I’ve been meaning to give this one a good crack for a long time. It seems most of my friends (in their twenties) are dealing with the question my generation is knocking themselves out over: “What am I supposed to do with my life?” After reading Zach’s last post on where to go with his life, I thought the time and energy to type, type away would just magically appear and I’d get all my original thoughts off my chest about “work” and “our generation”. Then I came across this article, which does a very fine job of laying out all my “original” thoughts out there for me. The piece finally inspired me to put my own words down.
When our parents (most of us) graduated high school or college, they went straight into the work field. They (generally) weren’t concerned with their passions or dreams. They were concerned with making the rent, the car payment, the insurance, and the baby on the way. They worked their butts off and laid out the foundation for us to do whatever the heck we wanted. And that was the problem. We do have too many options, don’t we?
We graduate college with the freedom to just move back home with mom and pops. Then we can wake up every morning at 10am, grab a bowl of cereal, and spend the day “working” by sending emails and very selectively applying online for the jobs that we want to do. And then when we get a job, we spend the whole time we’re “working” instead “self-analyzing” whether or not this is our calling or not. We have a hard time putting our head down and pushing through the rigors of full-time employment. After a year, we usually decide it’s time to switch to something else…or at least begin praying and dreaming of something else. Something more effective to the Kingdom than what we’re already doing. The reason I know all of this? I fell right into all of it myself. And my cereal of choice was Fruity Pebbles.
I don’t really know the remedy of this. It seems our parent’s had it easier in some ways. Picking where to eat lunch can be a hard decision for me. Picking where to pack up and move across the country to for work…that’s like deciding where to eat dinner! But the luxury of getting to decide where to eat lunch in the first place…the ability for us to choose our vocation and our future is really a gift, right? Of course it is…if we choose it to be.
A theologian named Howard Thurman wrote, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” We don’t have to ask what our world needs. Let’s say a collective “thank you” to our folks for that. And I’ve always bought into the fact that we do need to ask what makes us come alive. But we also need to be reminded that it’s not all about us. As a wise counsel reminded me while I was writing this, “most of us have an entitlement issue.” We feel like we should be more fulfilled than we are right now, no matter what we’re doing. And yes, that even involves ministry at times. But because we’ve been given the opportunity to do whatever the heck we want, we need to take advantage of it right? We need to take advantage of the opportunity that God has laid in front of us today. I learned that full-on while reading this really smart and really simple article a while back, which reminded me, in a Seussical kind of way, “wherever you go, there you are.”
Closer to home, my wise counsel posed another idea upon me that we should all be asking: “How can I invest more significance and meaning into the work I’m doing currently?” That’s right. What you’re doing right now. How can you glorify God (not yourself) with what you’re doing every single day? Maybe it’s in pushing through something difficult, like Zach did when he hit the wall after the 20 mile mark in the marathon. Or maybe it’s in sticking your head down, just like your parents did, and gutting it out. Lastly, maybe it’s just in really listening to a coworker instead of listening for your phone to ring with God on the other line.
I don’t know what God’s calling you to do in your everday life. But I do know this. If God really does call in regard to something else, something bigger, pick up that phone and listen with everything you got. You at least owe that to yourself.