Patrice wants to know why she has been unable to develop her passion and the only jobs available are ones that she hates.
Here’s part of her lengthy letter:
“After everything I’ve been through I’m afraid that somehow, God’s will for me is actually not to pursue the sole vocational passion He appears to have put in my heart, but to do this office work that feels like I’m swallowing poison every day. Maybe I’m projecting my family’s patterns onto God – child abuse survivors do that, probably even more so than those with healthier backgrounds – but I’m afraid that, counterintuitive though it is, God has given me a passion that is completely mismatched with the opportunities in my life. Do you think this is possible? That for some reason the God I’ve always known as a loving one wants me to suffer through jobs I hate, and that I hate myself for doing, all my life?”
Dear Patrice – No, I do not think that “God has given you a passion that is completely mismatched with the opportunities in your life.” That would be a vicious God – not a loving one. The Bible tells us to “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Handing your life over to God does not mean walking away from your desires and passions – rather, it means finding authentic ways to make those God-given passions come alive.
Yes, I do think we all tend to create the God we see emerge from the patterns of our own family – at least as a starting point. Please believe that God has gifted you and given you a blank piece of paper on which to draw the life you want. He is not mean and capricious as you suspect. Just take responsibility for your success and know that the door is as open to you as to anyone in the world. God is not micromanaging the little details in your life to make you miserable. He wants you to thrive and prosper – and to do work that is fulfilling and meaningful.
We don't need to just wait and see what opportunities are available - we create our opportunities by taking specific action. Want to be a dentist, go to dental school. Want to be a writer, start writing. Want to get a job as a graphic designer, learn how to create stunning designs. Whatever your vocational passion may be, there is a path to making it a reality. Start walking down that path today.
- 2018Jan 31
I just spoke with a gentleman who has a heart for making marriages better. In fact “God told him” he would be a force in helping 1000 couples. He has authored a book on marriage and is committed to helping couples reach their dreams of healthy relationships.
But here’s where it gets sticky. As the first public presentation he and his wife organized a conference at a high-end hotel to share their message and materials. Their confidence and vision was that God would send 350 couples to the event.
The results did not bear that out. Because of what they had committed to for rooms, food and conference area, they ended up with a bill from the hotel for $67,000. It wiped out their savings and more. And they are left questioning their call to marriage ministry and their ability to hear from God.
So what are the lessons from this?
- They didn’t really “hear” but just wanted affirmation for what they wanted to do.
- They don’t really have a unique message to share.
- There’s already plenty of materials for making marriages great.
- People don’t care about working on their marriages.
- They superimposed a poorly designed economic model on top of the desire of their heart.
Getting people to pay and attend live conferences is a challenging business model. So much content is available online - without the expense of time, travel and hotels. Many people assume if content is Godly, it should be free.
We can effectively share the message God has given us. But if we’re going to do it from a fancy hotel, we need to use the same business sense we would use to teach people how to build leadership skills in the workplace or how to buy a franchise.
- Test the market - start small with a Saturday morning workshop for $39 in a conference room with a $100 rental fee.
- Build an audience for your message with a podcast or blog. Know your listener and reader questions and concerns.
- Start a Facebook group for people who are interested in your topic.
- Do book signings at local bookstores. They will promote it and is costs nothing.
- Start a free weekly newsletter on your topic. People can subscribe and it will build credibility and establish you as an expert in your area of focus.
I started 48 Days to the Work you Love as a Sunday school class. Because of the response I moved it to a Monday night 2-hour class. Attendance was free. I did that for 8 years. In that time I released the book and study materials. People can still get those for $20. I began coaching people individually through career transitions. Then people wanted to know how to grow their audience like I had done with 48 Days, how to leverage that message for increased income, and how to grow a coaching business. I started a weekly newsletter and have had over 140,000 sign up to receive it. I started a podcast (no cost) and have grown a significant audience over the last 11 years.
Because of the repeated requests I started having small groups come to a converted barn on our property for 2-day events. No rental fee, no food minimums, no guaranteed rooms booked. Those events had a $1000 registration, but if only one person came I made a profit. We have capped those events at 48 participants and offer that only three times a year. 20% of the people who attend sign up for our Coaching Mastery program at $4800.
Yes, God can bless the ministry you are called to do. But don’t presume supernatural success that defies common sense and solid business practices.
Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love , No More Dreaded Mondays and the newly released Wisdom meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences on changes in the workplace. Over 140,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48DaysEagles community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love.
Okay, here’s a sticky theological question from a reader:
Dan, I love to share my faith with others and I seem to have many natural talents, skills and abilities suited for being a minister. However, I believe that no matter how suited someone may be for ministry they must be called of God in order to be a Minister. Talent is nothing to God. He rather wants a fully surrendered and obedient individual. I suppose my question is how do I know whether I’m called to be a minister or just an entrepreneur with an idea I’m passionate about? – John
How does God “call” us except through giving us skills and abilities, personality traits and passions that draw us in a particular direction? To think that God will ask a “fully surrendered and obedient individual” to something where there is no alignment with natural talents opens the door to heartache and misery.
Let’s just play out John’s thinking here. How would you like to attend a church where the pastor has no talent, skill or passion for that position – but he was just “fully surrendered and obedient?” How long would you attend that church?
Apply this thinking to any work. Would you want a doctor who had no skill but thought he was “called” to the medical profession? How about a teacher who had a passion for being an artist but was convinced through well-meaning family that she was “called” to be a teacher?
I’ve met with too many pastors, missionaries, and teachers who were obedient and willing, but whose natural skills did not line up with what their attempts to do something “Godly.” Many confused “calling” with the family tradition or the expectations of others. And their work was frustrating, spiritually depleting and ultimately led to a crisis that required change.
When there is an alignment of our skills, abilities, talents, personality traits and passions we will recognize God’s “call.” We will experience work that is fulfilling, meaningful, purposeful – and profitable. Or, forget your talent, just do “what God wants you to do” and be miserably noble.
Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love , No More Dreaded Mondays and the newly released Wisdom meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences on aging and changes in the workplace, and at universities and churches. Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48Days.net business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love.