A tip we forget in planning our careers

Posted on August 19, 2010

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When it was invented, the first pencil did not determine its purpose on its own. The inventor did. We are not pencils but our experience is similar. To determine our career paths, of course we have to consider what we want to do. Above that, however: what does the Maker will for us?

God is not a bitchy boss who commands His employees to do this and do that without considering their likes and wants, and the careers paths they want to plot. He respects our wants. After all, this is the God who asks, “What do you want me to do for you” (Mk. 10, 51)? 

We have our own desires: who we want to be, what position we want to attain, what role we want to play in the world, etc. All the more, then, should we subscribe to the will of God and not just ours.

Now that doesn’t make sense, does it? 

It will make sense once we realize that our eyes are muddied. The eyes by which we say, “I see clearly what I want,” in fact cannot clearly see. Our eyes are muddied by distractions, by inordinate attachments, by illusions that we think we desire but not really. Only God probes us clearly (Ps. 139); only God can make us see (Mt. 10, 52).

What will make us happy? What will give us peace? What will give meaning not just to our lives, but to the lives of others through ours? What will make our existence count?

We cannot determine this simply by looking at a list of companies and comparing salaries and benefits. We also need to talk with the One who caused us to be.

(Originally posted on March 3, 2008; re-posted and updated in reaction to the New York Times article ‘What is it about 20-somethings?‘ The article talks about emerging adulthood, a distinct psychological life stage which renowned psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett is pushing his field to recognize. Following adolescence, emerging adulthood is said to be characterized by “identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between and a rather poetic characteristic he calls ‘a sense of possibilities.'”)

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