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Navigating the tension of career & calling (Issue 19)

By Lyndon Rogers

I sat silently, studying. Laptop, papers everywhere, empty cups of coffee. Law library. Everything in order. I had under an hour until presenting my law honours paper on different models of youth justice. Compulsory attendance. Percentage of my honours grade. The pressure was on.

My phone rang. “Help.”

One of the young people I do youth work with. A young woman. For the record, I’m a young guy.

“What’s up?”

“My dad, the police, I have nowhere to live, please help.” Sobs.

“What would you like from me?”

“Help. Now. Come please.”

“Is it urgent, or can I come in a few hours?”

“Come now please, I don’t know what’s happening, I need help.

Everything in her world was out of order. What to do?

In law, like any path in life, we always live in the tension between what we believe in and what’s best for our career.

As I see it, following a career path is relatively simple. Achieve. Do what you’re told. Copy the people in front of you. In some ways, it’s like being in a jogging group or a 60-year-long queue: follow along and remember to steer a bit from time to time.

Doing what you believe in is much more like bush-whacking down-hill. How have others dealt with this situation? Well, I dunno. There’s no-one to copy. Has anyone even been in this gully before, or on this ridge? I heard of one community who did something like this. Pray. Know your context. Make it up.

The scriptures are full of people who found new ways to live. The paths they walked weren’t well-trodden. Those people were creative. They were courageous. They believed in a Living God who went before them – and our Living God is how they found their route. God’s Spirit is creative and courageous.

I don’t know anyone who lives hard-out creatively and courageously every day. Finding new ways to apply their skills, personality, essence and abilities to situations that a lot of others put in the too-hard basket. But I know some people who live that way once in a while, and their lives are extraordinary.

Overseas mission is one moment in your life when you live that different way. I can’t wait to go overseas to Nepal in a couple of years. But you can live in that different way the rest of the time too. Jesus’ footprints are all over the world – not just somewhere else in the world. With his creativity, you can find them. And with His courage, you can follow him.

Lyndon lives in an intentional community in Bryndwr, Christchurch and works part time as a Social Justice advocate for the Anglican Church. After graduating with a law degree he went straight into full-time work, trying to fit his calling around his career. Recognizing that this wasn’t the best way forward, he rearranged his life so as to put his calling (and the Kingdom) first. In doing so he has learned how to use his education creatively and for Kingdom goals.

For more about Anglican Social Justice in Christchurch visit www.anglicansocialjustice.org.nz