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When a Job Is Just a Job

I was reading through the comments on Dawn’s blog post, “Are You Delusional?” and I found the conversation about jobs really interesting. Some people are working in jobs they don’t enjoy, but since it pays the bills, they find themselves there at least for the time being. Others think that having a job you don’t like is never worth it, and you should do whatever you can to find a new job and be happy.

I’ve had experiences with both types — a job I loved and couldn’t believe I got paid to do, and a job that I could do competently, but most days I just survived it, and certainly didn’t enjoy it. Of course everyone has a unique situation, and none of us can understand the specific calling that God has on the lives of others when it comes to employment. But never the less, here are a few of my thoughts to add to the discussion.

1. Like anything in life, God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.

I’m not sure that having our dream job is necessarily a guaranteed right for Christians. There might be things we learn through having an amazing job, but there might also be things we need to learn through having a job that isn’t the right fit or isn’t something we really enjoy doing. I’ve learned just as much about how to be a good boss from having a bad one as having a good one. It’s a cliché, but it’s also true — sometimes God changes our circumstances, but sometimes He changes us through our circumstances.

2. Maybe God is asking us to be faithful in a particular job.

I had a job that was hard for a variety of reasons, and even though I had the skills to do it well, I didn’t think it played to my strengths or what I was passionate about. Six months in, I was looking for a new job, but even after lots of interviews, God didn’t open the door to anything different. Looking back, I’m thankful because I couldn’t see far enough down the road to see what God would change. I was promoted and started to gain confidence in the skills I was learning. God slowly began changing my heart and my attitude about my job. It still wasn’t my dream job, but in being faithful to do the job God had called me to, I found unexpected favor and a glimpse of the purpose God had for me by keeping me where I was even though I was desperate for a change.

3. We’re more than our jobs.

It’s true that a full-time job is where we spend the majority of our time, but a job is something we do, not who we are. When I had a job that didn’t fulfill me or energize me, I found other ways to do that outside of the 40 hours I spent at the office. For a friend of mine, her day job allows her to afford to go to writer’s retreats, where she does what she’s passionate about — writing Christian fiction. Another friend started a freelance business on Etsy to do what she can’t do full time — be a graphic designer and design stationary and wedding invitations.

So if you’re fortunate enough to have your dream job, thank God for it every day. And if you don’t, remember that God can use even less-than-ideal circumstances to teach and grow you in your faith.

Copyright 2013 Ashley Boyer Hendley. All rights reserved.

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