’s Will is Conditional
While God’s love is unconditional His will is conditional. God’s greatest goal is to have all mankind saved but even then the Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13) Not just everyone, but everyone who calls—it is a conditional promise. God has given us free wills. If you choose to go ahead and study whatever then expect that chances are you will miss studying the thing you are gifted at, because there are many career paths you can choose from and you are probably gifted at just a couple of them.
You do not have be a born-again Christian to know what you are gifted at and choose a career related to your talents. This God-given talent is universal and not something only Christians enjoy. There are many gifted and skilled people there doing what they love. But if you are in the same situation I was in—completely lost and do not know what you are really gifted us—then there is no one better to turn to than our Lord Jesus Christ.
You cannot make decisions without involving God at all then expect Him to go after you fixing your mistakes. And then we blame God for our mistakes! A couple of years ago a lady told me that God does not love her because He allowed me to marry her husband many years ago. So I asked her, “Did you pray before marrying him?” She said, “No”. I asked her, “Did you ask for His guidance?” She said, “No”. I asked her, “Did you bother to listen to Him and obey Him?” And she said, “No”. So I finally asked her, “What did you want God to do exactly?”
If you enroll in the wrong program, what do you want God to do? What will happen is that you will graduate in four (or two) years, thousands of dollars in debt, and looking for a job you hate! A lot of people criticized me for working in the warehouse saying I was wasting my time, but I was not. When I started university I was eager to learn, had some money saved, and I knew exactly what I wanted to study and do for a career! Let me tell you a story:
When I was working in the warehouse my neighbour, a Middle Eastern man, used to advise me to go back to school and I appreciated his advice because I know he was talking from experience. At the time I was working in the warehouse his son was in college. After 4 years of working in the warehouse and 4 years of going to university I graduated while his son was still going to college, because he changed his study major three times!
Do not just guess in life! Know what you are doing by knowing God and His will. Do not just think that things will turn out right, they will not! Seek God and His will—you will never lose when you trust in Him.
4) God’s Will has a Timing
This is the more hated topic among almost every Christian I have met. All Christians agree that God has a plan for our lives, but very few agree that we should wait for Him. And this does not make sense at all. Suppose that my mom promised me a very good meal that will be ready in 3hrs but I insist on eating now and go buy fast food then I will miss my mom’s delicious meal! And every person I have known who has given God a time frame to do His regretted it in the end. A Christian lady insisted on getting married by the age of 25, and she had a list of things she was looking for in her future husband. When she turned 25 she just married a man from her church that barely had any of the things she desired.
How foolish it is to give God an ultimatum! There were billions of people before me and billions will follow after I die, why do I think God will lose if I do things my way and according to my timing? God loses nothing when I disobey Him—I am the loser! A Christian friend asked me once sarcastically, “So you will wait for God in regard to your studies, then you will wait for Him in regard to finding a job, then you will wait for His will when you buy a house, and you will wait for Him when getting married too?!” I answered her with all seriousness, “That’s the idea.” How else am I supposed to make important decisions? What do I know?!
You know, when God spoke to me about going back to university, after working in the warehouse 4 years, I applied for mechanical engineering. I got an e-mail from some lady in the admission office telling me something to the like, “Good thing you decided to apply now, because we only accept high school transcripts that are 4 years old or less.” If I had not applied that year then I would had to get a new high school transcript, meaning I would had to repeat probably the last year of high school! Why do I have to worry about all those little details, and be an expert on everything, when I can instead simply obey Him in His timing?
Obedience in your own timing is disobedience. I heard once the story of a lady who was called to be a missionary in Asia at the age of 23 years old. But she decided to get married and settle down instead. When she was 47 years old she decided she had to obey God and go be a missionary in Asia, so she did. The trip was a failure so she came back and went to talk to a godly counsellor. Upon hearing her story he told her, “Ma’am, that ship sailed a long time ago.” God’s will has a time frame and it will expire if you do not act on it, but sadly most of us will never wait for it.
Make sure you wait for Him, and wait for Him patiently. I understand that it is difficult. It is difficult to be almost 30 years old and just starting to build my life, but it is a wonderful life. It might be humanly late, but it is meaningful. When I was working in the warehouse a godly couple sat me down and talked to me for about 20 minutes about how it is God’s will for me to go back to school. When they were done I simply asked them, “So what is God’s will for my career?” They said, “We don’t know. Ask God.” I told them, “That is what I am doing.” The problem is that most people have hard time trusting God, because waiting takes a lot of faith (or stubbornness as is in my case!)
