God Desires Your Heart, Not Your Degree

Discussions with a few readers struggling with the competitiveness and focus on self-promotion in their studies inspired my next article on desiring God: 

God Wants Your Heart, Not Your Degree

I’ve experienced first hand the murkiness that arises when we endeavor toward a God-honoring pursuit, but must do so within a system mired in idolatry.

With graduations upon us, I pray that as we revel in our blessings, we can give God the glory.

8 thoughts on “God Desires Your Heart, Not Your Degree

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  1. Again, I’m so thankful to read your articles. I long for more resources like yours to speak into the matters of faith and work, especially in regards to the medical field. It’s so good to be reminded that Gods plan for us is not dependent on how skillful our hands are but how dependent are hearts are on Him.


  2. Hey Katie, found your article from a physician friend through DG. As a pastor who works (exclusively) with healthcare students and professionals, I really appreciate this article and see all the challenges you mention among our community here in Philadelphia.

    I also really respect the way you encourage women in, or considering, healthcare to find ultimate value in Christ rather than their work. A lot of voices seem to either encourage avoiding/leaving medicine altogether, or, subtly prioritizing it at the expense of balance in other areas. Thanks for offering a balanced, Christ-centered perspective!


    1. Hi Bryan, thanks so much for your feedback and comments. Do you work at a medical school? I’m so encouraged to hear of your ministry among healthcare professionals; the landscape is desolate, even though at its core medicine taps into profoundly spiritual issues. Re: a message to women, I think it’s such a hard dialogue, because the issue of women in medicine strikes so many nerves with regard to women’s rights, feminism, stereotyping, etc. There is a lot more emotional baggage and unspoken expectations among female colleagues. In the competitive and highly charged environment of medicine, especially in medical school when anxieties and personal insecurities are at their height, it’s a real challenge to ask questions that point us toward the Gospel. . . which is where the answer lies in all situations!

      Thank you so much for your ministry, and God’s blessings upon you and yours.


  3. Thank you, this is a helpful read. I’m a Christian med student who is also frustrated with all the competitiveness of med school. I am afraid residency is going to be worse when I get there. Do you have any advice for choosing a specialty that gives us as Christians more time to put God first? I’m not competitive for dermatology or radiology. I’m not a surgeon by mentality, but I like procedures. I’m considering internal medicine, then pulmonology and critical care, or maybe anesthesiology. I like other subspecialties in internal medicine, but I won’t do cardiology as their life seems to leave no time for anything else. Maybe hematology and oncology as the culture is compassionate and I like that. Most of all I just want more time with God and church family. It is a difficult to be a doctor and a Christian.


    1. Hi Michael, these are all great and tough questions. Before I delve into them too deeply — in what year of medical school are you? Have you finished any of your clinical rotations yet? Please email me: klbutler46@gmail.com. If you can please give me a sense for how far along the path you are, I can offer counsel more effectively. In the meantime, Pastor Tim Keller discusses a useful framework for thinking about vocation: to discern your calling, consider your 1) affinity, 2) ability, and 3) opportunity. He argues that calling becomes appreciable where all three converge. You can read more here: http://dailykeller.com/discerning-your-calling/

      I look forward to hearing from you.


  4. Such a wonderful article Katie, and thank you for the honesty and transparency you bring to the misplaced values in the medical education system. As you describe, it’s unfortunate to have to feel naive for going to medical school solely because you deeply care about helping people, and then upon getting into the system realizing how competition-driven it is, with emphasis on research or papers or one specialty over another. I have often felt like I’m struggling through it alone, but it is reassuring to hear others reflect on the same struggle and not have to doubt that I belong in this field as much as everyone else.


    1. Absolutely Nikol! The experience can be so disenchanting, and seem somehow warped and corrupted. We go into a field with compassion at its core, and yet the path there tempts us into deceit, idolatry, and self-righteousness. The means seems completely at odds with the principles undergirding the end goal. Please know that you are not alone in your struggles, and that the field needs faithful followers of God to minister to His sick and downtrodden. Thank you for your dedication, and I pray for discernment and fortitude along the way.


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