People often equate following your heart’s desire with movies, TV programs, and even romance novels. But there may be more important reasons why we have such a desire at all.
The purpose of this article isn’t to discuss desires in a general sense – like getting rich, famous or important. We’re going to focus on your life’s work. Maybe this is just my take, but I think that most people are working in fields and jobs that they have no serious interest in. And I think there are specific reasons why this is usually the case.
Most people choose a career early in life. They often do it based on external factors – peer pressure, parental pressure, or going into fields where “the money is good”. But none of those reasons will make for a satisfying career. That’s where following your heart’s desire becomes so important. Determining what that desire is, is much more important than most of us realize.
Separating Serious Desires From Frivolous Wants
We all have multiple desires in life, even as it relates to careers. We may decide we want to work for a specific employer, attain a certain rank in the organization, or work with certain people. But none of that really identifies the true desire as to why you want to do a certain kind of work.
The career that you have should be one that fits your personality, your talents, and your goals in life. So much of satisfaction in life is tied to your satisfaction with the work that you do. This should be an overriding objective – to determine the desire for your career, and then following it.
Your Heart’s Desire May Be Divinely Inspired
While we may think that our desires aren’t important – or that they’re even frivolous – there’s a very real possibility that they have been divinely inspired.
God has created each of us as unique human beings. Though we may share certain characteristics with certain groups of people, and with all of humanity in general, none of us are a carbon copy of anyone else. If God has created us to be unique, is it far-fetched to believe that He also put our desires in us?
Think about it – if we all wanted to be lawyers, engineers, or doctors – how could the world even function? The world also needs factory workers, secretaries, farmers, sailors – and yes, even singers, actors, and artists. All work together to create and maintain civilization as we know it.
Can something so important be beyond God’s provision? It’s highly doubtful. For this reason alone, most of us should give more time and attention – as well as action – to our hearts desire for our life’s work.
Getting Out Of Situations Where You’re “Dying On The Vine”
There’s another important reason to identify and follow your desire for your life’s work. If you work outside of your true element, you run the risk of burning out in the work you are doing. If you do that, it’s very easy to become jaded and cynical. Those are not qualities befitting a Christian – we’re to be the people of hope and faith.
Being in the wrong line of work can cause all of that happen. We can only spend so much time in life being in the wrong place before there will be the consequences. And by continuing to do work that we don’t like or aren’t particularly good at, we deny the world the benefit of work that we could do with passion and serious talent.
Finding That Niche Where You Can Thrive
Working in a niche where you’re not thriving is bad enough. But now add to the equation the fact that at the same time you’re not working in a niche where you can thrive. That’s not a life well lived.
One of the biggest reasons that people give for not following their hearts desire is the need to make money. It’s ironic then that you actually have the potential to make even more money by following your heart’s desire. By doing work that you are meant to do – working at what you are good at – there is a great likelihood that you’ll make even more money than you will by marking time in career you don’t feel strongly about.
[Learn how to know if now is the right time to make a career change.]
When it comes to a career, following your heart’s desire can be deceptive where money is concerned. Often the road to making better money is much longer and more crooked than the one into a more conventional position that you go into for money, benefits, and security. But if you just look beyond the moment – to that time in the future where you’ll be established in your desired career – you may be able see things differently.
Designing The Life You Were Meant To Lead
So much of your success or failure in life is determined by the work that you do. If you are operating outside of your natural career element, life can often be a struggle. Work is what we do most days of our lives; if you’re not particularly happy with it, then every day can be an exercise in drudgery. In addition, if you are just marking time in a career, your only respite will be retirement. That’s an awfully long time to wait for a lot of people.
But if the work you’re doing is actually your hearts desire, then every day has the possibility to be deeply satisfying. If you like what you do – and it may even be fairly effortless for that reason – then you’ll have more time, and less stress, to free you up to do whatever else it is you want to do with your life.
In this way, following the desire of your heart for your work can actually enable you to design the life you are meant to lead.
Let’s take the example of a person who follows his heart’s desire, but doesn’t make as much money as he could if as say, an engineer. But the lower income, lower stress, and better workflow allows him to spend more time pursuing another passion – working at a significant ministry in his church, or for a charity helping the less fortunate.
This is where we get back to the concept of divine design on our desires. For this person, it could very well be that God gave him a desire to do a certain type of work that would complement faith-based or charitable work.
We can never know where God is leading us in our lives – or what turns that will take. But maybe that’s why He gives us certain desires, to act as an internal compass. And maybe that’s why we should follow them.
Are you doing a certain type of work, but have a strong desire to be doing something else? What keeps you from following your desire?
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