More than a few times in my life I have had jobs I have really not liked. During those seasons, I never really wanted to talk about my work; I just didn’t want to be defined by something I hated. However, I was still very interested in talking about what others did for a living, especially people who said they liked their job.

The more disconnect I felt about my “calling” to something better, the bigger the grudge I felt about my bad jobs. “I’m better than this,” I’d tell myself. And if I had to share with someone what I did 40 hours a week (you know how some people just can’t let things go), I would always end with, “At least it pays the bills.”

After a few years of chasing the calling I never had, I ended up working at the same company where I once had a job I didn’t like. I’m still there now, in fact. Even though I tell myself that the company is different, and I have a better role now, the real reason I now like my job is because I see work differently. Going to work each day gives me a sense of God’s daily provision; it makes me more aware of the gifts he’s given me to allow me to be productive; I recognize ways to be creative and am regularly in situations where I have to choose to do what’s right. Being a person who does work allows me to bear God’s image in a way I couldn’t otherwise.

Wendell Berry has a similarly high view of work in his essay, “The Body and the Earth.”

“As the connections have been broken by the fragmentation and isolation of work, they can be restored by restoring the wholeness of work. There is work that is isolating, harsh, destructive, specialized or trivialized into meaninglessness. And there is work that is restorative, convivial, dignified and dignifying, and pleasing. Good work is not just the maintenance of connections–as one is now said to work ‘for a living’ or ‘to support a family’–but the enactment of connections. It is living, and a way of living; it is not support for a family in the sense of an exterior brace or prop, but is one of the forms and acts of love.”

I know work can be hard, and many workplaces are less than ideal. But having a sense of my high calling to work certainly does help when I find myself in tough situations on the job.

Speaking of our high calling, this is the last day of the High Calling Blog Tour. I hope you have had a chance to visit, signed up for membership on the website, or at least considered what it means to be living out your high calling.

By the way, I wanted to highlight two more articles I found over on The High Calling website. In “Because I’m Good at It”, John Poch explores the ideas of practice and discipline in all of our areas of calling. Just because we’re good at what we do doesn’t mean we can’t get better by working at our work. Also, Camy Tang’s “Even Pit Bulls Make Mistakes” talks about having integrity when we mess up. This article really hit home for me and my perfectionistic tendencies.

And don’t forget to stop by and visit some of the other tour guides if you want to learn more about The High Calling. (Their reviews have been much better and more thorough than mine; you’ll learn a lot from them!)

Gordon Atkinson
L. L. Barkat
Gina Conroy
Craver VII
Milton Brasher-Cunningham
Mary DeMuth
Karl Edwards
Every Square Inch
Amy Goodyear
Marcus Goodyear
Al Hsu
Chalres Foster Johnson
Mike McLoughlin
Eve Nielsen
Naked Pastor
Ramblin Dan
Camy Tang

* Wendell Berry essay, “The Body and the Earth” published in Culture and Agriculture: The Unsettling of America.

* More of my work is available at Barclay Press’ A Daily Journal. Here is today’s entry.