Statistically, no. But spiritually, yes.
We fall into the trap that passion is something that comes from the external. We are taught that there is some holy grail that gives us complete fulfillment, whether this comes in the form of a job, a hobby, or another person. The truth is that passion comes from the internal. Things don’t bring us passion, we bring passion to things. Think of that janitor that is all too happy to be mopping floors, never caught without a smile or without positivity. Do we think that he derives joy and meaning from a custodial job? No. The actual truth is that he brings joy to the position he is in.
This backward way we approach work is so popular in our world today. We are looking for peace, meaning, and joy in all of the wrong places. An accountant who doesn’t see the value in being an accountant will never be the “happy janitor.” When someone looks down on the place they are in, a jealous and covenanting mindset kicks in. We start chasing things to compensate: title, status, and especially money.
The popular solution today is to pursue “happiness” or “meaningful work” or a “4 hour workweek.” If you believe in the theory we laid out above, that passion comes from within (well, from above, but we’ll get to that later) then this myth of “meaningful work” becomes just as detrimental as the pursuit of money or status.
It’s the same mistake.
The pursuit of external things with the mindset that it will bring us peace and meaning is perhaps the biggest plague that we face in Western society; we’ve been suffering from this passion pandemic much longer then we’ve been struggling with COVID-19.
Don’t believe me? Think of anybody in your life that is grappling with work. What are their reasons? Most of the time it’s a vanity game where they aren’t making enough money or they didn’t get the promotion that was “rightfully theirs.” It all stems back to the pursuit of outside sources of passion, peace, and meaning. What’s the solution? Where are they found?
Passion, purpose, and identity all come from the same place. They all, in their truest form, come from God.
Christians are no stranger to this Passion Pandemic; most of us know the downfalls of chasing money or status. However, what we are guilty of is believing in “second-class callings.” When we lose our sense of purpose in our jobs and already achieve the level of success we thought was necessary, we start rubbernecking towards the church. We start to believe our own version of the “meaningful-work” myth: if we aren’t professionally employed by the church or a full-time volunteer then somehow we missed the boat on God’s calling.
We hold Pastors and those always-smiling volunteers in such high esteem that we start to degrade who we are in our own professions. And make no mistake, this guilt isn’t reserved for those on the lower end of the corporate ladder. I’ve seen more C-Suite executives suffer from the “second-class calling” syndrome than entry-level positions. Why? Because they placed (almost) all of their value in their title. They set a goal, achieved it, but didn’t find a sense of purpose at the end of the tunnel. And even if they did, it wasn’t a permanent sense of self.
The fix for this problem is to realize that you are called to be exactly where you are. Yes, right there in that little office in Ohio or that cornfield in PA or that ranch in Montana. You are where you are supposed to be.
The problem isn’t the setting, it’s the mindset.
We believe that in order to be “On Mission for Christ” we have to drop everything we are doing and go to Haiti to build mud-huts and play barefoot soccer.
While missionary work is a crucial part of ministry, the mistake we make is putting too much emphasis on the setting. God’s work doesn’t have a physical office, set hours, or busy seasons. As Christians, we need to have the mindset that we are Always on Mission.
Always. Not only on Sunday. Not only when we feel like it. Always. That means grumpy Mondays at the office in the middle of summer and Corporate Christmas parties in December.
As Christians, there are no criteria when it comes to being on mission. It’s a 24/7 job. If that sounds exhausting to you, then you might be missing the point.
The truth is that this is the best way to approach your work, regardless of the metrics. Realizing Who you actually work for is the answer to all of your work related struggles.
When you go from working for your boss, working for a paycheck, and working for the weekend to realizing that you are actually placed in the position where He wants you and you are serving Him, your entire mindset changes. Mondays aren’t as bad, coworkers aren’t as incompetent, and the office coffee even tastes better (He really does perform miracles).
And what’s our user manual? Our how-to page? Our FAQ section? His word.
Almost every single biz book out there has Christian principles at its core. Don’t agree? Take GaryVee for example. What are his messages mostly composed of? Empathy, patience, love, hard work, etc. Those sound like Ephesians 4:2, Proverbs 14:23, and Romans 12:15 to me.
It’s been proven that the best way to do business is to produce real, genuine relationships. And the best way to build relationships is through Him.
If you started exalting your professional position using Him as the lens, the amount of peace, happiness, and success you will experience goes beyond comprehension.
The “vaccine” for our Passion Pandemic isn’t to chase, it’s to stay, shift, and build: stay where you are, shift your mindset, and build real meaning in Him.