Where Does God Want Me To Work? 5 Tips For Finding a Satisfying Career

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

It is often said (and has attributed to many different people) that “if you will find a job you love you will never work another day in your life.” While that sounds like a nice goal, the truth is that every job has its difficulties and at some point even the best job will feel like work. So the bigger issue is not finding a career that seems like play all the time, but finding a career that God has designed you to do that will bring the greatest satisfaction in your life.

The best book I have read concerning career choices is Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado. In this book he talks about finding a job and a career that God has uniquely designed you to perform. It is all about finding your “sweet spot” in life where your work seems to be effortless while accomplishing its goal. That doesn’t mean that it is always easy or fun, but that it is fulfilling and satisfying. It is the kind of work you enjoy doing and may sometimes feel guilty that people actually pay you for doing.

This first tip is the whole focus of the book by Lucado. The other 4 tips are how to apply what you discover to your life.

It is the kind of work you enjoy doing and may sometimes feel guilty that people actually pay you for doing.

A satisfying career … it is the kind of work you enjoy doing and may sometimes feel guilty that people actually pay you for doing.

Make A Life Inventory

Look back over your life and write down the things you used to do for the sheer pleasure of doing. If you are like me, you may find that there are many different types of activities that brought you satisfaction. It may actually be hard to see one activity that pops up over and over. But as you look at your list of enjoyable things, you might find a common thread that will help you see the types of activities you enjoy.

Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you call to mind those activities. Those moments of satisfaction may have been during previous work experience or it may have been when you were in school. Think about your time from elementary all the way through the time you finished formal education and write down all the great activities that seemed to inspire your life and you wished you could continue doing forever. Maybe your inspiration came during time away from school. Time with friends on the weekend or cooking dinner for your family. Write down those pleasurable times and activities.

When you start to see a pattern of satisfaction it will help you see that God has given you a personality that is satisfied by certain activities. In fact, when you see the things that bring the greatest joy to you, it might surprise you to discover that not everyone enjoys those things. That is because God made each one of us different and that He has a purpose for your life that is different than His plan for others.

Work Within Your Values

An area that is critical to job satisfaction is working within your value system. If you work for a company that you cannot wholeheartedly support, then you probably will never find complete satisfaction in your career. No company is perfect. You will always have to deal with flawed people. However, there are many places where you can work and not have to compromise your values and goals in life.

Recently I was in a nationally known hardware store. I needed a particular product that one of the workers wasn’t sure they carried. He connected me with another worker who was able to help me out. As my wife and I were leaving the store the first worker caught us in the parking lot to make sure that we were served in a satisfactory way. I could tell that his personal value system was based on serving the customer even if it meant sending us to another store down the street. He was able to stay true to his personal mission of serving the customer while also serving the company he worked for. He seemed content to know that we got the answer we needed.

Write Down Your Goals

Once you start to define what a satisfying career means for you, you need to write down your goals. What do you expect to accomplish in the next month, year or decade that will help you know that you are doing what you endeavor to do?

The first goal should be landing that job that God has designed you to love. It could be that God wants you to stay right where you are, but change your attitude toward the job you are doing. Or, you can stay in your current employment, but ask for a change of positions. You may need some education that will help you make the transition to your desired career. Your current job could be what pays for that needed education. In other words, don’t burn your bridges where you are. Your current employment is likely to be the key to getting you where you want to be.

Obviously not everything will be done in the timeline that you initially set for it, but if you don’t have goals then you will never know if you are moving forward. It has been proven time and again that successful people are in the habit of writing down their goals. The more intentional you are about having a written plan, the more likely you are to reach those goals and move towards the career that you desire.

Find An Internship

You may still not know exactly what that new job will be but you want to try the waters in a few different places. If you are just starting out on your job search, you have many internships that are probably available to you. Take advantage of those. Ask your parents, fellow church members, and college advisers to give you some recommendations on where to start with finding an internship in your chosen field. There are so many job fields that are represented in the typical church setting. As a young person without much work experience you may be shocked to know all the different departments that are needed to run a company. It is likely someone you know could help you get an internship in their company so that you can see for yourself if a particular job is right for you.

