Whether you run a major conglomerate or sell computers at a box store, you have a job description that more or less clarifies the duties, responsibilities and parameters that make your job unique. Accomplishing your tasks at work gives you a sense of success and even fulfillment.
But true fulfillment encompasses all aspects of one’s life. When we are at peace with God, our family, our work and our place in relationship to all these things, we might truly claim that elusive state of being known as fulfillment.
Chances are that people who feel unfulfilled are trying to do God’s job for Him. Does that seem shocking to you? As a perfectionist who is always worrying about whether I am doing what God wants me to do, even though I know I cannot earn my way into heaven, I live in the not-so-friendly world of trying to do God’s job. The consequences are that I am often anxious, frustrated, or hopeless. By questioning my life’s purpose in this way, I am denying God the job He promises to do of having my back.
“A person’s steps are directed by the LORD,” the wise man of Proverbs tells us. “How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)
God’s word is replete with His admonition that we trust in Him. Jesus tells us not to worry because we cannot add one hair to our head. If God takes care of the birds and the meadows, He reminds us, how much more will He take care of us? The prophet Jeremiah is assured that God knew Him before the womb, sanctifying Jeremiah as a prophet before he took his first breath.
Whenever people try to take over God’s job in the Bible, trouble follows. When Ahab, the king of Israel, wants to go to war against Ramoth Gilead with the help of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, the two proceed against the advice of God’s prophet and attack the enemy even though God has said they will lose. By doing God’s job, the two kings fail, with Ahab actually losing his life (1 Kings 22).
How does a life look when we step aside to let God do his job? The Psalmist tells us that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD; and he delights in his way (37:23).” And why wouldn’t the good man be delighted? When we wake each day knowing we are going to strive to follow God’s laws and be open to the work He puts in our path, how can we be anything but assured in our way? If God can place the stars in the sky, surely He can guide the steps of an earnest believer like me.
Embracing God’s sovereignty in all things puts His job description into sharp perspective. God judges, so my job is not to be critical of people around me. God punishes, so my job is to forgive. God saves, so my job is to love. Solomon writes,
“The mind of man plans his way. But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9)
Even though I still have decisions to make each day, knowing that the really important ones have already been made by God is very freeing. I need to lean into the realization that I am where God wants me to be. If I keep doing my job of believing, praying, and studying and acting on His Word, God will work everything in my life to the good (Romans 8:28). Success isn’t the amount of money in my bank account or the number of people who know my name, but living by faith:
I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Using faith as the answer to why can take the angst out of a perfectionist’s world. Letting God do His job will truly make all the difference in mine.