The Golden Life [mandy]

I remember sitting in chapels or sanctuaries or classrooms and hearing the speaker ask, “Why do you get up in the morning?” The question usually jettisoned a noble sermon or lectures. Usually, it ran along the lines of: God’s love should be the driving force for all your activities, thoughts, words, etc. That should be the driving motivation.

But oftentimes it isn’t.

Oftentimes, what gets me out of bed is one simple reason: I am striving to be a responsible adult. I have a job. Several jobs, in fact, and if I want to pay off my school loans, I had better get down to business. I have a dog I need to walk every morning, lest she urinate in her crate and I have to clean it up later. And, of course, there is the age-old desire to take a shower and not look like Medusa.

Does this make me any less of a ‘good’ Christian? I don’t think so. I don’t want to compare myself with the challenge of the person I ought to strive to be every day, which the speaker was encouraging me to be. But I want to be honest.

Honestly, I think I’m challenged to be someone or to do something that is beyond my control.

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For instance: I heard growing up and while at school and college to pursue a career that I would really love. That I would feel satisfied in. That would be a job what God wants me to do.

It’s a wonderful idea. But I don’t think it’s practical. I would guess that a wide majority of young boys growing up want to be professional athletes, but they’re not going to be. Perhaps it’s completely out of their control. Like a six-foot high school sophomore wanting to be a jockey. He can’t have his wish, (unless, maybe, he can race a Clydesdale). I used to think that God had a specific career He wanted me to pursue. But I had no idea what it was. I felt like Enigo Montoya in The Princess Bride trying to find the hidden door, closing his eyes and holding his sword point aloft to try to find it.

Therefore, I have come to a conclusion: There isn’t one career path out there for me. I am a technical writer. I edit manuals and design e-learning courses. It’s not glamorous. Often, it’s not fun. But it’s not wrong to have a career you dislike. Our culture tells us that if we don’t feel “fulfilled” in our line of work, then something is wrong, something is missing, something ‘made for us’ is out there. I knew a principal of a school who quit his job because he thought he was made for something ‘better out there’. Meanwhile, his family went on welfare while he pursued his dream. I still haven’t heard if he’s found that dream job. That’s not being a responsible adult. That’s chasing a dream, a whim, that might not exist.

Work is hard. It’s not always fun. But we have it for a reason: To earn a living.

I feel like this has boiled up inside me from having the well-intentioned but misdirected burden set upon myself and many others to wake up in the morning to a golden life that I can’t make exist.

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2 thoughts on “The Golden Life [mandy]

  1. Naomi (wife) and I have been talking about the concept of vocation over the past couple weeks. One of the things I find interesting is that job-searching, career-hunting it such a weighty thing for this generation. In some regards our cultural definition of freedom (you can do anything you want to do) is debilitating. To some degree I feel like workers of yester-year were just content to work in general and weren’t plagued with these 1st world, 21st century problems in that regard.

    But I’m still 50/50 on the topic. I think there is an important piece of an individuals design that is God given into how they fit and serve in the world (family, community, society) around them. Dreaming in the right context is needed. We can sell out and not be courageous, that’s for sure, and then it eats away at us little by little where we choose superficial safety over calling. (This could easily be linked to serving wither God of Mammon on an identity level).

    However, on the other hand, the hand that doesn’t get talked about much (the stuff you are talking about), there is an important element of needing to do at times what you don’t want to do for a greater outcome… something akin to faithfulness.

    The truth that trumps, not dismisses these vocational searching for all of us, is the incarnation, is God /with/ us today. In the vein of Brother Lawrence, there can be routinely boring work that isn’t filled with dread because of practicing the presence of God. Peeling potatoes can either be an intimately spiritual thing, or can be a vacuum of vocational fulfillment.

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