When Your Job Clashes with Your Convictions

by Joy Emery

I will never forget that uneasy feeling after landing my first job following college. In my hand, I held a diploma with a degree in physical education and a concentration in adult fitness. In my heart, I held Christian convictions. And on my resume, I finally held a full-time position as an assistant manager at a fitness center. What I didn't hold was a peace about the company's vision and passion.

When Your Job Clashes with Your Convictions

The fitness center's philosophy was to sell contract memberships to anyone who walked in the door. The longer the contract, the better. Financially able or not, committed to a fitness program or not, the company wanted a contract signed and the money on the table before the person left the center. Sure, the center would put the person on an exercise plan. But, after the plan was explained, the person was on her own to continue. Support and encouragement were not part of the focus of the center.

After several restless nights of conviction and grinding my teeth in my sleep, I set up an appointment with my dentist. I thought a problem with my teeth, jaw, or mouth was causing my discomfort. My wise dentist helped me see that my problem was not a condition of the mouth but of the heart. He asked what I was doing since graduating from college, discovered my job stress, and asked me to reflect on what really gave me peace.

In that dentist office, I received permission to quit a job that wasn't a fit for my Christian worldview and passion for people. I walked away from that dental chair with more than a smile; I walked away with peace.

So, what do you do when you must make decisions regarding a job that clashes with your convictions?

Seek advice from a Christian parent, friend, or counselor

Sometimes, you need to hear from a trusted friend that it is okay to quit something. In our success-driven world, you may need a reminder that quitting can be a good thing - and might be best thing you can do.

Don't feel trapped

As a young graduate whose friends were landing their first full-time jobs, I could have held on to a job for the sake of just having something. But the lack of peace would not have been worth the income.

Satan likes for us to feel trapped in our careers. He enjoys finding us in places that beg us to compromise, hoping that one day the line between principle and compromise will become so fine that we cross it without thinking. I wanted to get out before the pressure to sell memberships overpowered what I knew was best for people.

Pray and trust God

Sometimes, praying and trusting God sounds like a trite answer to life's problems. But when you take your needs to God and allow Him to provide, you find His peace.

Sometimes, you will ask for answers, but they won't come quickly or are not what you anticipated. In those situations, you must trust His timing. You know that He doesn't desire for you to be part of a company or activity that takes advantage of people. You can also know that He will honor your response to get out and seek employment elsewhere.

Get in touch with your passions and find a job that fits

You might have to take a job just to pay the bills until you find one that matches your passions. But God will honor you for settling temporarily while you seek a job that better fits who you are. Talk with those in a field of work that interests you. Ask for leads and names of people to contact. Then, work toward finding a job that fits your passion and doesn't clash with your Christian convictions.

Feel empowered

You are in the driver's seat. You don't have to keep your current job. You can seek other employment. You can find a way to go back to school to further your education. These are all choices that you can make. The key is to make them with your heart and ear bent toward God's best for you.

A friend of mine once said that the two most powerful words he could give His employer were, "I quit!" He was right. You are in your current position by choice. And today, you can choose to make changes.

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