2014 has been a full year already. (Can you believe it’s already April?!) Between trips to San Francisco, North Carolina, and Florida, launching my newest company Career Flight Plan, continuing to coach students through Student Launch Pad, involvement in church, and taking a class, I now understand why this Lent I felt led to intentionally focus on presence.
Sometimes I allow this busyness to fuel me, letting the pace of life itself push me forward instead of working out of rest.
This Lent season has been a reminder to examine what I’m working for and why. Or rather, Who I’m working for.
Last night, I had the opportunity to be a table discussion leader for the One2 Conference, a conference for college students to talk about Faith & Work. (You can read about my experience at the conference last year, here.)
One of the main points that stood out from speaker David McNeely, the Young Adults Pastor at Perimeter Church, was that we were created to:
- Work upwards for His name and glory,
- Work outwards for the flourishing of all God’s creation and to shape the stories of those around us,
- Work inwards, deeply satisfying the soul of who we are.
No matter what work we do (using this term loosely, as work can be as a student, a spouse, a parent etc.) we can work upwards, outwards, and inwards. We don’t have to only work in the church or a Christian organization to be on mission. Instead, us figuring out how God intended us to work, “in weakness and in fear and much trembling,” allows “the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
As was said at the One2 Conference, we can sit “in the truth that, as followers of Jesus, God is for us. If He has gifted us with unique strengths, passions, and talents, then we are free to pursue those endeavors for God’s glory.” So I’ll ask you the question that ended the One2 Conference:
What would your life and work look like if you believed that God is for you?
For me, I believe that we can be freed to dare greatly in our work, assured in who God created us to be. And we can dare greatly because we humbly recognize that the impact of our work ultimately isn’t up to us.
I’ll end with how I’ve been trying to listen to where God is calling me to dare greatly, which has also included a lot of prayers for wisdom (my two themes for 2014 coming into play: Dare Greatly and Pray Big). At the beginning on this year, I applied to two Doctor of Education programs. In figuring out how to apply my personal strengths and passions, I realized that I wanted to be able to further research all of the work that I’m doing with coaching Generation Y students. I was accepted to Johns Hopkins and Northeastern University, and ultimately decided that Northeastern’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership was the best fit for me. I’m excited to begin my doctoral studies this summer! (And no, we aren’t moving to Boston! The program is a hybrid of online classes with in person residencies.)
I’m particularly excited about beginning my research in light of all that I talked about work in this post. Some of the questions I’ll be asking in my research are: If today’s Generation Y students and college graduates understood how to apply their skills and passions to add value to an organization, would they find more purpose in their work? In sum, how do we advance human capital to help the individual be in the best career for themselves, their organization, and society?
Ultimately it is my hope and prayer that in understanding your unique strengths, passions, and talents that you recognize the One who designed you.