by Kelly Porter (with Chris Allman)
You may have heard some chatter about an article released on Relevant called Want to Get Your Dream Job? Do These 4 Things.
Not surprising. It’s an awesome article that brings up some really valid points on how to harness the brains of spacy, frazzled 20-somethings (I can say that because I am one of those 20-somethings) and lead them to seriously thinking about their futures.
The article offers steps to take in order to thoughtfully plan for your future career: have a plan, develop a “freedom fund,” manage your social media, remember who you work for. This is really great stuff.
Maybe you didn’t love it. Maybe you got hung up on the first point of “having a plan”. You’ve always been taught that walking with Jesus is a day-by-day, minute-by-minute thing. You’ve got to trust God with your future and what it holds. Right?
So, is it even Biblical to plan for your future career?
The short answer? Of course it is.
The longer answer takes some more fleshing out.
Is planning a good thing?
Planning can be challenging for us 20-somethings who have trouble planning what we’re having for dinner let alone what career field we want to enter. So this point is great to consider for all of the above reasons.
Yes, planning is a good thing. Wise people plan ahead.
If you’re certain that God is calling you to pursue a certain vocation, planning is a necessary thing. If you’re pursuing a career that requires additional schooling such as a doctor or an attorney, it’s necessary to plan ahead, well in advance, to ensure that you will be able to actually work in that field.
But it’s imperative to understand that planning also comes in the midst of and as a result of our pursuit of the Lord and not before it.
Pursuing the Lord – which means reading our Bible, praying, and seeking wisdom from other believers – is how we hear from God and gain wisdom. When we’re doing that on a regular basis, we’re able to look at the possibilities in front of us, choose one and craft a plan to achieve it.
We ask for wisdom first. Then we plan.
Being a doctor or a lawyer is a career that can bring God great glory. So can data entry, retail or non-profit work. If you’re pursuing the Lord and feel a deep desire to choose one of those careers, you can work diligently to plan and pursue this career path and serve the Lord through this path.
Is planning Biblical?
Yes. The people of the Bible had plans.
In the story of the Exodus, you see Moses talk to God, get wisdom and instruction, and then put his plan in place. His plans often ran into some pretty intense roadblocks and he had to change plans but that’s where he had to learn to trust God.
Here’s the problem Christians create when it comes to planning – we’re afraid we’re not trusting God when we have a plan.
It’s okay to plan!
It’s okay to make charts and graphs, do extensive research on career fields, and take career tests to see what would be the best choice for us. It doesn’t mean that God isn’t a part of our planning.
Scripture affirms planning but also trusting the Lord’s sovereignty.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Moses had a plan, but the Lord established his steps. And the steps led through plagues, forty years in exile, and a parted Red Sea. It wasn’t part of Moses’s original plan, but it was a part of God’s plan.
He is the one that establishes our steps and actually makes our plans happen. So, even if we have the most well thought out, thorough plan, God can still call us to missions or to be a goer.
He could do this in a number of ways, He could close all of the doors to our desired career or He could call us to leave everything we know and go overseas. He can do whatever. Because He’s God.
And in the end it’s not just about what we want, it’s ultimately about what He desires for our life. Like Moses, we should have a plan, but hold loosely to the steps we’re expecting to take.
Are all of our plans in vain?
Then what? Is all our planning pointless? Not at all! Moses’ plan didn’t go how he thought it would, but the end result was what he wanted.
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. The Israelites saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses (Exodus 14:31-32).
Moses had a plan set before him, but his relationship with the Lord allowed him to trust when it seemed to be going off the rails. But in the end, the Lord accomplished His plan through Moses. It wasn’t at all how Moses thought it would go, but God saved the Israelites.
We can get so consumed with our plans that we forget why we started planning in the first place – to use our careers to bring God glory.
What’s my point?
Freedom funds are good, proper social media etiquette is a career-saver, and planning is a good and biblical thing. Remembering that you’re a child of the Lord and a servant of the King is necessary for endurance. Don’t get lost in the weeds of over-analysis when it comes to planning your future.
Have a plan, but pursue wisdom and counsel constantly.
Have a plan, but hold loosely to the meticulous steps you think you will take to get there.
Have a plan and trust God when it seems like that plan is going haywire.
The end result is an evolution from being a confused, frustrated 20-something to being a 20-something who’s content with their career, willing to endure some bumps in the road, and focused on making disciples of Jesus.