The blaring alarm clock woke Sandra and signaled a new day had arrived. She quietly moaned as she considered the day before her. While thankful to have meaningful work to do, she had been struggling with her new assignment.
Recent job changes at work had placed Sandra in a new job and she was struggling to stay motivated in a role she considered as not in her “sweet spot.” Daily she pumped herself up and made her way to her job. She encouraged herself by thinking about learning new skills, meeting new people, and taking on new challenges.
Normally, optimism and positivity were two of her greatest strengths and she expended a great deal of energy to put on her smiley face and commit to her new job. But no matter how much self-talk she engaged in, she still felt she was not doing the work God made her to do.
Have you ever felt like Sandra? No matter how hard you try in your work or even in your ministry, something isn’t right and you are not sure if you are really doing the work God made you to do.
Jonah was a man who questioned if he was doing what God made him to do. In fact, he questioned the One who made him and when he did not agree with God’s plan, he ran away.
Imagine that: trying to run from God. Jonah loved his people, and he did not trust in God’s plan when God sent him with a message to Nineveh. So he fled, and we all know how that turned out.
While in the belly of the great fish Jonah confessed his disobedience and proclaimed his belief in God’s sovereignty. What Jonah failed to understand is that while he may not have been doing the work he believed God made him to do, he was asked to do the work God gave him to do.
Completing the work God gave us to do can be an important step in doing the work God made us to do.
God refines us in the struggle. We know our greatest growth does not happen on the mountain peak, but rather it happens in the valley and during the climb. Like Jonah and Sandra, sometimes we don’t want to do what God gave us to do, and we miss the opportunity that God created to stretch and mold us so that we can do the work he made us to do.
So what can we do when we find ourselves in a place where God is calling us into obedience for his purpose?
1. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6) This verse contains a promise and a command to trust God, and the reward is that our paths will be made straight. We don’t have to know the reason if we trust him. We can be confident that he is working all things together for our ultimate good. (Romans 8:28)
2. Be faithful in the current assignment. Luke records a parable Jesus told and he concluded the story by saying that the one that is faithful in the small things can be trusted to be faithful with big things. Do the work God gave you to do so you can be trusted with what he made you to do.
3. Grow in the gaps. Prepare for the next assignment. Learn all you can while you are doing the work God gave you to do. Receive his teaching and the lessons that will prepare you to do the work God made you to do.
4. Be Patient. God is going about a great work in you and he needs to align all of his plans to bring about his best for you. Wait on the Lord.
For all of us, there are times we find ourselves in the waiting room, on the bench, set aside and maybe even on an unknown journey to a foreign land. In those times, we can rest assured that the One who made us knows where we are, and why we are there.
He glories in seeing his children be obedient, and he glories even more when we live the life for which we were made. Take heart in doing the work God gave you to do while you are waiting on the opportunity to do the work God made you to do.
Dee Ann Turner is the Vice President, Enterprise Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc and the author of It's My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or her Website.