Changing Careers? How About Doing It God’s Way?

Are you thinking about changing careers? Thinking about your next career move? Considering retiring? Pondering the ideal early retirement and perfect post retirement activities? Ten years ago, I answered yes to each question. Then I heard this “nagging inner voice” telling me to let it go, and listen to God’s goal. Uncomfortable, distraught, fearful, I knew I needed to heed that voice and follow God’s lead.

Changing Careers? God’s Goals Are Perfect

Moses’ interaction with God in the book of Exodus when God chose Him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt showed me I needed to rely on God. I knew in my head He had the perfect goal, plan, and timing to show me when to move on to something else He prepared for me. But, did I believe with my heart, and with my legs, too? Besides, I knew I had to forget logic, skills, friendly advise from family, colleagues, as God’s call wasn’t depended on my skills, abilities, or logic. I was sure God would give me what I needed to do His call–Moses and Joshua exemplify this–yet, I hesitated.

Changing Careers? Your Goal Is To Lean On God

Changing Careers? Follow The Shepherd
Changing Careers? Follow The Shepherd

After much agony, prayer, reflection, I decided my goal was simple: focus on where I was, continue to work as if working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), and be ready to leave my job at God’s appointed time. This was hard to accept, especially when I knew I was good at my job, and my employer appreciated me and compensated me well. I accepted the key was to get to know God’s specific will by staying in His Word continually–talking, listening, and being sensitive to His Spirit.

Changing Careers? God’s Timing Is Perfect

Abraham and Sarah’s lives (Genesis 18:1-18) reminded me God’s call on our lives is not age-dependent.  He might want you to give up well-paid careers early, when, according to the world’s standards, you are in your prime. Then, will you be willing to do God’s job, which, in the world’s eyes might be unattractive? You won’t know until this decision confronts you.

At age 55, as a senior executive in a multinational corporation, with significant assured earnings ahead, the Lord showed me clearly I should leave my 32-year business career, which I loved and said often I would have paid to do. I faced three tough questions as I dealt with the leaving decision:

  1. How much is enough money to save for this change in occupation?
  2. If God is in charge, knows the future, and involved in His plans for my life, why should I save?
  3. Why shouldn’t I spend all current income feeding the poor?

How Much is Enough

To answer the first question, I had to fall back on God’s Word. I needed to remember there are no scripted answers that fit all circumstances. It’s never about the money. It’s all about obedience. I am a follower of Messiah. I must accept His loving, caring, perfect leadership. Jesus is in control. Therefore, I must surrender to Him and He will take care of me.

How much is enough? Surrendering to Jesus is enough.

Why Should I Save

The answer to the second question is the same as the previous question. Listen to the Lord and do as He leads. When He says give, give! When He says save, save. Again, I needed to remember there are no scripted answers that fit all circumstances. God has given me a free will to choose, and wants me to be prudent and wise with everything He entrusts to me. He wants me to obey Him always, and to depend on Him for everything.

The answer to the third question is the same, too. Listen to the Lord. Obey Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Is God Calling You To Change Your Career?

So, if He says to change my career or job, I must lean on Him and “just do it!”

In August 2002, I did! He led me to my current full-time, unpaid mission.  Though I wrestled with this matter for over a year, leaving was one of my most peaceful and joyous moments.

Are you thinking of changing careers? Do you sense God calling you out from where you are? If you are apprehensive, that’s normal. His call might seem illogical, as in my situation. Don’t depend on logic, depend on Him, His promises, His faithfulness. If you are waiting for all pieces to be intact before you move, you are waiting to act without depending on Him. Stay close to Him, listen to His voice, and you will know when to leave!

For Christian financial advice about God and money, debt free living tips, debt solutions, and more on Michel A Bell, visit: Managing God’s Money.

Copyright (c) 2010, Michel A. Bell.

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Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a former senior business executive, author of five books, speaker, and adjunct professor of business administration at Briercrest College and Seminary. He is founder and president of Managing God's Money, a private mission devoted to teaching biblical stewardship of time, talent, money and other resources. Visit Managing God's Money

3 thoughts on “Changing Careers? How About Doing It God’s Way?

  1. Hi Michel,

    I was a working mom until June 2010. My job pays very well and provided material things for my family. But it has given me high level of stress that affected the most important people in my life. Extended hours at work made me weaker, physically and spiritually. I prayed hard (more than a year) about it and now I am happier. I and my husband were afraid of being me out of work but I have trusted the Lord that I am giving up my career to be a better wife and a mother to my kids.

    Presently, I am looking for work and trusting Him that brighter things are on its way as I have followed his command in Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first Hist kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”.

    Truly, I can say that money cannot buy the happiness my God and my family has given me.

  2. Dear Michel,

    Thanks so much for discussing this topic as I’m already at the edge of making a career shift. I have always been in control of my life, decision-making and planning the path I have to take to meet goals; but then unexpected things started to come in: health issues that would take me in and out of the hospitals/clinics, marital problems, husband’s unstable employments, daughter’s education got messed up, financial difficulties and these all happened in the last 15 years, at least.

    Your article has made me open my eyes and contemplate on what has happened in the past. It made we also wonder if God has other plans for me, which I may have been ignoring all these years. I’m now seriously considering to let go of my present job simply to take away if not, lessen the stress-related ailments that it has already caused me. I’m hoping that God would eventually show me the right path to take. I’m totally surrending everything to Him, and firmly accept God’s plans and purposes whatever it may be. Honestly, I’m scared of change, of the unknown, of uncertainties in our lives, of what the future holds not just for me but for my family as well. But with God’s blessings and graces, I do hope and pray that I would eventually find my way….. I know God will not forsake us, and He would take good care of us. Thanks again for write-up and for affirming that we all need to rely/lean on God for He is our strength. And inspite of all the negative feedbacks I get from people, I should continue believing in God and His plans for us.

    Best Regards,

  3. Dear Michel.

    I am with you on this. Always being self assured, in control and successful; I have suffered ill health, divorce and financial difficulty in the last 15 years.

    I have sold my farm and am making a change in my career to financial consulting where Gods gifting to me can be better used. It is scary place because I feel out of depth.

    Thank you for reminding me to lean on God – it is confirmation of the provision and opportunities that God constantly blesses me with.



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