In Despite Doubt Mike Wittmer offers some helpful guidance for how to answer the question, “How can you tell what God has called you to do?” For starters, ask these four questions:
Who am I you committed to?
Wittmer begins the discussion by reminding the reader that our first calling is to those to whom we are committed to, our spouse, children, parents, even our church. “I answer the call of Jesus by being a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, and active member of the body of Christ” (p 142). This reality forms the foundation of our calling, which means our lives don’t lose purpose, even if we lose our jobs.
I would like to say “amen” and add one more thing. If you’re deciding on a new career path you need to first consider those you are responsible for providing for. Follow your dreams, but not at the expense of your family.
What do I enjoy?
What you enjoy matters. God has created you with a unique personality and particular set of interests. When choosing a career path, asking this question is a good place to start, but it’s not the only question to ask.
What do I do well?
I love football and when I was a kid I dreamed of being a Wide Receiver in the NFL, of being the next Jerry Rice. I loved playing backyard football with my brothers. Then I started playing flag football in the Petoskey city league. In the whole season I caught the ball once, a freak interception while playing on the defensive line. I learned then and there that a career in the NFL was not my calling.
However, I would like to offer one word of caution. Don’t forget that skills can be cultivated and that ineptitude can be transformed into aptitude. When I was a teenager I was terrified of public speaking, now it’s a pretty big part of my job as a pastor.
What does the world need?
Wittmer: “You may enjoy stamp collecting, but this doesn’t seem to fill a void in the world. The world may not need more stamp collectors” (p 143).
The secret is in finding where all these things intersect. In High School my wife was good at science so she decided to go to medical camp to see if she should be a doctor. After all, the world needs doctors. While there she discovered, rather painfully, that the sight of blood was not really her thing. Good thing for her she also enjoys teaching and the world needs good science teachers.
Of course, I’m throwing the whole thing out the window and trying to follow two career paths simultaneously! I may not be the best person to listen to. Lucky for you these are Wittmer’s questions, not mine.