It’s got to be the most terrifying question a sixteen-year-old can get asked. Well, maybe the second most terrifying (the first being “do you have a boyfriend?”). The question I dread at family gatherings, or when we meet old friends. “So… Honor. Any plans after high school?”
Yes, it is I, Honor, here to talk to you today about The Future. And don’t worry, I won’t keep you in suspense: the answer to the previous question is no. At present, I have no particular college lined up, no career that’s been my dream job since I was six years old. Vague hopes and aspirations, of course. But actual, solid plans? Don’t remind me.
Maybe you’ve always known what you want to be. Maybe you have a college (or internship) all picked out. If that’s where you are, congratulations! But maybe you’re like me – getting towards the end of your high school years, and starting to get a wee bit panicky. As Christian girls, it’s even easier to get panicky, because we’re supposed to get married and have children…but if Mr. Right doesn’t propose the day of high school graduation, what’s a girl to do? Pursue a career, but drop it like a hot potato as soon as Prince Charming pops the question? Hang around the house until our 30th birthdays, cooking meals and filling a hope chest? Are the panicky feelings rising in your chest like they’re rising in mine?
Not to worry – though I am by no means an expert on the topic, I’ve given it a lot of thought and prayer (including the prayer that goes, “please, God, make people stop asking about my career!”). Here are a couple general principles I’m trying to live by:
- Be patient. God does not always reveal His will for our lives in a blinding flash of lightning and booming words from the sky (as nice as that sounds). Sometimes we’ve got to wait – a long time. As tempting as it may be to choose a random college out of a hat rather than suffer the agonies of one more awkward question…don’t do it! Realize that it may take time for God to reveal the plan He has for your life.
- Be open. Sometimes we have a definite direction we want our life to go. I, for example, would like nothing better than to get married, live on a farm, and have at least seven children in a farmhouse with a large front porch. I would also like to write a novel in my spare time on said farm. Sometimes God’s plan for our life lines up with what we want – and sometimes He has something else in mind, something we may not have considered. So, be open. Look for the opportunities you might at first dismiss as “not what you had in mind.” It might be the perfect thing for you.
- Be proactive. Being patient doesn’t mean you now have an excuse to sit at home and eat bon-bons, waiting for the perfect career to be revealed. Part of our job is to actively look for the work God intends for us. Interested in pursuing teaching? Find a teacher you know and ask some questions. Considering journalism? Send a story to a newspaper and see how it goes. Explore higher education options, look at vocational training, go introduce yourself to that cute guy at church. Seek the will of God – both in prayer, and throughout your day.
So the next time Aunt Alice asks you what your big career plans are, relax. Square your shoulders, and confidently tell her you’re seeking the Lord’s direction, and exploring your options. Hey, maybe you could even ask her for suggestions. You never know where God might open a door :).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look at college testing options. Let me know in the comments about your thoughts and advice on planning for the future!