I wrote a Russian friend recently telling her about my visa situation, and she wrote back saying that she wished me luck, whether I returned to Russia or decided to "stay home" and start my "career."
That made me wonder, just what have I been doing all this time if I haven't started my career? Just what is a career, and how do you know when you've started it? And why is it important?
The first word that comes to mind when pondering the meaning of career is "profession." People in Russia are always asking me what my profession is, and I dislike answering. I suppose for simplicity's sake I'm a teacher, but I really dislike putting my life in a box like that. I've been teaching informally for about 8 years; what difference does it make if I earned money from it or not?
If career relates to education, I have studied many subjects. Why does it matter what degree I've earned? I've poured out passion into subjects that I only studied for one semester, and I could earn a Master's degree in something I'm not passionate about. Why does it matter what's on paper?
There is also the question of calling. How does calling relate to career? If I'm called to show compassion towards orphans, do I have to have that on a piece of paper? Can I write it on a resume?
Many missionaries consider Missions to be their career. When they say this, I believe they mean that it is their life's calling. When investigating further, you find out that they're church-planters, Bible translators, humanitarian aid distributors, etc. But tasks and assignments change and grow, even when your goals in life remain the same.
I don't want to split my life into pre, during, and post-career. And I'm glad that God doesn't either. I sought Him when I was young, and I hope that I will find ways to serve Him when I'm old and feeble.