How to find purpose and fulfillment in your job

Read Time: 4 minutes

Jobs can be draining. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you.

They take up a third of our day (if not more) and require our constant effort to keep. No doubt, if you’re reading this, you are grateful for your work, but perhaps you never saw yourself working the grind you have. Or at least, not for so long. If this sounds like you, you’d be in the majority. Nearly 53% of gainfully employed guys (and girls) wish they had a different hustle.

The struggle, my brother, is real.

To this point, many men wonder if jumping ship on a job and moving to the wilderness would require more faith.

Not you of course…but other guys.

And it’s a fair question. Wouldn’t a more unique life provide a greater sense of adventure than a cubicle or hardhat would? Perhaps becoming a missionary in Mozambique or some other far away place would do the trick.

But adventure is not a calling. And neither is “the struggle.”

Said another way: flight and faith never produce the same outcomes. Even though at times, they may appear to contain the same amount of risk.

This begs the question:

“What is our purpose in life?”

It’s a simple question. But it can be especially uncomfortable if you don’t enjoy where you work. Can someone really know their purpose (or experience it) within the working day?

Yes, they can. But it will require an attitude adjustment. Career-chiropractry is in order.

Our purpose, or the reason for which we exist, is separate from what we do. Mutually exclusive, even.

Often times, we try to find identity in what we do, but that makes the “purpose question” all the harder to answer. Especially if the glove doesn’t fit in our current career path…no offense if you wear gloves for a living.

Our reason for being is singular. It is to know the Lord.

In His goodness. In His grandeur. In His love.

Now, one of the many ways we get to know him is through our career. What we do during the day. In this sense, our work and our job is the manual labor of communion. It is our “Yes!” to His invitation of doing “all things unto the Lord.”

Finding fulfillment, on the other hand, is not the same as having a purpose.

Fulfillment, both the feeling and acquiring of it, move from season to season. So does our relationship with the Lord. Ideally, it will grow richer and more nuanced throughout the years.

When we look back through our lives, we want to be able to say “That was the Lord.” Or “Lord! look what we did together.”

These are the markers of fulfillment. The notches in our purpose post.

If you ask a man who has walked with Christ a long time, what the most fulfilling parts of his life have been, he will recall times when “He felt close to the Lord” or had personal stories of the provision or miracles God had provided to him. He both walked and worked with his Creator.

Similarly, there is a correlation between, Christ, career, and calling.

When we “get saved,” our affections change. Which is to say, we have a new north star to follow. If we feel fulfilled and are satisfied with where we are, it is because we have markers of relationship in our past. Memories with our Maker.

Many men feel unfulfilled, though they would never say it, because they are waiting for five o’ clock. Their time with the Lord is outside of working hours. Segregated to Sunday. They’ve made have no memories with Him within the working day.

Since this practical communion is absent from the day, so is the feeling of fulfillment.

So, I’ll just say it:

We’ve all been told a lie.

The lie says we must enjoy every aspect of what we do in order to feel connected to it. Like a holy grail grind…Grail of the Grind. Er, perfect job. You get the point. Of course, it is not true.

Fulfillment is a bi-product of relationship. Specifically, with Jesus.

Work is a social experience. It’s meant to be done with the one who invented it, to begin with.

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Paul said.

Paul learned the benefit of working with the Lord. In his case, he’d learned it while in custody. He took initiative under imprisonment.

But we see evidence of this attitude throughout his whole life. Whether he was making tents, lecturing, in prison, or preaching the gospel, his fulfillment was connected to his faith. He knew that if he showed up, he could expect to see the Lord there as well.

We can always expect to see God “punch in” before we start the day. It’s one of his many promises.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” Jesus said. This abundance that He brings is a reality that is larger than the job we hold or the amount of money we get paid. It’s true, you should work together with him on the dreams he’s given you. That is part of it.

But fulfillment is by no means linked to what it is you do. Life is the container of our affections, desires, and promises. So long as we desire to keep Him involved, then we will see our dreams, and the promises He’s made become a reality in our lives.

“Seek first the Kingdom” someone once said.

Pierce Brantley
Pierce Brantley is an author, speaker and lover of Jesus. He's married to his wife Kristie and lives in Dallas, TX. He writes on biblical studies, Christian worldviews and principles of godly living for men.

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