It seems a pretty tall order sometimes….the idea of finding satisfaction in our work. But it’s not just a fanciful notion; there is deep wisdom in this principle. And we are all better when we can apply it to our own lives.
It was King Solomon who gave us this principle…and the Bible tells us he was the wisest man in the world. Sounds to me like someone we can trust. But rather than just take Solomon’s word for it, let’s examine it for ourselves.
For he was wiser than all men… 1 Kings 4:31 NKJV
I know….there are many that will read this and say, “But I can’t just do whatever I want! I have to pay my bills.” And sure, there are seasons where meeting our financial obligations take precedence. But we also have to weigh how being stuck in a “dead-end” job affects us, not to mention our families. And speaking from experience, making a reasonable plan for getting out of that job and into something better ASAP is worth it’s weight in gold!
But let’s assume our primary goal is not just working at whatever job (or jobs) will pay the bills. By midlife, we hopefully have neared- or reached – the end of the “just trying to make ends meet” stage. A lot of us in midlife experience that nagging, “But I want to do something different!” feeling deep down in our souls. So how do we find the right work? Here are some questions we should ask ourselves:
DOES IT SPEAK TO MY HEART?
- Do I like what I do?
- Does it energize me?
- Do I feel I’m good at what I do? (This is a time to be honest, y’all…not politely humble.)
- Do others tell me I have a real talent for that kind of work?
- Do I just feel like this is what I was created to do?
- At the end of the day, do I (usually) go home in a good mood?
If you can answer yes to all or most of those questions, God bless ya! Keep doing that! If not…maybe it’s time to think about what does speak to your heart, and write out a plan for what you have to do to make that your reality.
DOES IT SERVE OTHERS?
So let’s take this idea of satisfying work a step further…because, in all reality, life’s not just about us. (I know….shocking, isn’t it?) I think we can agree, we all find satisfaction in helping others. The Matthew Henry Commentary tells us:
“It is very desirable, that those who have large gifts of any kind, should have large hearts to use them for the good of others.”
If nothing else, this is what Jesus taught us to do, isn’t it? And He certainly didn’t want us to serve just to “make points.” (Nobody likes a martyr who does good works, only to complain about it later….not even Jesus.) Obedience is important. And yes, not everything we do out of obedience is going to make us happy (at least not in the short-term). But I think God is pretty gracious in that He usually provides a way for us to be obedient and do what we love…using the gifts He’s given us, to accomplish what He’s purposed us for. So surely we’re supposed to figure out what that is, don’t you think? So let’s ask ourselves this:
- Is there something I know how to do that others struggle with?
- Do I actually enjoy doing something other people complain about?
- Do I have the luxury of time to do what some people can’t fit in their own work schedules?
- What makes my heart happy – and my step lighter – when I’m able to do them for someone else?
These are the kind of things we should be doing! And it’s not just a matter of our own happiness. God promises that what we give out, will return to us multiplied!
Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your bosom. For with the measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38 NKJV
See….God wants to bless us! But we can’t just sit around waiting for that to happen. Unlike salvation – which is purely a gift from God – to receive the blessing of service, we have to work for it. 😉To receive the blessing of service, we have to work for it. - Kimberly Sutor Click To Tweet
So how does your work stack up in light of these questions? I know for me, even in midlife, I still struggle sometimes. Just yesterday morning, I was putting together vegetable soup in the crock pot before I ran to get the oil changed in the truck. I caught myself pouting and thinking, “I wanted to leave 10 minutes ago so I’d have time to write before lunch. Stupid soup! I HATE cooking.” And God immediately whispered in my little brain, and I realized I am BLESSED to be able to be home making soup for MHH’s & my lunch instead of sitting in some office, doing a job I never want to do again. Shame on me! I quickly said a little prayer asking for forgiveness…and finished making soup with a peaceful heart. (If I’d said “happy,” that would have been pushing it. It was still cooking, afterall.) Later, I told MHH he should invite one of his co-workers to lunch, because I’d made a double portion of soup. And ya know what? We all enjoyed the soup and the fellowship. 🙂
I hope your work brings you satisfaction. If it does, thank God for that blessing. If it doesn’t, pray about how you can move into work that does. He wants good for you, friend…and that includes work that satisfies!