Purpose in your Occupation
How did you end up on your current career path?
We refer to our job as our “occupation”, a word that means “to be taken, seized or occupied.” This term has both negative and positive connotations. It can reflect an idea of an all consuming take-over, robbing us of time with family and friends, or, it can mirror being taken over by a passion for the tasks we set our selves to. What if work’s presence in our lives is meant to captivate a portion of our unique design? What if work isn’t supposed to merely be “detention between weekends”, but we are actually made to be occupied by our occupation? When we are operating within our design, our work tells a story of redemption. We should find a portion of purpose within our work. Our soul longs to be a part of purpose, and the benefits of showing up to work with that mindset pay dividends for us and for those around us.
Yes, there is “work-life-balance” to be measured. Yes, we can hide within our work in unhealthy proportions. However, truly walking in our design and bringing that design into our every day occupation, we believe, will also ultimately spill over into a blessing for our families.
“We like to think that we have chosen our work, but it could be more accurate to say that our work has found us.” Thomas Moore, The Economics of Soul
A parallel to Mordecai’s words to Esther as he challenges her to the task at hand, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
People often share stories of how they fell into their career or role, how their job came to be, or how they stumbled into their profession. It’s easy to find biblical narratives of figure after figure “finding themselves” unexpectedly occupied by leadership and work they never expected. And generally, all along the way, God is reassuring them, you were made for this.
Just like those great men and women of faith, we have the opportunity to view our current work through this lens. We can allow our work to “find us”, to see how God has placed us for “such a time as this.” What keeps you from seeing your work in this way?
I recently had the opportunity to interview a CEO of a large local credit union. I made a comment regarding being exhausted by moving from meeting to meeting, and his response struck me. He said, “I used to get so annoyed and frustrated with meetings. I had convinced myself they were a waste of time and slowed my day down more than anything. But I was so wrong. God showed me meetings are my work. Connecting with my team, getting updated on projects, reviewing stats, considering logistics, this was what my leadership was about. Once I shifted how I viewed meetings I’ve found myself showing up across the table in a very different way.”
Think about that aspect of your job that appears to be void of purpose, or perhaps you have labeled as a nuisance. Is there a way to see God in that part of your work? Is there lens that reveals the greater purpose of that task or time-taker? Perhaps if there is nothing redemptive about that portion of your profession you need to make an adjustment within what you are doing.
As our daily tasks occupy our time, talent and treasure, our work also offers us something in return as we connect with purpose. You can been “captured” by work. Your job can offer you on a journey that nourishes your soul. Your role matters in your own life, and in the lives of those around you. We believe there is purpose in your occupation. Let’s discover it together!