Leaving a “Dream Job”: 5 Lessons on Living Intentionally
There's something so appealing about the idea of knowing and pursuing your calling.
At 20, I had earned my Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and at 21, got my first permanent, full time job handling social media marketing and content writing for an international tour operator.
I was constantly reminded by those around me that I was living the life. Part of my job required me to travel across several countries and numerous cities in Asia and to also represent the company across North America. I stayed in 5-star hotels, private villas, and almost emulated this Instagram-worthy lifestyle everyone seemed to put on a pedestal.
And honestly, I had a never-ending drive for more, mixed with the popular tendency to increase production and intensify involvement. Having a 9-5 didn’t stop me. I balanced handling clients for my social media business, and covered each glamorous event to the next as a freelance writer.
This story has always been a part of God’s plan for my life, but it certainly isn’t my true calling. I enjoyed what I was doing, but I struggled to find contentment and joy in life. Without question, life's daily demands can cause you to constrict your vision, and without a vision, you lose sight of what's really important. Have you asked yourself what is important to you recently? What do you value? What are your fears? If you let go, what's the worst thing that could happen?
Certainly, I have feared letting go of the job security (and the perks), allowing the probability of myself failing, stumbling and falling; but I wanted to open my hands to what God will allow in my life.
We all want to know that we're on the right path. And that's what a calling really implies — it's more than a job or task. Whether your primary work is in the professional world, the home, or some combination of both, we all desire the assurance and purposefulness of being able to say, "I was created for this. I'm doing what God wants me to do.”
I'm especially goal-oriented, so the idea of knowing exactly what God wants of me is pretty appealing. If God had sent the 23-year-old me a memo detailing his practical goals and expectations for my life, I might have jumped for joy. Over time, I've learned that that's not really how God works.
New beginnings have their delightful moments and their unique challenges, and as I enter this Fall season, a new job is underway. Has your soul not been on fire lately? Consider these 5 things before throwing in the towel.
Discover your God-given purpose.
When you clearly know your life purpose, it becomes a mechanism that allows you to focus more clearly on what matters most to you. Ask God to show you the things that move you and make a list. He is completely able to reveal your purpose to you, and He will as you diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Your purpose is not just about you; it’s about what God wants to do through you.
Recognize your passions.
Passion becomes the fuel that propels you forward in expressing your life purpose, often in extraordinary ways beyond anything you would have considered. If I could ask you what makes you angry, joyful, excited or passionate, what would you say? Take note of when your emotions are moved. I get fired up when I hear about the degradation of the marginalized. When someone tells me a story about loyalty, I am deeply moved. An exquisite arrangement of words on a page fills my heart with passion. A story of someone’s heartbreak grieves me. Talking about God stirs me up. These passions point in the direction of my purpose of communication about things that deeply impact people on an intellectual (even emotional or spiritual) level.
Living a purpose-driven life gives you the priority to not only survive in the world, but to thrive. Fulfillment for me comes from knowing that I am doing what He wants me to do. Are you open to change in your life? Are you willing to risk? Are you flexible enough to innovate? Are you willing to tolerate the sheer possibility of making a massive change in your direction for life?
Nothing is happening on earth that brings a surprise to heaven. Things that seem altogether confusing, without reason, unfair, even wrong, fit into the divine radar.
Pray for discernment.
We live in a world where a “make me happy” god is destructive to our joy and freedom. If we are constantly bound to the circumstances we believe we need in order to be joyful, we create a paralyzing insecurity that traps most of us in enslaving fear. When money is our objective for happiness, we live in fear of losing it. When fame is our aim, we become competitive when others upstage us, which makes us envious. When power and influence drive us, we become self-serving, which makes us arrogant. All these pursuits fly in the face of contentment and joy.
The change has to be an at-peace decision.
Accepting God’s will in your life may not be what you have wanted or chosen. Although it may go against your own wishes at a certain time, you cannot resist His compelling, all-powerful prompting. Although peace is an emotion, I have found it wonderfully reassuring as I've wrestled with the Lord's will. This deep-seated, God-given peace comes in spite of the obstacles or the odds, regardless of the risk.
With Fall now here, so are the changes. God has fulfilled the desire of my heart, and I am privileged to begin a new journey handling communications and working for the provincial body that provides leadership and support to housing providers and other stakeholders through programs, services, educational opportunities and advocacy.
I’m now on the part of my quest that I’ve dreamed about for so long — to be a voice for those unheard and ignored, to drive the online initiatives that provide leadership and support to members in creating and supporting a high standard of affordable housing throughout British Columbia, and to be a participant in the development of policy and programs at all levels of government.
So if you feel like you’re still in that waiting and wondering phase, think of what fires you up and how that can be used to be a light in this dark world. We're all in this together, and I'm right here cheering you on too.