While you brush off the final twinkly tinsel from all the festivities, I want to officially welcome you to 2015!
Missed part 1? Catch it here: Breathe out
The new year always brings a lot of mixed feelings for people. Cacophonies of questions flood seem to come as they say goodbye to the old, and welcome the new. Despite perhaps having a broad idea in your head as to how you hope it’s all going to pan out, niggling questions like, ‘Will I pass my major to get that qualification for my future job?’ And, ‘How am I going to get through the months ahead on the sort of budget that I have?’ remain. Even though you’ve probably mulled it over in your mind, how are we to answer questions like that entirely? The answer is we can’t. But what gives me a lot of reassurance is accepting that the details of our destinies are such a mystery because we’re not meant to have all the answers until we reach a destination where those details were always pointing to.
“Well,” you laugh, “That sounds very nice, but seeing that everyone has a clean slate and a fresh start this time of year, isn’t there some sort of quick recipe that I’ve been missing somewhere that can help me win in the world of work?” I wish there was. But success in the profession you plan to pursue is so much more than merely following a five-step formula to the letter. To ‘win’ in the world of work is not about putting your hope and trust in what other people may say about how a particular job will give you the fulfillment that you’ve always hoped for. To ‘win’ in the world of work is making this all-important decision for yourself based on an understanding that you have been created in the image of God who has created us and knows how we function best.
The Greater Narrative
How were the past holidays for you? I have to say that mine were pretty spectacular with fond memories of family around the Christmas tree opening presents and cutting rich slices of Christmas cake. The sad reality, however, is that these happy memories, perhaps still fresh in your mind, will soon disappear as the busyness of everyday normal life comes flooding in. What doesn’t change, however, is the central figure behind what Christmas is all about, namely Jesus Christ. Many often think that He is just someone who came at a certain time in history thousands of years ago and really doesn’t know what we go through - our career choices included. The truth is He does, because He too worked. Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter and He definitely knew what hard work looked like.
Sometimes I’ve thought that the work I’ve done and the work I still plan to do can somehow qualify me more as a human being. But, honestly, we can all heave a deep sigh of relief when we are reminded that what we do doesn’t define who we are. It doesn’t just end with me as I work for myself. Our toiling away can actually mean something now in the bigger scheme of things as it becomes an expression of worship to the One who gave us the gifts to work. Our work is meant to have real significance beyond the here and now, because it’s part of a greater narrative that God calls all people to partake in.
A Blank Canvas
Call me lame, but I still do New Year’s resolutions. Tentatively stepping out into the unknown, aims and aspirations in hand, there is a sense that the commitment I’ve made to keeping them will bring much-needed changes for the unchartered road stretched out in front of me. After mustering up all the willpower in the world, the reality is that the only thing that’s changed is the year. My challenge to you for 2015, though, is that instead of looking to yourself to try and bring important change in your life, you can leap forward in faith trusting that God is able to take your hand and guide it across the blank canvas ahead to paint a picture more exquisite than what you could have ever imagined on your own.4