We live in a cultural moment I recently heard described as a VUCA world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. And in the midst of this complexity, the culture around us has developed some powerful myths about vocation, work, purpose, and personal worth. I believe there are four myths that contribute to this sense. Here are four truths to refute them.
You should pursue your passion and find your dream job.
Dream jobs don’t exist and pursuing your passion is a poor criterion. Social scientific research suggest “passions” evolve over time and they are sometimes divorced from natural gifting. I contend that God cares little about your “impact” but cares a great deal about your character. He cares that you are faithful, obedient, and a good steward of that which he has put before you, whether in your “dream job” or at Noodles and Co.
You have to figure out your calling now, quickly, and completely.
Calling is never figured out. Rather, it’s revealed over time through experiences and taking risks. Calling is understanding who you are in Christ and bringing that to whatever assignment God gives you. Calling, or vocation, transcends location and occupation. And it is never a straight line: The journey of calling is filled with deep valleys, many cliffs and a few mountaintops along the way.
God’s will for you is a particular job, house, city, or spouse.
In chapter five of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is radically different criteria for discerning God’s will than trying to uncover some divine direction in every decision. Can I be holy, can I be joyful, prayerful, and grateful? This is the will of God.
Your worth is determined by your performance, accomplishments, and the approval of others.
The truth is that your worth comes solely from who you are in Jesus Christ. Many of us are ambitious, and ambition is a good thing. But the minute you place your own sense of worth in your accomplishments, you set yourself up for disappointment. You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be who God made you to be if you are willing to steward what he gives you.