When I was little, my career goal was to build houses. My rationale was simple – I adored my fourth grade teacher, and her husband was a contractor. It seems like I should’ve aspired to be a teacher, but for some reason I was intrigued by the stories Mrs. H shared about Mr. H. Plus, as an upper elementary-aged girl, I may have developed a small, harmless crush on my teacher’s husband.
My dreams have changed since fourth grade and have been morphing ever since. For a while I wanted to be a P.E. teacher. I prayerfully considered going into missions full-time. Occasionally I still bounce around the idea of having a ranch in Texas that would serve as a theological training center for high school and college students.
If you’re like me, your goals aren’t limited to the professional sphere. Many of us have personal aspirations, expectations for relationships, and dreams of academic achievement.
At a conference last week, a presenter asked a group of enrollment professionals if we’re doing our dream jobs. His question sparked an internal dialogue that has shifted my mentality significantly. Although I love my job and am thankful for it, my initial answer to his question was, “No, of course being an admissions counselor isn’t my dream job. My expectations for this season of life looked much different than my current reality.”
As my wheels kept turning, though, I was reminded of the overarching dream that refocuses and reshapes every other goal I have. What I want more than anything else is to know, love, and obey God. My dream is to follow Jesus. Through that lens, my 40-hour work week looks much different. What I do on a daily basis is significant primarily because of Who I serve.
Following Jesus turns our lives upside down in the best possible way. Every ambition must bow to His provocative question: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Jesus doesn’t necessarily demand that we stop pursuing our dreams or caring about the causes that are important to us. He doesn’t require us to ignore our passions or downplay our goals. But for the follower of Jesus, the question shifts from, “How can I make sure life goes according to my plan?” to “How can I glorify God and serve His purposes as I walk according to His plan?” This mindset doesn’t diminish the value of our passions; instead, it reminds us to use them in service of the most important cause of all.
If I were to be asked again if I’m doing my dream job, my answer would be a little different. No, I didn’t picture myself as an admissions counselor growing up. Even as recently as a year ago, this particular role wasn’t on my radar. Yet I’m convinced that God placed me in this distinct role at this exact institution at this specific time with these particular coworkers for a reason. The awareness that I can and should serve Jesus right where I am totally redefines how I view my current profession.
Because I desperately want to spend my life following Jesus, and since I’m working in the role He provided for me, I guess you could say I truly am living the dream. And if you’re willing to think about it that way, perhaps you’re living the dream too.