I’m the kind of person who has to-do lists on vacation. I live by my agenda, calendar, and post-it notes. In recent years, all these things have merged onto my phone. For all intents and purposes, I love to plan.
I married a spontaneous visionary. What can I say, opposites attract.
One thing I’ve learned in 28 years, is that plans change. That doesn’t mean we stop planning. But we reassess. What’s that saying…If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?
Nevertheless, I am at the point where I don’t know how to answer the question: what do you want to do with your life? At least, I don’t know how to answer it how people want me too.
Here’s what I’ve experienced. Well meaning lovely people who see themselves as mentors ask youth what they want to do with their lives. And then you are boxed into that plan for 20 years in their mind. Or, you give a passionate answer akin to wanting to save the world, and they ask how you plan to accomplish the task.
When I decided to come to seminary, a person I admired told me I shouldn’t chase after something if I didn’t have a distinct direction of where I wanted to go. He said that I needed a specific calling to justify the decision.
I’ve sat across a professor who told me my picture for the future wasn’t enough. That I needed to dream bigger but have more specifics.
Okay. So, should I make something up? Should I create an elaborate game plan with a 10-year goal and bury my head and go to work, regardless of how the Lord might mold and lead me?
But what about faith? What about waiting on God? What about serving faithfully in the current context until opportunities arise? What about having a goal to glorify God, even if that means working at a local coffee shop or cleaning buildings after hours? What about glorifying God with our lives? What about submitting and learning? What about being Spirit led, no matter where it leads you?
Sure, you may have a call on your life. But what about the waiting periods. What about when life circumstances are beyond your control. What about when God puts you into a heavenly holding pattern without telling you why.
Something about western (American?) Christianity makes us feel like we need to have it all figured out. Yet, what does the Bible show us?
“Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem…”
The apostle Paul submitted himself to a process of growth, service, and development. He had a miraculous encounter with Jesus that changed his life direction. It revolutionized his identity. He found himself in the company of believers such as Barnabas. Paul only came to Jerusalem once after his conversion before this, and for two weeks. He did not stay in the center of the movement but he worked faithfully in the outskirt towns and provinces. He served among the Gentiles, those considered outsiders to the Jewish people and especially the religious elite, which was his former identity.
After 14 more years, he returned to Jerusalem. And this was to resolve a conflict. Yet when he came to the religious epicenter, the other leaders recognized him as a voice worth listening to. The disciples, who had walked with Jesus in the flesh, needed the input of Paul, the converted murderer of Christians, to stay on the right course. Paul kept the Christians from enforcing Jewish law on Gentile believers–a decision that still has repercussions for you and I today.
Later he would become the writer of the majority of the New Testament. First, he had to serve in humble submission. It was the testimony of his life that resulted in Paul having a voice.
Who else had to wait for their calling? Who else waited for fulfillment of promises?
Don’t worry about writing your own story. God the author will craft a master piece more spectacular than you can imagine.
Don’t know what God’s plan is for your life? That’s okay darling. You’re in good company.
In the meantime, while you wait and work:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8