Have you ever found yourself thinking, What am I supposed to be doing with my life?
Maybe you’re already praying, “God, would you show me what you want me to do? To be? I’ll do whatever you want, just tell me what it is!”
It’s the million dollar question, the one we want desperately answered.
Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown, or the need for assurance; to know we’re taking the right steps, going down the right path.
The added pressure from outside noise can make things even more complicated. You might be getting advice (wanted or not) from your parents, teachers, extended family. Your pastor might be encouraging you to seek the will of God, find out what He wants for your life.
Let's take a look at what God intended from the very beginning.
When God created the world, the heavens and the earth, and every living creature, He formed mankind in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” He then instructs them to take care of the earth. We call this the Imago Dei, being made in the image of God.
It’s easy to take this concept and apply it to what we “do.” We’re caretakers, we’re farmers, we’re planters. We’re leaders, organizers, and planners.
Being made in the Imago Dei is a little more complicated. It’s a relational concept as much as a logistical one.
We’re made in God’s image so we can connect with Him and have a relationship with Him. It doesn’t mean that God is like us, it means we are a little bit like Him. Enough that we can know Him on an intimate level.
What does this have to do with my life? you might be asking. Everything.
After the great debacle in the garden, after that first bite of apple, after “the fall of man” as theologians refer to it, everything that has been created is met with discord. Everything goes from order to disorder. Sadly, this discord colors the relationship between God and man, along with our roles and responsibilities.
We’re supposed to be living in harmony with God and creation. We're supposed to have our needs met, without any toil of our own, happily playing the role of caretaker. With a bite of apple, our work turns into a grueling need for survival. However-many-thousands-of-years later, it looks like spreadsheets and graphic design and multimedia marketing campaigns. But that’s just the cliff notes.
Enter Jesus, who lives a perfect life, and sacrifices Himself so that we can be granted mercy when we don’t deserve it. As Christians, we are called to live like Christ. The Imitatio Christi, the imitation of Christ.
Jesus brings harmony to the discord that plagues us. When we live in the Imitatio Christi, we are choosing to live like Christ, bringing harmony to the discord we encounter. It means choosing harmony in our own hearts, and harmony with others.
No, this doesn’t mean we sit happily around a campfire singing our favorite worship songs. True harmony looks like peace and (agape) love, whether we feel peaceful and loving, or not.
We are created in the image of God, and are called to live our lives in the imitation of Christ. The relationship between the two, Imago Dei and Imitatio Christi, has to do with God’s original intention for man, before the fall. We were created in God’s image, with roles and responsibilities on the earth, and to be in right relationship with Him.
What does this have to do with my career path? you ask again.
God cares about your career path, and He cares about your life. If you’ve given your life to Him, you are His child.
But - and this is a big but - when we look at God’s original intentions for us, we can see that He cares way more about our relationship with Him than our career path.
The thing is, you can take the wrong path, and He can still use you. Your detour will not deter Him.
When you grow in Scripture, become spiritually mature, sit at his feet, strengthen your prayer life, He can use you.
When you have an intimate and abiding relationship with Him, He can use you, any time, and anywhere.
On the flip side, you can choose the right career path, but without maintaining a relationship with God, He has little room to use you.
This will ultimately lead to a strained and “surfacy” relationship. Our relationship with God is like any other. If we invest in it, the closest friendship blooms; if we neglect it, the friendship grows stale.
Created in His image, God is always inviting us closer. He will always want a more intimate relationship with you. He wants all of you, and He wants to give you all of Himself.
You may catch yourself wondering aloud, “What am I supposed to be doing, God??” Resist the temptation to demand an answer, and ask Him for more of Himself, instead.
When we do this, when we live in the Imitatio Christi, we are fulfilling the initial role that God intended for us, the true Imago Dei. This is what we’re supposed to be doing with our life. Everything else is just details, that He always manages to fill in for us, in His time.
Becky Nance is a mom of three girls, and wife to a worship pastor in central Iowa. She holds a M.A. in Ministry from Wesley Seminary with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. Becky spends much of her time mentoring young women, nurturing her babies, and crafting words to help shape the way we think about God.