Episode 1. Start Living Your Gig
Listen to the radio broadcast
Download audio file
Have you ever tried to hammer a square peg into a round hole? Doesn’t work so well does it. Generally, the hole survives just fine, put the peg ends up as a mangled mess. So why is it that so many …
Have you ever tried to hammer a square peg into a round hole? Doesn’t work so well does it. Generally the hole survives just fine, put the peg ends up as a mangled mess. So why is it that so many people – people even who believe in Jesus – are trying to live out their lives as square pegs in round holes?
When I was young – finishing high school and making my career choices, I came very, very close to making a couple of major mistakes. I was blessed to be a fairly academically inclined so I basically had my choice of whatever university course my heart desired.
There were three on my shortlist. Medicine, law and an Information technology degree. Back in those days medicine was by far the favoured career. It was seen as the pinnacle of achievement and certainly my father wanted me to study medicine.
Law was right up there as well. Both of those professions appeared to pretty much guarantee a big income.
This whole IT thing was pretty new. The question was, which one to choose. As things turned out, I’d been accepted to train as an Army Officer, undertaking a four-year IT degree along the way, and it was that sense of excitement of a military career which, as a young man, to be honest with you, which swung me to that decision.
As I look back on that choice now – I thank God that I didn’t choose medicine or law. I can’t stand the sight of blood pretty much, which is not exactly the sort of prerequisite you want to have for a career as a doctor. And the law, as I discovered later, is all about detail. Lots and lots and lots of detail, and whilst I can handle detail from time to time, it’s not my first love. I would have ended up drowning in it.
I think back to that pivotal career decision that I made way back when I was seventeen and a half years old – with not a lot of life experience to draw on exactly and I shudder at how easily I could have chosen something that I wasn’t suited to.
I literally would have found myself living my life as a square peg in a round hole – and that, I imagine would be an incredibly uncomfortable position to find myself in.
There’s a basic rule or life principle if you will, that goes something like this: square pegs belong in square holes, and round pegs, well … they belong in round holes. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out do you now? And yet, as I said at the beginning of the program, so many people are living life as a square peg in a round hole.
A large survey conducted in the US not so long ago revealed that only 19% of workers were satisfied with their job. Which means that 81% weren’t satisfied with their job. Of those, 16% were somewhat dissatisfied, and the rest really weren’t happy. That’s pretty much Pareto’s 80/20 law – with the vast majority unhappy.
Another global survey found that over half – 56% of people – wanted to find a new job.
Now, there can be many reasons for those terrible statistics. Pay and conditions, poor management are just two. But if I were a betting man – which I am not – I would put money on the table that one of the major reasons is that people are doing jobs that they’re just not suited to.
You yourself know that there are some things in life that give you great satisfaction, and other things that leave you completely drained. Now that I’m getting older, I watch people who are grandparents. We have one couple who lives a few doors away on the same floor in our apartment block, who look after a different set of their grandchildren almost every day of the week, while the parents work.
Other grandparents, can’t stand the thought of having to look after children, because it’s just not what they enjoy doing. They brought up their own children, and now they want a break from all that.
And so wherever there is a mismatch between the requirements of the role and the natural motivations and talents and abilities of the individual – there you have a square peg, in a round hole. And it’s generally not the hole that feels the pressure. The role is what the role is. The requirements of the position don’t change. It’s the individual who has to squeeze themselves into a role that they’re just not suited with.
When I was at Bible College many years ago, the Principal of the College, Dr Barry Chant, made us memorise one particular Bible verse. In fact, he used to joke – although I’m not sure it was so much a joke – that unless we were able to recite this verse, we wouldn’t be able to graduate.
At the time, I thought it was rather an odd choice of Bible verses. Why this one from among the 31,102 verses in the Bible. Well, here it is. Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God prepared beforehand for us to walk into.
The older and hopefully wiser I’ve become since those days, the more I’ve discovered the wisdom of Barry’s insistence that we memorise this one verse. Because what it says, is that God mad us; He handcrafted us we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus and He made us – you and me – with a purpose in mind.
He in fact made us in order to do the good works that He prepared beforehand for us to do – literally to walk into. So picture your life – this journey over hill and dale. Just as you turn round the next corner, or come over the next rise waiting there for you is one of the good works that God made you to do – one of the ones that He prepared before time even began for you to make happen.
Now – do you imagine for one moment that God made a mistake? That He made you to do things that you weren’t good at doing? Or things that were impossible for you to do? No way!! God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you. You are handcrafted, you’re a perfect fit to do what He made you to do. So why is it that we go and live a life we were never made to live?
Well sometimes it’s stubbornness, other times it’s ignorance. Or perhaps you’ve allowed circumstances to sweep you along in life, without ever taking a stand and saying to yourself – Hang on a minute, what I really want to do is … this! My real dream in life is to go and be this and do that.
The most common question I am asked when I talk on this – which I do rather a lot these days, because like Barry Chant I’ve come to believe that being the me I was meant to be is absolutely critical in life – the most common question I’m asked is this: How do I know what it is that God made me to do?
Not an unfair question. Well, the answer is dead simple. Each one of us has something that gets us enthused in life, something that we’re passionate about. Something that we’re really good at – probably better at than anyone else we know. For me it’s doing what I’m doing now. I love telling stories. I get up mostly at three or four in the morning to prepare these radio messages. Why? Not because I have to but because I love to!
I love telling stories. I love seeing people’s lives transformed through those stories.
What are you passionate about? What do you absolutely love doing? What is it that you’re better at, than pretty much any person you know? Maybe you love working with your hands, or looking after children, or organising lots of detailed things, or … whatever it is, there is your pointer to what God made you to do.
No. It’s not always going to be easy, or convenient, or fun, or comfortable. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But there, right there, is the thing that God made you to do. Start walking in that direction, and all of a sudden a whole bunch of new opportunities will open up.
Those opportunities are the good works that God prepared beforehand for you to do. Get it?