How do I know God’s will for my life, especially in deciding a career?
This is a good question, good, particularly, because you want to live according to God’s will. The obvious answer of course is that you pray about it — Proverbs 3:5-6. But then, how does God answer such prayers, especially as you need to decide on a career? God often does this by inclining you in a certain direction and towards a certain career, and providing you with the necessary skills. God also does this by “closing a door” to other careers. (Paul knew about “closing doors” as you read in Acts 16:6 that he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach in Asia. Although this was more than a career, it was a “closing of doors” to a certain activity.) Some examples of doors closing: Perhaps there is a career that will keep you from going to church on Sundays – that might close a door (except for works of necessity, like doctor, nurse, firefighter, caregiver, etc). Perhaps there is a career that has the danger of tempting you towards immoral or clandestine activities – that should close the door! Perhaps your skills and abilities do not lend themselves to certain careers – that may very well close the door to them too.
But all things being equal, God also opens doors to a certain career: your parents approval and support; your skills and abilities and aptitude for it (which are after all, God-given!); your desire to honor the Lord by such a career. Therefore, prepare for such a career and ask the Lord’s blessing on it.
Two small pieces of advice: (1) Consult with those who are experienced in the career you aspire to – be well informed! (2) If you are a young man, consider that God is perhaps calling you to prepare yourself for the ministry of the Gospel – after all, the harvest is great and the laborers are few!
Editor’s note: Following the last note above from Rev. Henk Bergsma about “if you are a young man…” I would like to add a note also to young women. I read an article yesterday morning, by Penelope Trunk, titled, “Misogynist Conversations Women Have all the Time.” This is not a Christian article, and the author (to my knowledge) is not a Christian, but she highlights how the most popular “career” for women continues, statistically, to be stay-at-home mother. And she calls out women for treating the thought of being a stay-at-home mother as somehow less, or not as valuable as other careers. This should encourage us to stand firm and not to cave on biblical values in the face of pressure from our culture… because our culture actually, really desires those biblical values—because it is true: we are happier when we live according to how God made us.
Here are some quotes from an article that raises many good points:
“…you are saying that you have no respect for the job of taking care of kids, and you’d hate to have to identify as someone who does that. The reason this is misogynist is that you are grouping a huge swath of the female population and declaring that they are shallow, boring and have nothing to talk about.”
”When we constantly devalue the choice most women are making — to scale back their career and focus on family — we take away the pride girls have in who they are: smart, educated, hard-working. You can be all those things and still decide taking care of family is most important.”
“…when you congratulate your daughter for getting good grades so she can go to a good college to get a good job, you devalue the job she is most likely to gravitate to: taking care of a family. You degrade that job as not a valid choice…”
So young women, consider that God calls most women to be a stay-at-home mother and learning skills and being educated in that, could be most helpful.