If you are already involved with a career and can’t take 3 months off for a full internship, try to find friends within your social circles who could help you investigate different jobs at their places of employment. This could mean taking a department leader to dinner and interviewing him for information about a particular job. This doesn’t mean you are trying to get a job there, but that you want to know if that job really would be the kind of work you enjoy. Of course, we all know that what people say about a job and its listed job description is not always exactly what the job entails.

Look For Satisfaction, Not Just Success

It could be that your dream job is not a high-paying, high-profile job. There is nothing wrong with desiring a job that does not put you at the top of the corporate ladder. Success should be measured by your own goals and what is needed to make you satisfied that you are accomplishing the job God wants you to do.

Do you have that list of goals for your career projected out a few years that I mentioned? This will be your standard from which you will work. Again, your written goals probably need to be adjusted from time to time, but you need to have something that gives you a basic plan. Revisit those goals regularly and make sure you are still headed towards that fulfillment that got you started down this path to begin with.

Success for you should be defined by your level of satisfaction with the career you have chosen.

Though these tips didn’t all come from Max Lucado’s book, I encourage any Christian looking for direction in their job search to read the book Cure for the Common Life. Even as a person in full-time ministry I have read the book more than once to help give me direction and reconnect me to what God has designed me to do.

May God give you clarity and direction as you seek to please Him with your career choice. Also, try to be sensitive to God’s working through your current employer. God wants you to grow closer to Him. He desires to have a personal relationship with you that extends beyond your salvation. Some of the frustration you experience in your current career is likely caused by God trying to draw you closer to Him. Learn what He is teaching you where you are, so that when you get to where you want to be in your job it will help you have a better daily relationship with Him.

Take a look at this article: How to Glorify God at Work

Resource: Lucado, Max. Cure for the common life. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. 2011

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Aubrey November 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Good piece for someone just starting out. What about someone older in life?

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Jack Wellman November 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Great question my friend. May I pray for this in your life if that is what you need?

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christy Hampshire December 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm

I need pray in direction for my life. I am 39 currently in school for billing and medical office coding. I was injured with my left foot in a motorcycle accident it is hard for me to walk or stand for long periods that is why I chose this field but I’m not so sure this is what God wants for my life ..I feel like God wants me to help people in some way but I’m not sure in what direction to go. iv never been interested in the medical field. I like bringing people to know Christ, to get off drugs. I was once addicted and Christ came into my life drug free for 3 years now!

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Casey S. January 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm

You could be an addictions counselor. A counselor that is specially trained to help people overcome all sorts of addictions. There is a growing need for these types of counselors, and that might be a field you would want to check into.

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Lissette February 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm

I too need to pray for direction. I found this article helpful. I am currently a high school teacher, but I feel burned out. The students at this age are hard to handle and disrespectful. I pray to God to help me in my role as an educator. Still, days feel long and hard. I feel very discouraged but this article helped. I need to pray for clarity and ask God to illuminate a better path for me.

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Jack Wellman February 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Thank you Lissette. That was so encouraging. My wife taught for 32 years, and teachers need our prayers and support. May God use you for His glory and I know you have and will still yet make a difference in some young person’s life. Teachers do that. Only later do the students appreciate or recognize that. Thank you for what you do.

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Kaity March 1, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Just now I was crying to God because I am not happy in my present job at all. This article really helped me to clear my mind in a way…I am a nurse by profession for 10 years already but the company I’m working with put me in charge for a health & safety manager position for 6 months now. I thank God for the new opportunity & for additional allowance though its not that big I know still its a blessings, but now I feel like I don’t really fit in for this job because I heard from other colleagues that I am not qualified because I am not an engineer & don’t have any managerial skills & they don’t give me enough support, though I passed the international examination recently that was required by the company by the help of the Lord, I still feel unsatisfied & no confidence at all. I don’t know what I really want. What I only know is I want fulfillment of what I am doing & I want to please God. Also, the organization I am working with has very tough managers that I may say not having compassion with other co-managers, all that’s important to them is to be the best and at the top despite of anything though most of the time its demoralizing, and that’s something I can’t tolerate. I feel like my heart is being hardened, my mind is being poisoned & my soul is being crushed everyday because of the unhealthy work environment for me. Hoping for your advise. Thank you & God bless!

