More than 150 million workers in the U.S. face crossroads in their careers every year. According to a recent Gallup® poll, 70% of them are not engaged at work. Are you one of them?
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
We teach a 7-step process that helps people to hear and follow God’s calling, as they explore careers and search for the right job. Over 30,000 people have connected with us looking for help. The first step we recommend is to look upward.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.
Ken Boa in his book Face to Face sums it up this way:
Love God completely – Upward
Love yourself correctly – Inward
Love others compassionately – Outward
Because God loves you, you can love Him. You can begin to see yourself through His eyes, as His masterpiece created for good works. When you love yourself correctly, then you are free to love others compassionately. All of a sudden you are not just looking for a job or career. You are learning to seek and serve others who need most what you do best.
Now is your opportunity to learn how to make the most of every moment.
Imagine realizing your gifts, passions and calling at work. Think of yourself as an explorer – ready for adventure.
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time…
Ephesians 5:15-16 NASB
You are not too young, not too old. It is not too late. You are not stuck in muck. You can survive and thrive. Career crossing opportunities bring out the best in you and the best for you:
A 2013 survey of U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, finds that only 47.7% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. How about you?
Put a check mark beside each descriptor that applies to you:
Misemployed, miserable, unengaged or nervous because …
Happily employed, but …
Fulfilled and called …
Which words on the range of work situations best describe how you feel now?
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day at work? For most of us, the answer is unfortunately “No!”
In the United States, “the majority of American adults say they are not able to use their strengths to do what they do best throughout the day” according to 2012 Gallup® research.
You are God’s unique masterpiece created for good works. How different would your work life be if you could do what you do and like best every day? You would be happier and more productive.
Discover your gifts (experiences, abilities and personality) and your passions (what you like and value).
Look for opportunities with your current employer to offer your best. One major corporation’s career development program found that:
Don’t wait. Take charge of yourself and your career. Discover your best, and target new opportunities.
If you are anything less than fulfilled and fruitful in your work, you might be contributing to the problem without even realizing it. If you are doing anything less than your very best in your work, you are shortchanging yourself, your employer and God.
If you have a bad attitude about your work, your boss, your co-workers or any other aspect of your work, that attitude will effect your performance and relationships.
To maximize your career in your current job, consider this:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Does this describe you and how you work?
Are you working heartily and with sincerity of heart? Are you serving God in your job? Maybe you are thinking, “Yeah, but you don’t know my boss.” You’re right, but consider this:
… submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
1 Peter 2:18
If “harsh” describes your boss, it is especially important to take your attitude, positive motivation and performance to their highest. You may be ready to belt, bolt, blow off or disobey your boss. But hang in there! Give your boss the benefit of the doubt. You may not know what kind of pressure your boss is under, either at work or at home. For your own good – now and in the future – take a deep breath, put on a bigger smile, and help your boss succeed.
The Crossroads Career process consists of walking through 7 steps:
Notice in the diagram below that Upward is first and foremost. Attitude and Aptitude provide movement and direction that give your career Altitude, which then leads to Searching, Sorting and Selecting.
Step 1 is God’s calling. Steps 2-3-4 are planning the work. The last three steps are working the plan.
If you are actively searching for a new job, you are probably focused on steps 5 and 6. If you are exploring a career change, you might be more focused on steps 3 and 4. If you search for a very long time, you may experience walking from steps 1 through 7, and then have to go all the way back to step 1.
You will find it helpful to know every week where you are and what is next. Review earlier steps and make changes in what you are doing based on what you have learned so far.
Write down the step you are in right now:
How great would it be to hear and follow the upward call of God? Imagine getting up every day with the conviction that you are on the planet for a purpose. How fulfilled would you be to know that you and your work matter to God and that He is pleased? But how, you ask? Read through, consider and exercise 11 ways to hear and follow God’s calling.
1. Worship God
There is no calling without a Caller. Take dedicated time to worship, glorify, praise and thank Him. Then as you live and work every day from waking until sleeping, do everything to honor Him.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship … in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:2
2. Read and Study the Bible
The Bible is God’s authority and our manual for living. Consider it as bread, and feed from it every day. If you have never read the Bible, consider starting with the book of John, Ephesians or Psalms.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Be in conversation with God every day, perhaps multiple times during every day. He is always available. Pray for guidance. Read a Psalm as your own personal prayer.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
4. Listen to God
Prayer is two-way communication. In a journal, notebook or this Work Book, write thoughts that come to your mind for later reflection and Bible study.
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
5. Be with Christians
Spend time with Christians you like and who like you. Study the Bible together. Pray together. Encourage one another. Follow the ABCs of Accountability, Belonging and Care.
…consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
6. Seek Wise Counsel
Seek wisdom first from above (James 3:17) and then from other people. Some may be friends. Some may be strangers with whom we talk only once.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5
7. Consider Circumstances
Be a good steward of the opportunities God gives you. Consider each situation with God in prayer. Always measure your prayer, counsel and unfolding circumstances in light of the truth of the Bible.
Be very careful, then, how you live …making the most of every opportunity… Ephesians 5:15-16
8. Confess and Clear Your Head
A clear head is critical in thinking through options and seeking God’s leading. It is easy to become confused, especially if sin is getting in the way. Confess it, and clear it out every day.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us… 1 John 1:9 NASB
9. Be Alert for God’s Peace
As you consider various options and paths, be alert for the peace that transcends all understanding, even in the midst of the most chaotic of times.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
10. Keep a Journal
Keep track of what you learn from your Bible reading, thoughts you have during prayer, advice you receive from your friends, unfolding circumstances, and things that bring you God’s peace.
Thus says the LORD … “Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.” Jeremiah 30:2 NASB
11. Trust and Obey
There is no other way! If you think the Lord wants you to do something, and it seems to be in alignment with everything we have been talking about, then do it! If you hear Him, follow Him.
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21
Good news! God, who created the world and everything in it, wants to have a personal relationship with you. He made it possible by His Son paying the price for your sin, the only thing that separates you from Him. By accepting His Son as payment on your behalf, you can have a relationship with the Creator of the universe, starting now and for eternity.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 NASB
Even in the midst of the agony of defeat, it is possible to experience victory. You can discover that God is good. God is great. Seek Him and His righteousness, and all the other things He has prepared will be added to you. Work out your faith in Him upward, inward and outward. He made you for good works
Career, according to dictionary.com, means “an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework: He sought a career as a lawyer.”
Calling comes from the Greek KALEO, which means “to call anyone, invite, summon.” It refers primarily to a divine call as it relates to a vocation or redemption.
Based on the definitions above, what are the differences between career and calling? Write your thoughts about the differences below.
Pray for God to enlighten the eyes of your heart so you may know the hope of His calling.
I pray also that the eyes of [my] heart may be enlightened in order that [I] may know the hope to which he has called [me], the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength. Ephesians 1:18-19
You are your most important asset. Be a good steward of yourself. Invest time, money and effort in you.
If you are unemployed, invest 40 hours a week. If you are employed, invest 7 hours a week. Smart planning and weekly commitment are required. Finding the right work is hard work that takes time!
In light of how much money you want to make, answer the question, “How much am I willing to invest?” Set a budget and consider including these potential expenses.
$ Additional education, skills training, certifications, degrees
$ Career books, directories, publications or web services
$ Career assessments and perhaps hire a professional coach
$ Trade and professional association memberships and meetings
$ Extra phone, phone lines and charges; email & Internet access
$ Resumes, business cards and stationery; postage and shipping
$ Local or perhaps long distance travel and meals
$ New clothes and grooming
Whatever amount you decide, set aside the money and invest it wisely. Keep good records. Costs related to a job search may qualify as tax deductions. Check with the IRS, your tax preparer or an accountant.
This Work Book will work for you if you work hard at it. Read every page. Complete every exercise. Read and write every devotional. When you find tough areas, ask for help, encouragement and support.
Plan your activities and make progress every week using SMART goals.
Specific: Set goals that are measurable. Define exactly what you want to accomplish.
Moderate: Select 2-5 goals per week. Too many goals can be overwhelming.
Accountability: Show and tell somebody what you plan to do, and let them know how you did.
Record: It is helpful and motivating to keep a written record of your goals and progress.
Time-activated: Put in your calendar goals by days and times during the week.
Weekly Progress Review & Preview Exercise
Download and complete the Weekly Progress Review & Preview Exercise
Most people find that the more connections they make, the merrier it is for everyone
… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB
Some of the most popular environments are small groups for either support or study, workshops and network meetings where you meet other career explorers, learn job search skills, get ideas and find referrals to others. It is best to meet once a week at a regular time and place.
See if there are Crossroads Career ministries and American Job Centers near you by signing up or logging in to www.crossroadscareer.org. Also look for opportunities to connect with others through local business and professional networking groups; colleges and universities; job and career fairs; career and job placement centers.
To start a career ministry, job club or study group in your church or community, school or college, coaching or counseling practice, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800- 941-3566.
Using the Crossroads Career Work Book in a small group study, in workshops or with a friend/ mentor/coach is better than studying alone. The accountability, belonging and care with others multiplies your strength and wisdom. Here are tips for meeting with others:
Day of week:
Time from To
Facilitator : Phone:
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