There is a “Christian” Iraqi man I know who is admired by many because he is very driven. He is good looking young man, he is very confident, very smart and educated, and driven to success and getting things done. Recently I heard he is going to get married in a couple of weeks which was kind of surprising to me because he just broke off his engagement to a young lady few months ago. When I asked why he was suddenly getting married I was told because he says that he has got it all and the only thing he needs to do is get married! The world will tell you to grab life by the horn, to go out there and struggle with life and beat it, and to be smart and get what you believe you deserve. Even people in the church will tell you to “name it and claim it”, but our heavenly Father says in Psalm 46:10, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” How will God be exalted among the nations if you do not be still and wait for Him to do His work, and you keep running ahead of Him to do your work as if it is His will?!
Waiting for God in regard to your career will not end by you finding God’s will for your career. Even after going through the educational system and graduation (if your career choice needs the educational process), you will have to wait for Him to arrange the right job for you. What is the point of waiting for His will to study something then because of impatience work as something else that barely fulfills your mental talents?! Learning to wait for God is a good practice.
5) Discerning God’s Will Requires Your Spiritual Maturity
God’s work does not depend on your spiritual maturity—God’s works are motivated by His loving nature. God is good to us because He is good. The Bible says that “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) But your spiritual maturity allows you to recognize God’s loving works in your life. Sometimes I am in awe of how good God has been to me, but when I observe the lives of others I realize He has been just as good to them. The only difference is that a lot of people do not recognize His goodness to them. Let me tell you a story:
Years ago I had a best friend. Early in our friendship (9 years ago or so) she was “in love” with a Middle Eastern man from her country. He was handsome, tall, from a reputable family, his uncle was best friend with her dad, he was educated and had a “good” job. (I put good in quotation marks because it is earthly to think a job is good just because someone makes more money than someone else! Making money should not be called ‘good’. Doing God’s will is good.) He was quite older than her (I think 12 years older than her, and she was I think 19 years old at the time), but her parents pretty much told her that he is the “best” deal of a husband she will ever have. Being young and inexperienced in love she, I think, fell head over heels in love with him. He, however, was not nice to her. From what she told me about the way he treated her I recognized that he was not the right man for her, (or any other woman at that time). He belittled her, called her childish, told her that she was fat (she was not), made fun of her dreams and just did not care about her feelings. Anyway, she saw him a couple of times because he worked in a Middle Eastern country, but they talked on the phone. A year passed by of her knowing him and her family decided to go to their country to visit their family back home, and she hoped to see him there. In the months before their travel he reduced his communication with her, but she was still hoping to see him.
So for a month and half before the trip she worked out very hard to lose weight. Her mother also told her to straighten her hair because “curly hair is ugly”! (It is not! God makes no mistakes!) I advised her that it is ok to like a man but she should not have to work so hard to please him. He had to love her the way God created her. I also told her that such devoted actions should be motivated by God’s mind and not man. She was a very young believer at the time so she ignored my words. Finally, her family and her flew to her country and she was eager to see him. He did not come to see her, but her mom saw his mom (his and her family are neighbourhood friends) and found out he was getting married in a couple of weeks.
You can imagine the emotional shock that news did to her; she was never the same after that event. She became very angry and bitter and impatient (especially with me; for some reason she projected all the anger she had toward him on me). She wanted to take matters in her own hands from then on and not trust God anymore. She told me one day, “I saw this poster in the mall and it is so true because it said, ‘Revenge is the most powerful emotion.’” I told her, “No. Love is the most powerful emotion.” And continued to explain to her how losing the man she “loved” (but barely knew) was a wonderful thing and she should thank God that He–in His wisdom, love, grace, and mercy—did not allow her to marry such a man who did not love her or care about her, nor even respected her feelings.
See, both her and I looked at her situation but we saw different things: she saw a God who allowed her to get hurt and therefore He should not be trusted anymore, but I saw a loving God who allowed her to get hurt to save her from a greater pain of marrying the wrong man.
In pursuing your career you will probably face many obstacles, but remember that God is good and that those “obstacles” were put there by God to mould you, to shape you, to direct you to His ways. Be thankful for the good and the “bad”, but there is no ‘bad’ for us because “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) See, I can be bitter because I grew up in a torn country. I can be bitter because of the economic sanctions that were imposed on Iraq, but because we had no electricity most of the time I was forced to spend my summers designing and building things (rather than waste my time playing video games). So God, in His infinite love, used the situation my country was in to show me what talents He had gifted me with—to grow this love within me for mechanical things.
