I just came off a weekend with some wonderful people: my little sister, Sara, and her fiancé (my future brother-in-law!), Jeff. We talked about many things and of course at some point the conversation turned to our callings in work, as it often does when you are a group of twenty somethings.
I think the years in your twenties can be multiplied by 7, like dog years. You experience life so quickly and furiously in that post-college time. You are forced to absorb and learn at a highly concentrated level. From 22 to 27, so much can change, and with it, your perspective on most things. I realized this as I noticed so much growth in my little sister. Who was this 24-year-old person on my sofa? And I felt this about myself too. My perspective at 24 was so different from what it is now, at 27. Especially in the area of work and our calling.
When I was 24, I was in a job that was not a great fit for me. Not terrible, but not great. But the “not great” part was all I focused on. I was very anxious about my job and very restless for the next thing. I wanted to find out exactly what my calling was and do only that. I thought if I found the job that was my calling, I would love it and jump out of bed every morning, even on Mondays.
I’ve felt this way for most of my twenties. Even when I got a new job that was a much better fit for me and that gave me more joy, I have prayed that God would show me exactly what he wants me to do and give me the courage to do it.
A few months ago I began reading a book called The Call by Os Guinness. I loved the title and decided by the time I finished it, I would have a clear picture of God’s will for my life. This was going to be great. Then, I read this paragraph and it’s basically all I’m thinking about right now:
“…it is easy to become spoiled if we concentrate on the core of our giftedness—as if the universe existed only to fulfill our gifts….We live in a fallen world and the core of our gifts may not be fulfilled in our lives on earth. If there had been no Fall, all our work would have naturally and fully expressed who we are and exercised the gifts we have been given. But after the Fall, that is not so.”
When I first read that part of the book, I fought it. No, I thought, I will “arrive” one day. I will discover my perfect calling. It’s here, and I’m going to find it.
But what if it’s not? What if things fell and now they are broken? How quickly I forget that. How quickly I get discouraged and wonder why I don’t feel content or why work is so hard sometimes. Maybe it’s because it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s to remind us that things are broken here.
I am, shockingly, beginning to find comfort in this thought. It carries over into all areas of our lives. We scramble for perfection, peace, clarity and happiness, but are they here? Sometimes, yes, but also sometimes no. And they’re not meant to be. Eternity is in our hearts, so we long for it everywhere. But when we don’t find the wholeness here on earth, we are forced to look forward and upward. The brokenness is a promise for the whole that is coming and when I see it that way, it doesn’t lessen the longing, but it does sink in the hope.