College is a pivotal time in life. It’s a time when we think about the future more than we ever have. It’s in college where, no matter if you’re at a state school or a Bible college, your faith is stretched. And, of course, it’s in college where the topics of career and calling are at the forefront of our minds.
For Christian college students, we call this seeking out God’s will and that is our pursuit. Does God want me to do this or does He want me to do that? Following God’s will is a God-honoring endeavor, but it can be hard to even know what His will is in these micro-decisions. So if you’re a college student, I hope and pray this helps you in this important time in your life.
5 Things Christian College Students Should Know About Career and Calling
1. Career and calling shouldn’t take precedence over your devotion to Christ.
I know you’re busy. You have a full school load and you may be working as well. Life is hectic. You have papers due, tests to study for, and reports to do. I get it. I’ve been there. But the habits you form now will help form your future. So don’t neglect your devotion to Christ.
Do everything you can to plug into a good church that values authentic community. Lean on those Christian relationships. Open up to people about your stress. Stay connected to relationships at home, too. And, even though you’re reading a lot as it is, make time to read the Bible and be in prayer.
You have a lot to think about when you’re in college. Let Christ and His goodness be at the forefront of your thoughts.
And if you’re looking for a book to stretch you in your walk with God, I recommend Crucified to Life. I know the author. But more than that, I know the impact it has had in the lives of those who have read it.
2. These career and calling decisions don’t need to be made in isolation.
Our Western way of life is abnormal. We are expected to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives at the age of 18 – largely on our own. Some people know what their career and calling are at 18, but many don’t. And guess what. That’s okay.
Here’s something that could change your life:
It’s okay to not have everything figured out. And really, it’s okay to not have much of anything figured out.
That feels better, right?
So instead of stressing over all the unknowns, talk with people in your life who you would call mentors about career and calling. Be brutally honest with them about the weight of these big decisions and the fact that you’re just not sure. Let them know how they can help and then just listen. Talk to your parents, too. They know you best.
Make the big decisions about your career and calling in the context of community. Talk with your friends, for sure. But lean on the wisdom of those who have gone before you and who know you.
3. You can likely honor God either way.
Odds are, you have a couple or even a few ideas of what you want your life-work to be. As you’re praying and debating through each option, it’s important for you to know that you can likely honor God in each of your options.
If you see that you can honor God in each path, here are a couple more things to consider:
How has God gifted you? What are you passionate about?
Some people use their gifts of service and mercy through short-term mission trips on a consistent basis because that’s their passion. If that’s you, what career path would offer you the most flexibility so you could do more short-term mission trips?
Some people use their gifts in business to fund or start important work around the world. If you have a passion for fighting injustice or bringing the gospel to unreached people groups, know that it takes money, strategy, and a lot of prayers.
If all the career paths in front of you allow you to honor God within them, think about how each one will allow you to make the most lasting impact. Which will give you time and resources to make the impact God may call you to make?
4. Learn how to learn. It’s more important than your major.
Because the more you can learn, the more impact you can make. You’ll find that this is what separates people in the workforce. If you know how to learn new things, you’ll be the linchpin in the department and, eventually, the organization.
If you know how to learn, you can start a small business and point your profit to important gospel work around the world and in your community.
When you decide on a major, that’s a big deal. But the bigger deal is whether or not you can be a life-long learner. The world you grew up in is not the world you will work in. Everything is changing at lightning speeds and you know this.
Be resourceful. Be a learner.
5. Calling is multi-dimensional.
Your calling doesn’t have to fit inside the box of a career. You will probably find that your calling – what God desires you to do – can be followed in multiple ways.
What this means is that your life isn’t over if you choose the “wrong” career. This means that your career could change in the future, but that doesn’t automatically mean that you are neglecting your calling. If you follow God’s call on your life, there will likely be a thread of commonality that is woven through each of the things you do.
If you are struggling with the idea of calling, then I recommend you go back to #2 and order a copy of Jeff Goins’ book on the subject, The Art of Work.
Which of these sticks out most to you?
And hey, do you have some Christian friends or family who could benefit from this article? If so, would you share it with them?
Let’s Grow Together
I’d love to go on this journey of following Jesus with you and help you engage culture with the gospel. So let’s be email friends. I’d love to send you a copy of my two free eBooks: Bible Hacks: Understanding the New Testament and Do Something: Cultural Crises and the Gospel. And I’d love to give you my free daily devotional: Journey to Knowing God. You’ll get all this (and updates with new content) when you subscribe to the blog.