Why are you doing what you're doing?

My dad always asked that question. It was, in fact, a test to gauge the quality of my thinking if I felt depressed or confused or unhappy. It reminded me that it didn't matter so much what I was doing—whether I had this or that job. What mattered was my mental approach to my activities. Was God propelling me?

Many times I failed the test, replying that it was money and recognition that drove me forward rather than a desire to express God. But even at those times—especially then—the question was a critical checkpoint for me. The basis of the question is really the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3).

I have found that obeying this commandment demands moral strength, and it also requires praying diligently to understand my relation to God. At those times when my prayers have been the most honest, they have naturally included a desire to live in accordance with God's will and an abiding trust that He will lead me.

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Career counseling
October 20, 1997

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