I received these honest and relatable thoughts from two different individuals a day apart.
“I feel heavy, depressed and weighed down at work. The only thing I’m interested in is spirituality, God and anything to do with God, I devour books on God, but I can’t see my vein of gold in all of this. Do you have any suggestions, anything I should be doing to get to the core of what I’m to do?”
“I am so far from my heart right now, I feel like I’m on life support…I don’t feel ‘alive’ anymore. I’ve tried so many careers, always ending the same, they just don’t fit ‘me’. As soon as I master them I grew disinterested. I really want to express God’s glory to the world, I just feel worthless and put on the shelf, dusty and unmoved.”
Here is my reply:
Breakthrough, not breakdown
The first thing I want to say is that you are not alone in this state of confusion and discouragement. Rather than this being a problem that you’ve created, perhaps it is a holy-dissatisfaction that comes with your new life in Christ. With a heightened awareness that you were created by God to bring something of significance, beauty and strength to this world, you will never be completely satisfied with any position or place.
Ultimately, we don’t want our life to be a job description, but rather a mission, a unique contribution to something that really matters, our God-given capability (who we truly are). Only God can guide us through our holy dissatisfaction into our true mission.
As we grow into the person we were designed to be (in capability and character), our position / place / assignment will adjust because we have become more and better.
So, don’t interpret your disinterest and discouragement with work as “there must be something wrong with me” or “I must have missed it”. Take it as God’s invitation to more, as you are becoming more. Perhaps your present sense of “depression” and “worthlessness” is a sign of your heart’s awareness of God’s invitation to the next thing that He is preparing you for and about to show you. View this as a precursor to breakthrough, not breakdown.
Awareness, not Absence
Secondly, it’s not a question of, why hasn’t God given me desires that reveal who I truly am and what I bring to this world. It’s a question of, what’s blocking my awareness of those desires and God’s voice. There is never a simple, straight-forward answer to this question because there are usually many things at play.
- The health of your heart (your soul, the real you, your inner life)
- The confluence of all the events of your life (things said to you, things done to you, your experiences) and the resulting beliefs of your heart.
- The assault against your life and calling (spiritual warfare, worldly warfare and fleshly warfare)
- The timing and training of God
- The discovery and deepening process
So, it’s not the absence of desire that you’re struggling with, it the awareness of desire and what it means. Give it time and careful examination, like an archaeologist uncovering artifacts with a small shovel, brush and a journal. Panic or desperation can cause us to overlook or damage important pieces.
Here are a few things that might increase your awareness:
- Put on your oxygen mask – give your heart some breathing space – some rest and rejuvenation. Do something you enjoy for a few hours or a few days. Take a break on your calling quest.
- Wear a heart monitor – stay alert to your heart’s reaction to everyday situations: conversations, environments, tasks, TV shows/movies, books and people. Then ask God what your excitement, anger, boredom, jealousy, enthusiasm or disengagement with these things was about.
- Take a survey – Ask a few close friends, what you were doing or saying when you seemed most alive, most dialed-in.
- Play CSI – write down and analyze all the data you receive from the things I mentioned above.
- Get sequestered – get alone with God and let Him speak without competing or interrupting voices.
Consistent and Unpredictable
Graham Cooke said that God is consistent (in character) and unpredictable (in actions) and we tend to be inconsistent and predictable. I find this to be true, on both accounts. So, let me encourage you to be consistent in “asking, seeking and knocking” and watch for God to be consistent in “giving, finding and opening” in unpredictable ways. (Matt. 7:7)
PS. I encourage you to watch Discovering Your Calling video series
Video: The Design on Your Life