And by “all things” the Bible means ALL things; not just the good things, or the things I understand, or the things I like and do not mind! This means even the things people and this world tell you that are “bad”! Do you know what God used the most for my benefit? My low self-confident! My fears! My uncertainty of how to face life! My low drive for “success”! He used it to bring me closer to Him, to give me confidence in Him, to help me see and face the world the way He wants me to, to give me a drive for god-oriented success. God used my “weaknesses” not only to guide me toward His calling for my career path, but also to save me from a lot of heartaches. Even things like trichotillomania God used it to bless me, to protect me, to guide me, and to mature me spiritually. That is why I know when the Bible says “all things”, it means ALL things.
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A Message for Women
I want to say is for the ladies. Growing up in Iraq I saw many girls struggle with figuring out their God given talents, and that was mainly due to the fact that Iraq is a conservation society where girls are not given many chances to explore their talents as boys are. I want you to know that God is good and faithful. If you seek to know His will then He will guide you regardless of your gender or the society you live in. And He does have a plan for your vocation, even if it is to be a housewife. And when He shows you, you will know it is His will because the peace you will have will over shadow all man made doubts.
Not long ago an Iraqi Christian Facebook friend sent me a message telling me that she really appreciate my comment in regard to her studies. She had wrote on Facebook that she is sick and tired of her friends making her feel that she is not studying something important because it is not as difficult as their study fields. So I wrote to her in a comment that it does not matter what other people think of her career, because the only thing that matters is what God thinks of what she is studying. In her message she told me that she struggled all her life to find a career she likes and when she finally found something, her friends are making her feel bad about it. She said she started studying something she liked in Iraq, then she moved to Canada with her family and she does not like studying what she studied anymore. So she started studying something different here and just when she started to like what she is studying her friends are making her feel bad about it as if it is not a “worthy” career calling.
Women, just as much men and even more, struggle with find careers that they enjoy. A friend of a friend is $75,000 in debt because she studied three different career paths but liked none, and she currently works in a grocery store. I know that my sister and cousins struggled to figure out what to do after high school! My cousin studied to become a teacher for 6 years and she is $45,000 in debt and she does not like her job. A classmate once told me that she hates civil engineering and she is only studying it because her dad and brother are civil engineers. When I asked her what she really wants to do, she said “I want to be a makeup artist”! What she is passionate about and what is studying have absolutely nothing in common! But she is pressured by her family to study civil engineering and you can imagine how the mental pressure an 18 years old girl feels when everyone in her family expects her to do something.
Regardless of your family’s expectations, regardless of your cultures norms, and regardless of your own expectations God has a plan for you. You do not know what it is now, but you can know it in His timing. You cannot imagine it now, but you will be able to imagine more than it. You cannot fathom it now, but He will carry you through it.
A Message for Parents
Parents, do not worry about your children if they are waiting and trusting our heavenly Father. God is good. He is faithful and able and willing. He will work in their lives. God does not require them to do things, but to simply trust him. Do not worry that they do not seem prepared for God’s will. Part of God’s will is to prepare them. If they are trusting Him, then you have nothing to fear. But if they are doing all things the world (and you) expecting them to do but are not trusting God, then you should worry about them.
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How Does God Answer Your Prayer in Regard to Your Career Path
The question is: how do you know what to study? Suppose that you prayed, trusted, obeyed and waited; how would you know when God answers your prayer? To clarify few things, first, it probably won’t be a ridiculous magic-like miracle. I mean, you will not wake up one day and find a bachelor’s degree hanging on your wall! And you will not get an acceptance letter to a university or college when you have not applied to any school! You have to realize that our God is not a god of chaos and laziness. God does not want unqualified people to be truck drivers, engineers, teachers, musicians, doctors, mechanics, teachers, nurses, etc. The miracle will be that God will change you, prepare you. Before I go on talking about God preparing you for your career, let me give you an example:
We often times hear Christian couples say, “God healed our mirage.” But what does that mean? Did they just wake up one day having a complete memory loss that they cannot remember the hurt they caused each other? Of course not. God did not really heal their marriage, but what He did is that He changed them. Marriage is a relationship, it is not something you can touch and fix—it is an expression of who the married couple is, what they believe, how they think and act. So what God does is that He takes the husband and wife and makes them born-again: now they have the Holy Spirit and therefore they are new beings in Christ—they become spiritual beings and cease to think earthly thoughts–and because of that they think spiritually and act spiritually too. So the husband forgives the wife, and the wife forgives the husband. He loves her, and she respects him. He stops criticizing her, and she stops holding him to earthly standards, and so on.
