We are blessed with an abundance of resources on how to live out our Vocations (married life, religious life, consecrated single life), and there are clear landmarks along the path towards Sainthood though the paths may look very different. I think it is a little more challenging to see the connections between serving God and our “small v” vocations such as our careers.
I became much more connected to God through a strengthened faith when I was almost done with college where I was pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. One of the questions that came in mind (and continues to come up pretty regularly) is: how can I serve God while I’m working as an engineer? It seems like it would be easier to answer that question if I was working in a ministry or organizations that aligned with Catholic social justice issues, but in my (admittedly short) time working as a process engineer, I have found a few ways that my job serves God and can aid me in growing in holiness.
1) This where God is calling me to be.
This alone should be a good enough answer; simply put, doing what God asks of us is the most direct path to holiness. Both my job and career are things I reflect on and try to talk to God about. Though it can be challenging at times, I know that it is best for me to be where He is asking me to be at this point in my life.
2) We need engineers.
As nice as it would be to have everyone in a ministry role, it just isn’t realistic. We need people in all sorts of jobs to keep our world functioning. I don’t have such an inflated sense of self to think that my specific job as a process engineer at a company that makes paper is critical for the well-being of the world, but in a general sense, it still has value.
3) Working as an engineer helps me with my Vocation.
As a wife, and hopefully a mother (God willing) in the future, I need to meet the needs of my family. While emotional and spiritual needs are incredibly important, the reality is that there are physical needs that necessitate money. Working as my husband and I discern God’s will when it comes to starting our family allows us to be better prepared to meet the basic needs of our future family.
4) Working as an engineer uses the gifts God gave me.
God made each of us unique and unrepeatable. With that comes a particular set of passions, interests and skills. God has blessed me with certain abilities that allow me to be a successful engineer.
5) My job gives me time and resources to serve God in other capacities.
Though my schedule is subject to change at times, I have a pretty typical schedule. Because of this schedule and being fortunate enough to live in a double-income household, we are able to dedicate our time and resources to the Church and our community.
6) I can be a witness.
There are an abundance of much holier and much more intelligent people who have been on Earth (and many of them are likely in Heaven), but I still think it is important for people to see Catholics doing “normal” things. As I mentioned earlier, we as Catholics need to fill a variety of roles, and as a Catholic woman, my options aren’t just be a nun or have 37 children. Don’t get me wrong; both of those are wonderful, amazing things, and I hope to experience the latter (at a much smaller number), but again, God gave us many different capabilities that we can use. I also don’t know who I could impact while working here. Maybe the Holy Spirit will work through me to reach someone.
Figuring out God’s plan for our lives can be challenging, but when we turn to Him, we can find meaning in our work and ways to connect to Him regardless of the work we are doing.
How does God challenge you to serve Him in the role or job you currently have?