I have been facing an ongoing career discernment/crisis lately that involves of all things, the two possible paths of becoming either a theologian (and or Youth Minister/Religious Ed Coordinator) or entering into the field of Law Enforcement with an eye on one day becoming a Forest Ranger. I know, quite opposite ends of the career spectrum LOL. I have been weighing the pros and cons of both career paths for awhile, but I can’t seem to make up my mind and set my heart to one path or another. I love the church and have been working towards getting a degree in Theology for some time (about 2 ½ years). I love learning about Theology and teaching others about aspects of God, His Son and His Church, that they might not yet know about or understand completely, and in that way helping them to better understand their faith while at the same time codifying my own.
But there is no $$ in this field and I have to also consider my primary vocations as a husband and a father to three small children, and my desire to provide for them financially as well as spiritually. I plan to apply for the diaconate when I come of age anyway, but I find it hard to envision doing any line of work as a paying career that doesn’t deal directly in some way with something Christological each and every day, let alone dealing with some of the most seedy and undesirable elements of society. I realize that there are a lot of good people I would encounter as a cop or other Law Enforcement agent as well of course.
I have always wanted to protect people in some way and I guess that these two professions can be seen as linked in that they both do seek the well-being of others (one more in the physical realm, one more in the spiritual realm). But I have so many doubts about my abilities to be a good cop or later a Ranger, to keep up with the physical demands, to remain committed to Christ in the midst of my duties and possibly working alongside a largely unbelieving or practicing force. I don’t want to lose sight of Christ because of an all encompassing focus on Law Enforcement, but at the same time I want to do something that will make my kids proud of me and that has room for growth and increasing wages. I have been so torn of late to the point where sometimes I almost feel as though the crisis of career choices manifests itself in tangible ways (I get angry easily or can’t sleep etc.)
I guess I just want to know if there is anybody in Law Enforcement out there that can recommend any particular prayer and or methodology that helped you in your own discernment. Also, how has being a cop affected your faith? Do you find it hard to remain Christ-like and loving towards your enemies in the face of your day to day tasks? If you have a family, how has your familial relationship with your spouse and kid(s) been affected by your profession? Should someone like me even consider this profession if I have these kinds of doubts, or is it really the type of field that I need to be 100% on board and decisive in, in order to be successful? How demanding is this field physically but even more so how demanding do you find it spiritually and emotionally? Sorry for the long post and all of the questions, but I am hoping that there is someone online who can maybe help shed some light on this type of work and what I can expect, what I should be asking myself and asking the Lord in prayer, etc. Thanks for your time and God bless you, you all are in my prayers.