It really is like having two walkie-talkies. When one cannot communicate with the other, you do not go out trying to catch the radio waves and fix them! No, you try to fix the walkie-talkie set because if the two equipment work properly then they will communicate properly.
This is the same way God is more than likely will answer your prayer in regard to knowing your career’s path: He will work in you, He will change you, He will prepare you. When God answers your prayer, it does not mean that you will not have to study or pay tuition fees. It does not mean you will find a job right away, nor does it mean you will get paid more than others. It simply means that you will have a fulfilling career mentally because your mind will always be stimulated by your work, and spiritually because you know you have obeyed your heavenly Father.
For me, I did not understand this. Even when God had completed His work in me and prepared me to go back to school, I still did not understand that it was time because I had always asked to hear from Him and therefore thought, “I will know when He speaks to me”. I did not understand that my career will have something to do with my God given talents, so even when I figured out what I wanted to study—namely, mechanical engineering—I still did not budge until I heard from Him. What happened is that for a week or two I was getting very restless because I had that “eureka” moment when I realized, “I want to be a mechanical engineer!” But I still wanted to hear from Him. So one morning after I opened the warehouse and made coffee, I sat in the kitchen by myself (because I liked to start early) reading the In Touch daily devotional. Then I started reading the Bible, a certain Psalm, and one verse just jumped out at me. I stopped reading then asked, “Is God trying to tell me something here?” And I just could not continue reading; it was as if I could not take my eyes off of that verse. That is when I realized it was God giving me the green light to go ahead and study mechanical engineering. (Interestingly, the verse had two promises: one was in regard to my career, but the other promise is not in regard to my career and until now I have hard time accepting it for some reason.)
God’s Love is Supreme
You can forget pretty much everything I said above and it will not make a huge difference because the only essential thing you need is God’s love because God’s love is supreme. Above I gave you few tips to help you evaluate your God given talents, but God’s love overrules all man-made rules. The reason I am saying this is that I do not want you to read this writing as step 1, 2, 3 then go try to figure God’s calling for your career. If you are still confused by what I am saying, let me explain better:
The tips I shared with you above were things I learned through and after God revealed His will for my career. I do not want you to think that I am a spiritual giant or a wise thinker that by my own analytical thoughts I was able to plan a good path for my career. These tips did not save me, but God’s love did. Our God did not say, “Who is this Iraqi immigrant? I am too busy governing the world to bother with him!” He did not say, “Let him grow up then I will consider his case!” Nor did he say, “Let him figure out what he likes to do then come to me!” Instead when I was confused He gave me a sound mind. When I was scared He gave me courage. When I was discouraged He sent me a friend who was a great source of encouragement. When I lacked motivation He became my motivation. When I had low self-esteem He became my source of confidence. When I lacked maturity He gave me spiritual maturity. When I did not know what were my talents He gave me a boss that discerned my talents and gave me opportunities to put them into practice.
What I am trying to say is this: do not worry regardless of what is holding you back because you do not have to cross your t’s and dot your i’s spiritually for God to do something good in you and for you. The only essential thing needed is God’s love, and it is not something you can earn because He has already given it to you for free. The same way God operated in our salvation—that it is a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God—He operates in you and in regard to your career and that is: based on love because He is love.
God’s love is the security we have in regard to any troubling thing in our lives–be it a problem, a need, or a God-given desire. I do not know where I would have been today, and for eternity, if it was not for God’s love. God’s love is the reason we do not have to worry about our future but instead can look forward to it joyfully and waiting excitingly to see Him do His good, loving, wonderful, and miraculous works in us and in our lives.
Finally, I will share these verses with you because they sum up everything I wrote above:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
And I say to you that no fear, no worry, no anxiety, no depression, no low self-esteem, no pain, no poverty, no discouragement, no lack of knowledge, no desperation, no lack of support, and no confusion shall separate you from God’s love in regard to your career path if you trust Him, wait for Him, listen to Him, and obey Him.
PS: I used this photo for the lack of a better alternative.
(Toronto, ON; winter 2012.)
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