“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” —Psalm 139:16
We all want to be successful in our work.
Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses. It doesn’t really matter, because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.
Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the wrong work to begin with.
Not me. As a high school student, I knew exactly what I wanted to be—a nurse. My mother was a nurse and I wanted to be just like her, so I signed up to be a student volunteer at the hospital where my mother worked. When I told her the good news, she thought for a moment and then simply said, “That’s great, honey. You’ll make a wonderful nurse.”
On my first day, I eagerly donned the required red and white striped uniform and reported for duty. The head nurse welcomed me and explained that I would be checking each patient to make sure they had water to drink, magazines to read and a listening ear. That sounded simple enough. “Oh, and one more thing,” she continued, “Since we are short-handed, I may ask you to do just a few things to help the other nurses on duty,” she said. “No problem,” I assured her.
At that precise moment, a scream pierced the air! The head nurse calmly looked at me, smiled and said, “Could you check on that, please?” Surely, I had misunderstood her. “Now!” Taking a deep breath, I headed in the direction of the scream, praying that that it was nothing more than the celebratory cry of someone who had just won a million dollars.
As I neared the room in question, a bedpan flew through the doorway in front of me, landing at my feet. Furthermore, the bedpan was not empty. I decided right then and there that nursing was not for me, turned in my candy cane apron, and raced for the nearest exit. Mama was waiting for me as I stepped off the elevator. She smiled, handed me the cars keys and simply said, “See you at home.” Fortunately, I had a wise and wonderful mother who knew me well and from that day on, she encouraged me to be the teacher God created me to be.
Many people are living stress-filled lives because they have never sought and discovered God’s plan.
They are trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole—a painful and frustrating process.
What does fit is God’s plan?
In Psalm 23:3, David writes, “He leads me in paths of righteousness.” In this verse, “righteousness” simply means “right things.” The Shepherd has a plan for His sheep, and, unfortunately, so does everyone else. The difference is that God’s plan is filled with the “right things” He shaped and created us to do while the agendas of others tend to service their own purposes instead of God’s.
God empowers His plan, but when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. Soon, we will be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension. Don’t waste another day just doing the “next” thing—start now. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place—doing what you were created to do in this world.
You have probably heard the statement, “I climbed the ladder of success, and when I reached the top, I realized it was leaning against the wrong wall.” Not long ago, I came to a crossroads in my life that made me question the path I was taking in ministry. I asked God to either change me and the way I was doing ministry or change my ministry. He did both! Once again, I realized that God wants the highest and best things for my life.