Frustration. Directionless. Desperation. Fear. Uncertainty.
These are feelings familiar to me. Once again, I am at the crossroads of my life and career. This crossroads that I’ve encountered for the fourth time now in the span of 7 years of working. Many times I feel so frustrated and defeated for leaving my job again. When I look around, my friends seem to have figured out their lives and enjoy their careers. Unlike me. I was going to be unemployed again because of my struggle with work. During such instances, I cry out to God. “What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I want my life to mean something, to do a meaningful career! I’ve tried and tried and tried but I’m back at this again. Why? What am I supposed to do now? What is my life purpose? Why am I on the earth for?”
I’m sure there are many people who are facing the similar question of life’s purpose and career choices. Many seek to have a meaningful life and also seek to know their life’s purpose. People of all ages – young and old – search for their life’s purpose and meaning all throughout their lives. We cannot live through our lifetime not knowing why we are placed on this earth for!
Career is an important part of any Singaporean young adult’s life. Many times it dictates our value and identity. When we introduce ourselves, our career is one of the various things that will be shared. Especially in Singapore, we have been instilled on how our education years are preparation for the end goal – career. Get good grades, go to university, and then you’ll get a good paying job! Unemployment had the implicit meaning of a lazy person; someone who was not doing any good in their life; someone looked down upon or pitied by others. Holding onto a job is of utmost importance and priority!
We studied hard all through our education years. We aim hard for that goal. That was what held our value, status and identity. Reaching the milestone of graduation was rhe pinnacle and culmination of our long ardous journey. But once the celebration of our graduation subsided, we enter the working life and become assimilated to the mundane clockwork of work. Suddenly our value depended on our KPIs. Our status was related to our paycheck. Our identity was our job title and description. We gained all of that, so now what?
Surely there is something more to life than just work! Surely we can’t just be doing a 9-to-5 job for the next few decades, right? Where is the meaning to all these?
I struggle with the meaning of work in relation to my life for the past 7 years. Working as a social worker meant working with clients on their problems. Life’s complexities are seen upclose. Messes have no easy answers. I lost myself in the process of work, and saw no end to it. Many people said that it is a meaningful job and work that I do. But the drudgery of work wore me down. I tried to seek advice and direction from self-help books and articles. They were written to help navigate through the waves of life. They give 5-pointer tips on how to find our life’s mission and purpose. Some even gave the advice to look at my passions and work towards it. Yet something was still missing. God was not in it, and I couldn’t find my way to my life’s purpose too.
Through John 1:6-8, a short paragraph introducing John the Baptist, God started to highlight 2 main points to me:
1. John the Baptist was sent from God.
2. His life purpose is to be a witness of Jesus Christ.
Through these few verses, the Lord started to unveil some truths.
1. Your worth and value is found in Him.
Just like John the Baptist, we are sent from God. He planned for our lives. We are not an accident, even if we are planned by our parents for family planning. God planned for our existence even before we knew it. Psalm 136:16 states that God “saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” He took time and gave great thought in creating us. He would not do that if we did not mean anything to Him. He loves us. We are precious in his sight and dearly loved by Him. Our worth and value is found solely in Him.
2. Our life purpose is to be His witnesses.
Just like John the Baptist’s life purpose is to be a witness testifying about Jesus Christ so that all might believe in Him, our overarching life purpose is to point others to Jesus too. That is our main life purpose, and we can only fulfill that if we have a relationship with Jesus. Our careers and what we do in our lives are just the ways and means of fulfilling that life purpose. We do not have to be too concerned about it because God will guide us on it through our individual unique life journeys. What should be our concern is to be intentional in being His witnesses.
Do not be too worried or concerned about the crossroads of life. Do not worry about your career choices. God is sovereign and He has it all planned out. Our self-worth, life value and life purpose is found securely in Him. Our responsibility is to be his witnesses. Seek Him, and find the purpose of your life.