“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
Choosing a major, choosing a career, committing to a job, those are all big steps. One of the questions that we get asked most often is: How do I choose the right career path?
Throughout the next few months on the blog, we’re going to give our best practical advice and share stories in response to some of your greatest life questions (and if you want to submit a question or topic, drop us a message on Instagram @liveoriginal!)
Question #1 How do I know that I chose the right career path?
We’re about to have that mic drop moment right now. You don’t know if you chose the right career path, but you know when you are using the gifts that God has given you.
And girl, keep reading for the best part.
My career is nothing like I thought it would be. It’s better. It’s been a journey though.
When I was nineteen and a sophomore in college, I wish someone would have told me what my career path would be. It would have made things a lot easier, or at least I like to think so.
People told me that I was smart, capable, and that I would “figure it out.”
I believed them (sometimes), but struggled to trust that I truly would figure it out. As a college student, I went from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated one day to feeling on top of the world the next day. One day I thought I knew what my future career path would be like, and the next, I was crying on my way to class because I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going.
But what I didn’t realize was that my life purpose is more than my career.
Here’s the thing. I had a job lined up before graduating college. That doesn’t mean it was the dream job, or the best fit, but it was a start.
Starting your career simply requires starting somewhere. I spent four years in college wondering what my career would look like. I spent four+ years after college trying to make a career happen.
Job #1 I thought I had a job with way too little pay.
Job #2 I thought I had landed a job that would humble me.
Job #3 I thought I had landed the “dream job”.
Get this… I landed a marketing position at a beautiful school in Malibu, CA. Beautiful place, sweet people, wrong job. A few weeks in, I remember walking and feeling so disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed in the place, or the people (they were fantastic), it was in my role. The hard truth was, my job that I applied for was not the right one for me…
In that season of being in the “dream” job I remember feeling so confused, sad, and lonely. How could I possibly tell someone that the job and career path that I have pursued for 6 years was no longer the one for me?
And I was in such a hurry to say YES to what I thought was the dream, that I lost my why.
I felt like a fake and I felt guilty because the job was a DREAM for someone. It just wasn’t for me. Do you ever feel that way about where you are at? Or are you fearful that you might feel that one day?
I’m here to tell you: it is okay to admit you didn’t make the best yes.
Looking back at that season of my career, I though that I would just have to “make it work” since I made the choice and I needed to stick it out. I spent every waking day convincing myself that this was exactly where I should be and that it was good for me. While that may sound honorable, it’s not what you make a career out of.
You’re not called to “make it work” for your entire career.
Side note: If you find yourself in a job for a considerable amount of time and you find yourself saying “I’m going to stick it out, I’m going to make it work.” then you might need to start praying about what God has for you there. Talk with your people. Start dreaming.
Your career decisions will not decease the potential impact that God as for your life.
And I remember the day that everything changed after a conversation with my new friend (Sadie Rob!). She was the first person to remind me that the gifts God has equipped me with could be used in my career. She encouraged me to remember that my purpose was so much more than my job.
Our conversation started with one question: what do you love doing?
I briefly shared about my love for design, crafting, and heart for women’s ministry. Of course, I told her that could never be a job that combines the three of those passions (sometimes I feel like God waits for us to say what we really desire, then He’s like “Okay it’s time!” ha)
I remember her smiling at me in that moment. That was the start of my journey to working at Live Original.
What I learned from my friend that day, was that it was okay to be on the journey. It’s ok to have passions and dreams. You have to believe that God will find the place for you to use your gifts.
There were a lot of right and wrong decisions to get to where I am today.
The best career decision didn’t make sense by the world’s standards.
And the only right decision I knew was to follow God by working to use the skills and gifts He’s created me with for his Glory. And now, this job (working for Team LO) has proved to be the best decision. The bes yes. The best career.
Most of us want to know if we are on the right path. Truth is we don’t fully know. We don’t know what God can and will reveal to us throughout our lifetime.
We do know that God can use us right were we are at.
We do know that different seasons with different jobs expand our capacity.
We do know that we serve a greater purpose than even the most fulfilling career.
So if you’re sitting here wondering if you chose the right path, or you’re about to make a choice on to your first career path, just pause. Really. Make a decision to try something new or move forward with right where you are at.
Don’t spent too much time wondering if you’re right. Otherwise you will be sure to miss out on what God has in store for you.
So I’ll share some practical advice for those who are still wondering:
#1 Don’t be afraid to be wrong or make the “wrong choice” of career.
Sometimes those choices bring you close to knowing what your true gifts and passions are and they allow you to redirect your path (that was me!).
#2 Listen to the call.
I know, I maybe you’ve heard that phrase “find your calling” too much. I believe there are key moments in your life or career that God will call you to something new. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a new job though. If you feel the call, take the leap. And find friends and family who will support you in your journey to finding your calling and your career.
#3 There’s no failure.
I remember in my early jobs fearing that people wouldn’t like me or fearing that I would fail to meet expectations and be fired for one mistake. Sure, that might happen. We learn from our failures though. And you know, you just can’t fail in God’s eyes. So live in freedom.
#4 It’s okay to be different
Don’t compare your career, or your job to your neighbors. I remember in college being a weird girl who lacked “direction” because she didn’t want to go into a corporate role like every single one of her friends. It was awkward, and I typically over explained when people asked me why. It’s ok to be different. God has equipped us with different things.
#5 Changing direction doesn’t mean you’re lost.
If you find yourself heading into uncharted territory or somewhere you never thought you’d be, but it’s accompanies by peace, this is a GOOD sign! Friend, congrats, because that right there is a reflection of you letting God lead you and steer your path. This is the beauty of walking with Jesus: being somewhere you’ve never been but knowing that you haven’t lost your way.
#6 Dream bigger career dreams.
Your dreams might not be what God’s dream is for you. Listen humbly to his call and keep believing for big dreams.
To my sisters and friends, I’ll leave you with this encouragement:
Your life already has purpose before you choose the path.
Your life is worth more than the job choices that you make.
Your life can be trusted in God’s hands.
Your journey is your own.
Your story is your own.
I don’t know where you are at, but I know that you are not alone. I don’t have the answers to your questions, but I do know we’re not supposed to have all of the answers. I don’t know if you’re living in fear of failure, but I do know that life with God allows us to live in freedom.
Praying you walk in freedom today, dream big dreams, and believe that your life is greater than your career path!
Court Leatherwood is a dreamer and a creative. She’s a member of Team LO. Fueled by community, creativity and coffee, she spends her days moving the mission of Team LO through social media and graphic design. Court is passionate about encouraging other women in truth and love, and she loves celebrating small and big moments of life with handwritten cards. Court recently married the man of her dreams.