Have you ever felt that you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in somebody else’s career?
When I was young, it was very difficult for me to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew what I was good at, and what I wasn’t very good at, but I longed for that knight-in-shining-armor career that would sweep me off my feet and carry me into My Life’s Work.
I envied high-school classmates who knew exactly where they were headed. I wondered why I couldn’t be like them. Marie was going to be an accountant. Sue was going to be a lawyer, Sharon, a physicist. I loved writing, reading, math, physics, music, and theater. I was heading in so many directions, that I couldn’t choose just one. I ended up going to college and declaring an English major under the duress of my advisor, who insisted I declare something, anything. I didn’t do well. With no direction, I dropped out after a semester and went to work.
I worked as a temporary office worker for a while, then an administrative assistant. I loved the variety of working in a new environment every few weeks, but wanted more challenge and more interest in my career. Then, when I was about 25, I fell into a job as a travel agent that kept me busy me for 17 years. Eventually, though, the shine of travel dulled and I found myself again searching for just the right career for me. I quit my job, moved back home, and went back to school, still looking. Now, after four years and three changes of my academic major, I have finally gotten it right.
It turns out that my ideal career path wasn’t a career path after all; I just needed to ask God what He needed me to do.
And I did ask, practically every day for the past three years straight. I prayed to hear His will, to know it when I heard it, and to have the courage to give up my own ideals of what my life would be. I placed everything in His care. Everything. Then I never looked back.
I still don’t know what I’ll end up doing for the rest of my life, but I imagine writing and mathematics will play a large part. The only thing I do know for sure is that God is charting the course, and that’s enough for me. I am happy now. I am fulfilled every day that I have an opportunity to write, to teach, and to swim in mathy waters. I love my work and I know that whatever job God places me in, it will be just right for me because it will have been crafted by my Creator. What a liberating feeling that is!
A few of my friends and family are struggling with their own futures just now. I know that they have to go through the same agonizing process that I did before they get to the part where they just put it all in God’s lap and say, “there, Lord, you handle it all now.” I pray that they pray and that they rely on God to lead them where He needs them to be.
Where God needs you to be, after all, is just the right place for you. That reminds me of the Garden of Eden story in Genesis. Adam was lonely. He had all the animals of the world and a paradise for a home, he had no one “just right for him.” Sometimes we can make good grades, receive awards and accolades, make a good salary, and appear successful to those around us, but still we feel we don’t have a job to do that is just right for us. Other times, we think we know what that job is, but the journey toward it is fraught with struggles. When we can’t figure out why we are unhappy, we should just go to God.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
How about you? Are you being all you can be?