Do you wake up in the morning dreading going to work? Do you live for the weekend? Is there an angst in you for something so much more in your profession?
I know all too well this feeling. Ten years ago I found myself with a Bachelor's Degree in Church Ministry, a mound of debt, and waiting tables at TGI Fridays. Talk about discontentment, frustration, and hopelessness.
Through my time there and other jobs that didn't quite live up to the title of "Dream Job", I learned a few crucial lessons. They were more than lessons; they were choices I had to make on a regular basis. They were choices that I fully believe prepared me for what God had next for me.
1. Choose learning over waiting.
You may not fully understand why God has you in your current job, but I can guarantee that you have something to learn. When I waited tables at TGI Fridays, I learned the value of hard work with little appreciation in return. It was a discipline that served me well as I continued forward in my career. If I did not choose learning, I would have squandered that season and, thus, would not have been prepared for what God had next. In each job I have had over the years, I can pinpoint very specific lesson and skills I acquired that have impacted me both professionally and personally.
2. Choose adding value over waiting.
When you hate your job and have the mindset of, "I'm just here to get a paycheck,” something begins to happen. You become distant, disengaged, cynical, and difficult to work with. This often hinders people from getting more opportunity and/or leadership in their current workplace. This can also negatively affect you moving on to another company or job. You'll have bad references and little experience to help move you to the "next thing".
Instead, what if you spent your time figuring out how you can add value to both the people you work with and the overall environment of your workplace? Think about the doors that would open if that was your choice over just trying to get by.
3. Choose joyful patience over waiting.
I believe how you wait affects what you are waiting for. Meaning, an attitude of discontent and frustration never set someone up for success. Instead, what if you chose a posture of contentment and joyful patience? This requires you to claim the truth that God is a good Father, He has a plan for us, and He will take care of us.
Think about this. In Scripture, David practiced joyful patience which set him up for success as a king. Not only did he have to wait 22 years to step into his "dream job" (which God promised to him), but he also had his current boss trying to kill him at every turn. Talk about a bad work culture. Yet instead of taking for himself what God had promised, he waited for God’s timing.
4. Choose prayer over waiting.
This may sound cliché, but it's so vital. And when I say prayer, I don't necessarily mean just praying for a new job. It's primarily to align your heart with God's, understanding what He's up to in the world and in your life. It's through prayer that we allow God to reveal things about ourselves, our gifts, our wiring, and our passions. From that, we can have a better picture of what job or career that God may be moving us toward. It's prayer that ultimately reveals if our motives have been to build our kingdom or God's Kingdom.
5. Choose stewardship over waiting.
How are you stewarding the responsibility that God has given to you right now? Are you squandering it because it's not enjoyable and not what you want to be doing? I believe that the way you steward what you have right now will affect what God allows you to step into next. Really, all the previous points can be summed up into this idea of stewardship… along with working hard and staying humble.
I love the story in Matthew 25 about the servants and talents. Each one was given a different amount from their master, and each one did something different with it. The servant who managed what he was given well was rewarded with even more responsibility and ownership. I can't help but see how this principle has played out over and over in my life.
Let me end by saying that you are never promised a "Dream Job," and you are never promised that work will be easy or fun. However, I do believe God has a plan to utilize your gifts and abilities, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. So how are you positioning yourself to step toward what God has next for you? Start with the five points above, and you may be surprised with what you find.