When I was in my last year of college, I was so excited to graduate and start working. I had worked really hard to get that degree, received a job offer, and now all the hard work was beginning to pay off. There was a time frame in between when I graduated and when I started my job. During that time, I got more and more excited and anxious to work at a place I had wanted to work at so badly. People would ask me that million dollar question when you graduate, “So what’s next? Do you have a job lined up?” And I could always feel my heart swell and eyes get wide as I answered them. I was so proud of myself. I was so proud of this opportunity. I was so proud of my job.
Like I mentioned, there were a few months of time in between my graduating and starting my full time position. This period of time proved to be quite the growing experience. While I was excited to tell everyone where I worked and what I did, I slowly began to allow that to define me. I mean, to me this seemed like a really big deal. I wanted my career to be a major part of my life. What I didn’t realize is how easily that idea of my career had crept into the forefront of my mind at all times and became my identity. My career became my passion. My career became my purpose.
Then one day I felt God ask me, “Angela, if I asked you to give up your career, would you?” I sucked in my breath. “Uh…..” That is when it really hit me. My career and this idea of what my future would hold while on this path was the focus of my life. It had come and sat on the throne of my heart and replaced the One that truly belonged there.
I think that this happens a lot more than we realize. Our priorities get out of balance and we place importance on things that really shouldn’t take precedence over other things. We can find our identity in our work, our salary, our possessions, our children, our significant other, our friends, our looks, our title, and even our ministry. We can let those thing define us and how we measure our self-worth, but all of those things can fail us. And what do we do then? How do cope after the very thing that we allowed to define us lets us down or blows up in our face?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2
God never intended for us to place our identity in those things. Each of those things are great things that we get to experience and allow to enhance our lives. I think a lot of times we may think that because we aren’t bowing down to golden calves that we don’t face the temptation of idolatry. What I have come to realize for my life is how easily I can replace God with something that I am placing my trust in rather than Him.
So that day that God asked if I would give up my career I made a choice. No, I didn’t quit my job. But I decided to not allow my career to define me. I decided to not measure my self-worth based on where I work or what I do. I chose to hold my career loosely with open hands. God gave me a gift and he placed it in my hands to use. So I will continue to hold that gift with open hands. God may choose to leave it in my hands. Or He may choose to take it away. And if that day comes, I know God isn’t taking something away from me; He is replacing it with something even better.
Angela Davis, Author
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