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What would you say to someone who doesn’t have a clear idea of their vocation after graduating high school? Go on to college and pick a generic degree? Trade school? Gap year? Something else?
Thanks for this important question! This is an area where families and churches have a lot of recovery work to do on the doctrine of vocation. So many believers follow the educational tracks laid out for us by our culture, and then suddenly discover that no one has equipped them for vocational discernment when they get to the end of those tracks.
Vocation - Education - Ends - Idea - Vocation
It’s important to recognize that your vocation doesn’t begin where your formal education ends. That idea comes from thinking about “vocation” (from the Latin vocare, meaning “to call”) as if it meant “career” (from the French carriere, meaning “to gallop”). In a time when almost no one has the same job—or even the same job track—their whole lives, we need to be aware that “vocation” means a lot more more than “career.”
In classic Protestant doctrine, vocation is the calling of the gospel. Our salvation calls us to a whole life formed throughout by the work of the Holy Spirit, conforming us to Christ in the gospel. Your formal education and your pursuit of a job are only two of many places where God summons you in this whole gospel-formed life.
Questions - College - School - Gap - Year
So the questions you ask—Should I go to college? Should I go to trade school? Should I take a gap year?—can be reframed in light of the gospel call. Protestant theology has historically recognized three major categories for thinking about vocation:
What am I well-equipped to do, or what can I get well-equipped to do? This includes not only aptitudes, talents, and skills but also things like relationships, networks, credentials, and even doors of opportunity that get opened...
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