A few days ago I sat across the table from a friend of mine. I was frustrated because I felt so confused…how do you know if you’re following what GOD wants you to do or if you’re pursuing your own ideas and plans? What if the things I think God is placing in my head and my heart are just things that I myself want to selfishly pursue?!?!?!?!?!
As the conversation progressed he gave me lots of feedback and great ideas. But there was one thing he said that has really resonated and stuck with me.
I made some comment about how I wanted to do what God planned for me and not take any more detours than I already have because I want to reach and help as many people as I possibly can. I want to be where I can make the biggest difference. And he told me:
It’s not about where you are or what you’re doing – it’s about HOW you’re living life and HOW you’re doing what you’re doing. He reassured me that I can reach the same number of people in any given profession or situation – the only thing that changes is the audience of people that I’m reaching.
For example, if I were to be a missionary in Africa I could help save people there. But I could also save the same amount of people by writing a book or by teaching in a school system. It’s not so much WHAT you’re doing, but HOW you’re doing it and HOW you’re living your life.
It was honestly one of those “ah-ha!” moments. It made me think of “soul mates.” I don’t believe that there is ONE person out there for all of us – I think we are all compatible with many people and that we could marry any number of individuals and have a successful marriage and a happy, fulfilling life. Maybe jobs, professions, callings, etc are the same way? Maybe there isn’t necessarily ONE right thing to pursue at any given time. Maybe we can all do multiple things and have a great impact on the world around us just by living in the light of Christ. Maybe we can reach people of any clientele or any ethnicity, race, gender, etc just by being who we are and acting as examples of God’s love. Maybe it’ possible to reach just as many people sitting behind a desk in an office as it would be performing on stage, teaching in a classroom, or even serving the homeless.
The truth is that God will take us and use us wherever we are so long as we are open and willing. It’s hard for perfectionists (like myself) to let go and accept that we may not ever know how alternate routes may have panned out for us and our lives. We just have to have faith that God will use us exactly where we are. And we also need to realize that nothing in this life is permanent – especially jobs and professions.
The messages we hear and see that tell us that we have “one shot” or that put emphasis on making the decision IMMEDIATELY are just ways that Satan is trying to instill fear in our lives and if we give in and listen to those messages we are actually more likely to make decisions that will yield less satisfying results. Although, God will obviously still use us in those potentially less than ideal situations. However, I think an important thing that I’ve learned over the past year or so is that the opposite action of fear is not courage, as we are commonly told. The opposite action of fear is actually faith.
Courage, to me, implies definite action – making a decision, moving forward, mental/physical actions. Faith, however, implies the releasing of actions. When we step out in faith, we are indeed changing course, but we are not controlling our actions or the outcomes, we are surrendering them to God with the assurance that He will work all things for our good. Now when you pair up faith and courage – then we can move mountains!
All of this has been a huge realization for me as I am halfway through college and questioning ALL my life decisions up to this point. I’m looking at how I want to move forward and where I potentially want to go and everything seems jumbled up and confusing. It’s that early 20’s life crisis that I’ve been told we all experience as we fumble our way into adulthood and try to navigate our place in this strange and unpredictable world.
I think that what’s most frustrating is that there are no clear cut answers – we never got a handbook on how to live life step by step. But that doesn’t mean we should allow fear of the future to paralyze our faith. The only way to be sure that God is using us to our utmost capacity is to step out in faith and believe that regardless of where we end up or what we are doing, we can have a positive, Godly impact and change so many lives around us. We don’t have to change the entire world – we just need to share our God and our world with the ones around us!
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
― C.S. Lewis
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
― Corrie ten Boom
“Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion.”
― Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel