Thursday, January 23, 2014

What is my calling, after all?

A couple of years ago, I was really struggling. I was in the middle of college, and quickly realizing that accounting was NOT the major I should have gone to school for. I was barely passing the advanced accounting and tax courses, which was pretty odd for a 3.9 GPA high school graduate, and I hated every second of it. To make matters worse, I was only a few semesters away from that coveted four-year degree, so I had already made the decision to just dig my heels in and graduate with my current major. Changing my major would have tacked on another two years of classes, and I was ready. to. graduate.
My decision was causing me a lot of internal turmoil, though. Am I screwing up my future by getting a degree in something I won’t ever use? Am I just blind and not seeing that my purpose in life is to be an accountant? And if I am making the wrong choice, what should my new major be? Journalism? Spanish? Basket-weaving? Teaching? What IN THE WORLD does God want me to do? What is my purpose? What is my calling? Sure He has something “cooler” in store for me than just accounting, right???? Tack on the fact that I was working a job that I did not enjoy with any foreseeable way out, and you have a recipe for one very conflicted 21 year old woman.
Fast forward almost three years and you find me in a happier job, with that high & mighty four-year degree hidden somewhere in my office at home. But still, I am in an in-between phase. I kindof-sortof wish that I had changed my major (to journalism), even though it means I would’ve just been graduating from college this semester (gross). And although I am in a much happier place, my ultimate goal is still to be a stay-at-home mom and not sitting in the “cube farm” for nine hours every day. With our current infertility struggle added in, you now have a recipe for a pretty frustrated almost-24 year old woman.
But thankfully, I have learned my lesson on being content with where I am in life. It was a hard lesson to learn….especially when the infertility stuff got added into the mix, but it was learned. One thing that has helped me come to peace with everything are the wise words that I heard at a youth conference a year or two ago. They were spoken by the wife of our Georgia Assemblies of God District Youth Director, and although she was addressing a group of tween girls (I was there as a chaperone), they really meant a lot to me as well. Paraphrasing, she said that we don’t need to have our “purpose” or our “calling” figured out for the rest of our lives. As we go through the seasons of life, it can change. God calls us to do different things…..rarely does He ever say “this is the one thing I want you to do until the day you die”, and if He did He would surely make that plain to us. Instead, we should be examining where we are in our lives and ask the simple question “what do You want from me in this season?”  She then gave examples of how she went from being a young wife, to a working wife, to a stay-at-home mom to her children, to a youth pastor’s wife, back to a working wife (while still being a youth pastor’s wife), and now to being the wife of the District Youth Director and speaking at youth events all over the state. (I may or may not have screwed up the order in which she said all that, but you get my point.) She has moved throughout many different seasons and callings in her life, and she is certain that as she gets older she will move through more.
Those were such freeing words for me to hear! After quite some time of struggling to figure out what my “true calling” was in life, I finally heard from a trusted sister in Christ that I only needed to be concerned with where God had me right now. Allowing that to sink in and apply to my life has also allowed me to learn to be content with where I am right now. Right now, I am a wife, an employee, a worship leader, and a church secretary….but who knows what the future may hold? Next year I may be a wife, a stay-at-home mom to a baby, and an author of a new book. Or I could be a wife, and a zookeeper to a bunch of tigers (my DREAM job).
And for the record, I no longer believe I “screwed up my destiny” by getting a degree in something I have no intentions of using. Who knows? God may have a plan for that degree in my future after all, but even if He doesn’t, His plan for my life is not bound by a piece of paper given to me by a college that later gets stuffed in my office. He is the only One with the authority to open or close the doors in my life. Part of this thing we call “faith” is realizing that we don’t hold our own futures, God does. And we have to trust that He has a plan, that He sees the full picture, and that He is going to guide us where we need to go.
I see a lot of young people (particularly in the Church) getting pressured to pick a degree and a career and figure out what they want to do the whole rest of their lives. Shoot, I was one of those young people just six years ago. In the church, we are constantly asking our young folks to discern God’s purpose for their lives.
I think, perhaps, we need to change how we talk to our young people. Rather than asking them what they think God has planned as their life’s purpose, how about asking them where they feel God leading them next? Rather than asking them what career they want to pursue until they retire, how about asking them what jobs sound interesting to them right now? Rather than forcing our young adults into picking a college major, why not letting them go for a General Studies degree and then decide on a major after they get a feel for what they might enjoy? Sure, some young people know exactly what they should do because God tells them upfront, but the majority don’t. Because the majority of the time, God doesn’t reveal the whole picture at once. Instead, He gives us one door at a time as He leads us through the hallways of His plan.
I suppose I should wrap this up, since I’m way past 1,000 words now. I guess what I’m really trying to say is this:
-Young people, it’s okay to not know your whole life’s plan.  Just figure out which door God is leading you through right now. He’ll give you the next step when it’s time, just trust in Him.
-Not-so-young people, embrace where you are in this season of life. Know that God has placed you here for a reason, but also know that God may place another call on your heart at a later time. Work for His kingdom with everything you have, and seek to do His will. You can’t go wrong if you do that! Trust that He will place you where He needs you as you go through life.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” ~Hebrews 11:8-16

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