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Career choices—God shows us the way!

From The Christian Science Journal - December 10, 2015

Originally written as a testimony in German, this first appeared in the December 2015 Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German editions of The Herald of Christian Science.

The following Bible verse from Proverbs encapsulates the experience I’m about to share: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6). Like so many others, I was taught, both at home and at school, to reason wisely and get counsel from others before making a decision. Sometimes this approach may prevent one from making rash and ultimately wrong decisions; however, I have found that there is another option: turning to God and trusting His guidance. And I have found this to be the approach that yields the biggest blessings.

Several years ago I was working as a social worker. I loved my job. It was never dull, and it satisfied my desire to do something meaningful. The relationships, both with my colleagues and with my supervisors, were appreciative and supportive. However, the job didn’t allow me to make full use of all my talents. So over time I felt the desire to return to the business world, where I had worked previously for ten years. 

I was longing to take on greater responsibilities. I constantly felt the impulse to change my line of work, week after week. Also, four of the five families that I was caring for at the time had made sufficient progress in stabilizing their situation, so much so that they were ready to live independently, which meant they would not need to adapt to a new social worker in the event of my leaving.

I felt an inner conviction that now would be the right time to make a change. It almost seemed as if I were heeding a voice, similar to what’s being described in the following verse from Isaiah: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (30:21). 

I felt an inner conviction that now would be the right time to make a change.

Very soon, specific ideas began to unfold in line with taking this direction. However, there were also thoughts “left and right” trying to throw doubts on my desire to rely on spiritual unfoldment. One such “obstacle thought,” for example, was the generally held opinion that it’s more difficult to find a job when one is unemployed, since employers tend to be reluctant to hire unemployed individuals. Another thought that made me anxious concerned the possibility that I would be taking a financial risk—how would I possibly get by for an extended period of time without sufficient income?

I really had to wrestle with these inner conflicts and pray about them. My prayers helped me realize that I could rely on the following facts:

1. God provides for me.
2. God’s unfoldment for me is always right.
3. God causes me to express all the spiritual qualities and capabilities He has given me, and this benefits all.
4. God is leading me.
5. I don’t need to know the details of God’s unfoldment for me ahead of time.
6. I’m linked only to God and am able to hear His direction. And I will follow with a willing heart.

I had learned these facts in Christian Science, and they had proven true several times in my life already. I didn’t need to feel anxious about what my chances were to find a new job, and how long my savings would last. I knew that our provision comes from God. I got a very clear sense that a change was upon me and that I should quit my current job. And that’s what I did.

The experience continued to unfold in a wonderful way, even though it didn’t look like it at first. The situation with the job market in my area of interest was not very promising; too many people were applying for very few openings. In addition, I was worried that the gaps in my CV (curriculum vitae, which is often similar to a résumé) might be of concern to potential employers—my CV was a bit unusual because I had held a variety of jobs in different areas over the past 15 years. Nevertheless, I knew that I couldn’t be penalized for this, since I had prayed earnestly before taking the step to quit. 

I diligently applied for all openings that fit my profile. And my “spiritual antenna,” or spiritual sense, was daily and hourly “tuned in”—in other words, my focus was on following divine guidance. I knew that my provision comes from God because I am His expression, and He expresses all good in me, and I had often experienced the truth of this idea in my life. The following words from a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal were my constant companion during this time:

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me.
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
(Joseph H. Gilmore, No. 95)

I continued to apply for jobs, without any visible sign of success. But I affirmed that God had the right place for me, and that it would become clear at the right time. And I waited patiently.

Then in January my wife and I had to decide whether to go forward with our plans for a four-week vacation. I hadn’t taken a vacation in years, but I worried that I might get invited to an interview during those four weeks and miss my chance. I wholeheartedly prayed to God in order to know what to do, and through my prayers I gained the conviction that I would be able to go on vacation with my wife without suffering any disadvantages.

A week before our departure I got a call from the personnel office of one of the companies I had applied to. They asked if I could come in for an interview in a few days. I was thrilled, and my heart rejoiced. The interview went very well. I had the feeling that I was a strong candidate, but I also sensed that there were a couple of questions that the company might need further clarification on. 

God causes me to express all the spiritual qualities and capabilities He has given me, and this benefits all.

What to do? Cancel my vacation after all? But as I prayed again about the situation, the thought came to me: “If they ask you to come in for a second interview, why don’t you inquire if it would be possible to interview online via Skype?” And that’s exactly what happened. After ten days I got invited to a second interview, and the company agreed to interview me via Skype. In this second interview the remaining questions could be clarified. One week after I got back from vacation I started my new job. I was so happy and grateful! The new work was interesting and meaningful, and it included many responsibilities and proved to be an important steppingstone in my professional career.

I’m so grateful for this experience, because it showed me that God will reveal what is best for us. Each of us can daily grow and blossom, or, in other words, experience progress and unfoldment. What we need to do is to be humble and let God guide us. Led by Him, we are always safe.

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