Finding my profession

Posted: 2018/09/27

True reliance is for the servant to pursue his profession and calling in this world, to hold fast unto the Lord, to seek naught but His grace, inasmuch as in His Hands is the destiny of all His servants. – Bahá’u’lláh Aṣl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr (Words of Wisdom), Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

My 20s have been an unexpectedly busy time of planning, decision making and preparation. One of the things I have been searching for is a profession that I can pursue for many years of my life. I’ve worked in a few different fields and I’ve started to see how my work is another avenue through which I can to contribute to society. Regardless of exactly what you’re doing, if done with love for God and humanity, it is a way to offer your skills to the world and contribute meaningfully to the lives of others.

It was my love for God that clarified my process of searching for a career. When I turn my heart to Him, focus my sight on the vision of a life of service that He has offered us and remember, with gratitude, the many gifts that I’ve been given and the beauty of the world we’ve been placed in, I find myself longing to offer my talents and gifts to society through my work. The challenge for me was that there seemed to be far too many potential paths to take – which one would fulfill me? Which one would allow me to offer the most to society? There didn’t seem to be any clear answers.

Since I was seven years old I believed that I was going to do one thing and one thing alone. I’ve also had to contend with societal expectations and the belief that some professions are better, more noble, more prestigious or more respected than others. It has been so difficult for me to let go of these misguided beliefs to see that there are other options that suit me.

But, when combined with the love of God, identifying my path became much easier. The purpose of my career came into sharper focus: service to humanity and the development of my talents and abilities. With that in mind I found I was better able to be detached from society’s expectations and my own stubborn ideas of professional accomplishment. I could finally see that there are things that I could do so much better because they truly match my talents.

I think my ability to perceive confirmations was also enhanced as I focused on the love of God. I was more consciously looking for them. With many choices before me, I started to work towards the potential careers I shortlisted and found that as I investigated each one the picture of my life became clearer. I could see what a future in each could look like and which options offered space for the service and growth I want in life. And, as with any confirmation, I found some doors opened and others didn’t.

Thinking about my career as another avenue for service alongside other aspects of my life actually changed my choice of career and how I see myself working within it. It helped me to see the value in pursuing the many elements in my life that allow me to grow and contribute to society: my family life, my community life, my personal relationships, my hobbies and skills and, of course, my profession. Rather than all my service coming from one aspect of my life and the rest being there for just my personal benefit, or to simply support the “service-focused” element, I can see how every part of my life contributes to my dedication to Bahá’u’lláh and His vision for humanity.

Realizing that these different elements are all valuable contributions to humanity helped me see my life as a canvas filled with many colours. Together they blend and enhance one another to make this beautiful picture of a life of service.

I don’t think there is any formula or one way to live a life that is focused and guided by the love of God, but I think that as we concentrate on Bahá’u’lláh’s vision and make sincere and honest efforts to express this in our lives, learn from each other, share our tests and confirmations and take time to think and reflect along the way, we find ourselves closer to this goal, little by little.

For me, pursuing this career will mean going back to school and I see that as part of the picture of a life of service. As I turn my focus towards this new and exciting endeavour, I’ll be searching for ways to infuse it with the love of God and let my eagerness to serve Him be my guide. For now, I’ll be doing all I can to prepare myself for this career and I’ll continue to develop the other aspects of my life while focusing on my studies – they are, after all, part of one beautiful canvas.