I was recently offered and accepted a job that I thought I wanted. In fact, I had prayed specifically for this job. I eagerly wanted to work for someone else and rid myself of the responsibility of running my own business – even if it meant sacrificing the success that came with working for myself. I wanted something ‘normal’ and God gave it to me! It was exactly what I wanted, and I couldn’t wait to get started. The offer had come easily as if only from the hand of God. I was thrilled – although something became unsettled in my spirit.
The uneasiness I felt intensified as I got closer to my start date. I prayed but I also rationalized that this was so specific to my prayer that it had to be God. Didn’t it? Yes and No. Let me explain. Yes, because God wanted to teach me something about myself. No, in that the job wasn’t what He had given me as much as the lesson in obedience that came from submitting to His will.
I am thickheaded sometimes, so I rationalized and debated obsessively – is this God dealing with my spirit or is this the devil trying to confuse me? First, God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He will not create chaos. We create chaos and the devil plays in it. If it’s like a fire, we light the match and the devil throws gas on it. If it’s like a flat tire, we chose the wrong road and the devil puts the nail in our lane. for “…each person is lured and enticed by his own desire …” (James 1:14, ESV).
Anyway, as I struggled with these feelings, I felt God reveal something to me. My spirit belongs to God. I am His. From the day I accepted Jesus Christ, my soul has been protected. My heart and mind, on the other hand, are very much flesh and therefore a battleground susceptible to attacks from the enemy. If I were merely struggling with this career decision in my mind or my heart, it would have been very different. As it was, my soul was troubled, and I knew God was asking me to give up what He had provided. My responsibility was not to understand but to accept and act in obedience. I did and I found peace.
What I had asked for was something to make me happy. It’s what I wanted. Notice a trend? There was a lot of ‘me’ and ‘I’ in this pursuit. It was a good opportunity with a Christian company, but even good things can be selfish if not pursued in service to Christ and to others. The career was a ministry but not the one that I have been called to.
It is a beautiful thing when we realize that God has called us as individuals. Ministry is not a one size fits all endeavor. Every Christian is called to a ministry that they are specifically designed to fulfill. My ministry involves writing, speaking, and coaching. Someone else has a ministry within the food industry or in retail. Whatever we are called to do let us, “…work heartily, as for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23).
Oftentimes, God gives us what we ask for and other times He gives us lessons and opportunities to demonstrate obedience. Sometimes, if we are very blessed, God gives us both.