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Jack Wellman March 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Just think of the eternal fate of these “tough managers” when Christ comes to judge the unsaved. Many are homeless, jobless, have no family, one of our church members lives in a van and we help him as we can. I would also talk to your pastor or one of the more trusted women you know in your church, and have her pray for you as I will. Some things God allows to share in the sufferings that Christ had to endure as Paul said, he wanted to share in Christ’s suffering so that he might know Christ better.

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Cody April 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Kaity, I stand with you. I have a great passion for making music and teaching it to kids. Although, this is only 30 percent of my current job. I think I do suffer from mental illness. I have been working at a local music store for almost three years now and I’ve tried to help the owner be creative in fun marketing strategies to get more students to take music lessons. It has not gone as planned. The boss is verbally abusive and turns down many of my ideas. I feel as if I’m going nowhere. On the bright side, with prayer, I have tried to start my own side business to get a better grasp of things. Now, the side business has hit a bit of a lull too and I really don’t know what to do. I feel mentally trapped. I know this is not the position the Lord would have anyone be in. I know my character needs a bit of work, but I think God would want me to move on. I do feel like I don’t have enough skills either and it sometimes keeps me from moving forward. I do fear that I’m projecting my own self assessment onto God. Yikes! That is unhealthy. I pray for you and anyone else in a similar situation.

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Leann March 12, 2018 at 11:24 pm

First of all, wonderful article; very helpful and comforting.

I honestly don’t do this often, but I’m lost. My body is breaking down and my mental stability is not that good, but there are few things I love more than foreign languages and teaching (besides Him and my husband).

Right now, I can’t stand the place where I work. The management bothers me, especially considering they don’t seem to care for their customers and their well-being, though I do and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I have a job interview tomorrow morning and I’m terrified. I feel good knowing there’s another option (though it isn’t in a field I want my lifelong career to be in), but I also feel bad to leave after only 3 months if I do get it. I have a family and I need to take care of them with the job I have that’s guaranteed, but I also need to take care of me too.

I need help. I know God is there, but sometimes it’s scary not knowing for sure what’s going to happen, and faith can be hard to maintain. I don’t know what to do and I’m scared to make the right choice. (Sorry I ranted for a while, but I feel like I needed this and I can’t handle it on my own anymore.)

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Amanda April 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Thank you so much for this post God really used it to speak to me 🙂

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Amos April 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

I place book match for a living and work for gambling web. I am very tired with what I am doing. I hope to find a legal way in doing things and maintain a stable income. I hope bro n sis out there can pray for me. I have been trying to find a way out for years. I did multiple biz but fail many times.

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Jack Wellman April 26, 2018 at 6:43 pm

I will pray for you Amos. I am sorry as it must be hard. Praying…

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BLESSING OKON August 9, 2018 at 11:28 am

Meeting and reading this article is a blessing to me. I had been a teacher for several years but had to resign to join my husband in mission work. It has not been easy but God has been faithful. The little work i’m managing in the area where we serve to assist the family is not paying well plus other job hazards. I earnestly need a new job for my children are entering University, but nothing is forth coming. This makes me to sometimes regret leaving my former work. I pray for God’s forgiveness.
From this article i know that i need to go back to teaching for that ‘s where i receives satisfaction. I pray God will give me a good one soon. Thanks for your write-up.

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Jack Wellman August 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Amen my friend. Well said. My wife taught the same grade for 32 years. She was a blessing as I’m sure you’ll bless each child in your class. Prayers for you for God’s help in getting back into what the desire of your heart is.

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Katrena September 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Thanks for the post, right now my mind is everywhere.. I dont know what my purpose . I have no talent nor any hobbies. I only work and come home. I’m a bus driver with three kids and cant take any job due to my kids schedule and child care. I just dont know what job field I should be in. but what I do know is I enjoy helping people. Please pray that God gives me clarity and direction thanks

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Alex November 13, 2018 at 1:53 am

I was blessed as a Manager position at my work. Everything was fine except from my personal weakness which is being so kind to everyone. It’s a hard job for me to produce a lot of yelling to push my fellow employees to get things done. I am really tired of being like this. Sometimes I just thinking of being isolated in a forest.

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