For years I was stuck in a mindset that placed an irrationally high value on ministry while under-appreciating God’s interest in using my talents, skills and interests to pursue His kingdom in a variety of alternate forms.
God has created a pretty big world out there, but many of us Christians have a tunnel-vision tendency to block out a huge portion of it. We lose sight of the sacredness of work, the benefits of education, the spiritual value of a career, the impact of our potential influence in the marketplace.
Here are five of the most entrenched mistakes that can tangle up your career path.
1. Over-spiritualizing your career situation. There’s nothing wrong with praying for direction when it comes to your job, but don’t get into the annoying habit of expecting God to do everything for you. This leads to a victimized, passive stance, waiting around for a sign instead of getting yourself mobilized. You can pray and fast and hang out the fleece all day long, but understand this: God is not going to hand over your life-long career path on a flaming silver platter. You have to pay your dues, fight for your life, and figure it out as you go, just like everyone else. Ironically, your spiritual growth will come mostly through the struggle in this process.
2. Ignoring what’s right in front of you. It’s great to believe God has some grandiose plan in store for you, but you’ll probably have to do a boat-load of grunt work to get there. Some folks want to skip all the unpleasant parts and get right to the end, but real life generally doesn’t happen that way. I remember once complaining bitterly to a wiser friend about the many shortcomings of my job. He listened patiently for a while, and then gave me the best advice ever by pointing out the vast opportunities I was overlooking because of my bad attitude. Don’t let your self-limiting ideas cause you to ignore the potential of right where you are today.
3. Being afraid of the big bad secular world. For years, I was surrounded with a sub-culture which had this notion that “secular humanism” was infiltrating the world, threatening our Christian sensibilities. Its evil shadow fell not just over corporate life, but also suspect were prestigious universities, art galleries, music venues, and pretty much any secular expression that wasn’t dunked in a certain theological soup. This shunning of higher learning and culture creates a Christian ghetto filled with fearful and judgmental souls who will never learn to navigate, much less infiltrate, the world. Want to change culture? Be part of it. Want to be an influencer? Get a decent education. Want to impact the world? Be engaged in it. This is salt, and this is light.