What Do Emotions Have to Do with Career and Calling?

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Discovering what moves you could be the key to discovering your God-given direction in life.

One day as I sat in the airport waiting to board a flight, I spoke with a young woman, a graduate student studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “If there was one thing you could do with your life, what would that one thing be?” I asked.

“I’d have my own overseas medical lab,” she said. “But I don’t think that will ever happen. It’s just too big of a risk and there’s too much to lose.”

This young woman has the desire to have her own lab. It is her dream—and perhaps God has placed this desire in her heart. But because she is looking too much at the obstacles, her passion has been destroyed so her emotions may never give way to action.

This is tragic because without passion it’s tough to get past the obstacles that always come with fulfilling your calling. If you look too much at what could go wrong, and you shove down your passion, you will never start moving toward your God-given purpose.

In Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah allowed passion to move him to action. When he learned what happened to Jerusalem—that its wall had been broken down—he wept. Then, for “some days” he mourned and fasted and prayed before God. Finally, he solicited the King for what he needed to rebuild the wall. Passion moved him to tears, then to prayer, then to action.

What are your emotions telling you? Take note of when they are moved; these times can be a sign of your God-given calling or purpose. Anger, sadness, longing, and other powerful emotions can be good indicators of how God wants to use you for His purposes.

I get fired up about the godless condition of the world. When I hear about little children being abused, I get angry. When someone tells me a story about loyal love, I am deeply moved. An exquisite arrangement of words on a page fills my heart with passion. A story of someone’s heartbreak grieves me. Talking about Christ stirs me up. When coupled with my talents, these passions point in the direction of my purpose of written and spoken communication about things that deeply impact people on a spiritual and emotional level.

Listen to your emotions and then take them to God. Ask Him, “Lord, is there a reason that this desire has always been with me? Lord, do you want to use me in this way?” Perhaps He is speaking to you through your passions. Finally, don’t look too much at the obstacles that are down the road. It will destroy your passion—and your action.

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