I’ve always believed I was born with big dreams in my heart. I’m sure some were accumulated along the way, but large aspirations and dreams have always seemed to be present within me. It’s these dreams and lofty goals that I feel make up part of who and what I’m called to be. I was in Christian radio by 16 (shortly after feeling called to ministry), hosting my own radio show by 18, owning my own company by 19, and in full time ministry at the same age. Am I proud of my accomplishments? Yes. But I don’t throw these things out so I can be patted on the back; I list these things because they’ve been both my calling and my career for many years. It’s important to distinguish between the two, because they can be very different. A calling is something you’re called to, you feel passionate about, you love doing, and that brings you life. A career can be the same thing, though many times isn’t. A career is how you make a living or, rather, the vehicle by which you’re able to continue walking out your calling.
While I have a hunger to run after my passions, I’ve also stopped to equip myself in helping others achieve theirs. This led me to training in this arena, and ultimately certifications in “dream coaching” and “life coaching.” I’ve been a dream and life coach for over three years now and love it. I’ve seen people step into the destinies they’d always dreamed for themselves but didn’t know how to make possible. This, on several occasions, has also led to a career change for them as well. It’s important to note that how you view the passions you carry and the dreams you have will significantly alter whether you steward them or bury them. Many times we view the dreams we have as worldly or secular. Many are not aware it could be possible to have a dream in the business world or media world that is as important as preaching behind a pulpit or doing mission work overseas. Jesus says we were made in God’s image, carrying a temple of both flesh and spirit. We were made in both aspects. For those of us who have received Jesus, we carry the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us. This presence of God, the one and only, can be manifested through us in every possible way and in every possible realm of influence. What does this mean for us as Christians? It means, as the Bible says in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” We are both spirit and flesh as humans, carrying both a divine and earthly nature. Everything we do, we do as a spiritual act because we are spiritual beings. This means as long as we do something in Jesus’ name, it can be an act of worship. Washing dishes, raking leaves, or taking a walk can be an act of worship if our hearts are on him and we are doing it in his name.
The things that bring you joy and bring life, even if they’re outside of the church, are many times the Lord’s doing.
There’s a very popular book called The 7 Mountains of Influence by Bronwyn O’Brien. The message of the book is that in order to change the world, there are seven mountains of influence that God wants to permeate: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government, Media, and Religion. The main idea here is that each one of us is called to a specific mountain, or several of these specific mountains, to bring influence. The idea I believe God wants us to get is that the passions we carry, even the one’s we’ve thought are worldly or not Godly, often times are Godly. If you have a passion to be a professional basketball player, a stay at home mom, or the world’s greatest plumber, these are all passions God has very likely placed within you to walk out. The things that bring you joy and bring life, even if they’re outside of the church, are many times the Lord’s doing. God hasn’t called everyone to serve in the church or stand behind a pulpit. God has called us all to be ministers in every sphere of influence for his glory and kingdom! Understand that you are called to a specific mountain of influence, so the question isn’t whether or not what you’re passionate about is of God; the question is, how can I use this passion I have for God?
If we understand that our careers and our callings can both be used to bring Godly love and change to different spheres of influence, whether your career and calling coincide is irrelevant. Yes, it would be ideal for them to be one in the same, but all of us don’t get the opportunity to have them be the same. For example, when I moved to Texas to take a job as a young adults pastor, it was only part time. I knew I was called to speak to the 20 and 30 year olds of my generation, but the church couldn’t afford to bring me on full time. I knew God had called me directly to serve in that capacity, but I wouldn’t be able to do it and fully pay my bills as well. So, I got a part time job cleaning pools in the sweltering heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter. I dodged dog poo as I entered back yards, pulled out dead animals as I’d come across them, and often times run into snakes or scorpions. Did I enjoy my job? No. But I counted the cost of the Gospel and the people group God called me to. I knew that the sacrifice would be well worth the outcome of God’s presence and fruit in their lives. It was a season of being in a career that wasn’t life giving to me, but it was for a calling that made it worth it. The difference is that when you have a heart posture that says yes to the career God places in front of you, there will come a time when the cost you paid in that career sees your calling become a reality. It is good to dream, and putting together steps to help your calling become your career is ideal. Start planning now on how that could become a reality. There is both a time to dream and a time to be responsible. Most often, you’ll have to walk out the “responsible” to make your dream become a reality. When is it good to dream and when is it good to be responsible? Your own well being and needs come before your dreams, and, if you have a family or children, that comes before your dreams as well. However, if you plan well enough and your dream is intentionally made a priority, it is extremely possible to do both. If your work can’t be your calling, be sure to make time for the things you are passionate about.
If your work can’t be your calling, be sure to make time for the things you are passionate about.
Callings and careers, though different, can be one. Should your calling be your career? I think if it can be done, then emphatically, yes! A pastor once told me, “If you can find something you love to do, are good at, and can make money at—that is the sweet trifecta.” Many times we have to have a career in order for us to finance our callings; sometimes, however, we don’t. If you can make a career in the very thing you’re called to influence and bring God into, going to your job or career every morning would be quite a life giving and enjoyable experience. One character from the Bible who started out with a different career and calling is that of David. Growing up, his career was as a sheepherder, but the destiny and calling over his life was to be a king. The career helped mold his maturity, develop him, and help him become a loving, humble king. Once he eventually became king, it’s important to realize that his career and calling became one. Ruling as king became his career as well as his calling. For Jesus, his career never merged into his calling. For over thirty years Jesus was trained to be a carpenter, born into the family business. It’s most likely that anyone who knew him in Nazareth probably knew him as a carpenter. This was his background and training, but it never coincided with his calling. It’s possible to do both, and it’s possible your career and calling never coincide. Either way, it’s important to have both in your life, to understand a healthy balance of both, and to seriously consider how to make your calling a reality. It might be that your career is the vehicle by which the calling becomes accomplished, and it might be that what you love to do also becomes your career. The most important part of it all, as Colossians says, is to “do it unto the Lord.”