Have you ever read or watched Anne of Green Gables? It’s a wonderful novel and movie series about spirited orphan Anne Shirley fostered by a brother-sister duo who grows up to fulfill her dream of being a teacher. She has an incredible imagination as a child and knows that she wants to one day be a school teacher, just like her role model Mrs. Stacey. Of course, she goes on to charm and inspire everyone she comes in contact with and eventually marries the man she has always truly loved. It’s an all-Canadian story about cherishing the people in your life and following your dreams.
I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables (I think I’m due for another movie marathon now.) Somehow, I always thought my life would be like that, too. That when it came to going to college, I would simply follow my dreams. I would know what career I was called to. I also thought that I would be successful at everything I did and that it would all simply come together. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience an epiphany or revelation calling me to anything specific.
If you’re thinking about your future now, it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrases, “Follow your dream” or “Do what you’re passionate about.” But what if you just don’t know the answer to the pressing question, “What will you do for the rest of your life?”
I’m now in my third year of college, and I’ve been blessed enough to enjoy what I’m doing. But when I started college, I really wasn’t sure. So what do you do if you’re in those final years of high school or even a high school graduate and have no idea what you want to do with your life?
Consider God’s will, not just your own.
This one might sound a bit cliché, but when you switch your focus from “What is the best thing I could do for me?” to a perspective of, “What is the best thing I could do for God?” things change a bit. I had the desire to serve God in whatever job I did. I didn’t want to get a job just for the money but I wanted a job that would glorify God. If the goal is to glorify the Lord, it takes some of the pressure off. Now I’m doing what He wants me to do instead of trying to figure out the best career for myself.
Look at is as an opportunity to explore.
When I went to college, I really didn’t know if accounting was what I wanted to do. I did it mostly out of practicality, since I knew that business knowledge would be helpful in nearly any field. I also wasn’t going to be spending a lot of money since I was staying at home, so it wasn’t a huge financial loss if I decided I didn’t like it. Also, it was a two-year program—not a complete waste of time if it didn’t turn out to be everything I dreamed of. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it one hundred percent right the first time.
Take your God-given desires seriously.
My true desire as a young woman is to be at home raising my own kids and loving and inspiring other kids. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have much to say about being a stay-at-home mom—especially when that person is just leaving high school. Not a lot of seventeen-year-olds go around saying they don’t want a career. Sixty years ago, career women weren’t the norm. Now, women at home aren’t the norm. While my desire to be a stay-at-home wife and mom someday was real and honorable, it didn’t authorize a refusal of college education. One thing I knew I loved doing was teaching piano. I had been doing it for two years and loved it. I knew I wanted to continue teaching, but again, it wasn’t a full-time job at that point. By going to school for a job that could be part-time or full-time so that I could also teach piano and stay at home, I felt like I had made a good use of my tuition fund.
But what if you still don’t know? If you can’t figure out God’s calling in your life, do you just wait for Him to give you a revelation?
As Christians, we tend to think like this:
I need to do God’s will for my life. What is His will? I can’t figure it out. If I make the wrong decision, that means that I’m out of His will and it will take me who-knows-how-long to get back on track. I won’t be able to serve God properly and I will have messed up my whole life. I’d better just wait on God.
These conclusions are not true. We will not mess up God’s plan for our lives if we make one or two or seventy decisions. God has given us free will and the ability to make our own decisions. If God is telling you to do something, you’ll know. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us. If you truly just don’t know what God is telling you to do, chances are He’s leaving it up to you. God is not there waiting for us to make one wrong move and mess up His plan. He will fulfill His plan no matter what you do. When your desire is to truly serve Him, He will honour that.
Take a deep breath and relax. God may be calling you to something specific, or He may be calling you to just make a decision. Instead of sitting around waiting for God to tell you what to do next, do something now. Serve Him and He will show you the next step.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:6)