Letting go of the perfect future

Before this school year, never had I ever laid on a table close to tears lamenting my future.

But then junior year happened.

Starting off year three as a college student, I was excited to be starting the second half of my college experience. Now I had less time in front of me than behind! It’s exciting to be an adult and independent. But it’s also rather terrifying sometimes . . . like when you realize you don’t really want to do what you set out to do.

I came into college without declaring a major. Psychology was in the running. I still find it fascinating, but did not want grad school to become a necessity. For some time in high school, I considered nursing. But I didn’t want to deal with the higher levels of science. I didn’t want to do something like Theology because what in the world would I do with that?

So I chose business management. Then I decided my goal was to run a pregnancy center.

The other day I had to dress in business attire for a presentation. And it just felt wrong. Even Lin our lovely mother away from home at the cafeteria looked me up and down because it’s not like me. I wear skirts and cute dresses and sandals now that it’s getting warmer.

But there I was in my heels and pencil skirt.

It makes me feel powerful, in a way: walking across campus put together like the strong, independent woman society tells me I should be. But the whole time I wanted to rip it off. I don’t want that. I don’t want to look down on people from up high on my heels. I don’t want people to think I have it together all the time, because I really don’t.

I don’t know where my life is going after realizing that I don’t want to work in the corporate business world. Even the non-profit world can leave me feeling a little less human. And I wasn’t made for the coldness of a cubicle.

Which takes us to the whole laying on a table lamenting my life that happened at some point last semester . . .

You might wonder why I would share something like that. It’s somewhat awkward, but 100% real. If I were to sit down for coffee with you, it’s the same story you would hear because it’s the real me. And I share because many classmates speak of the same thing. Many of us have experienced doubt this school year, and questioned our plans for the future.

The path I’m supposed to take still isn’t crystal clear. Sorry, there’s not an easy solution. But what I do know is that no matter what the specifics of my future look like, what I am called to do right now (and at every point in my life) is to give of myself. That’s expressed in different ways at different points in a person’s life, but in the end,

“He will look at our hands to see if they have been scarred from giving, our feet to see the calluses from travel to preach His Gospel, and our side to see if we have loved to a point of sacrifice. Woe to us who come down from Calvary with hands unscarred and white.” (Fulton Sheen)

Are my hands scarred and my feet callused? Are my knees rough from praying for others? Is my heart so bursting with Christ’s love that I never hesitate to share it? Are my eyes sore from watching out for others, my back aching from working for the true, good, and beautiful things of this world?

That’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now: loving people wherever they are and seeking God’s will.

Love without measure - St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales

 

Even though I don’t know what God’s will is all the time, what I do know is that I’m called to give until it hurts. Giving isn’t about how much you give, though. It’s about how much we have left. You know that parable where a poor woman gave all the money she had, even though it was a tiny amount? What she gave wasn’t a lot. A rich person could have given many more dollars.

It was about how much she had left: almost nothing in the world. With trust, she gave almost everything of herself knowing she would ultimately be taken care of.

So today my prayer is for the grace to be able to love until it hurts, to trust with abandon, to give until my hands are scarred, and my skin burned from laboring in the the fields I’m led to. Because it’s there that I’m meant to be: where my passions and talents meet the needs of the world. I don’t know where exactly that is yet, but I know for certain I’m in for an adventure in this year where I’m trying to abandon myself to God’s will.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear
Author Unknown

 

Fear tells me to worry about the future. Faith tells me God knows the plans He has for me. They are plans for me to prosper and thrive. If He could just tell me what the heck the plan is, that would be great. But that’s too easy! So I’m going to keep on working, giving, and serving – trying my best to do what I’m called to do in this moment and leave the worries of the future in the hands of Him who will help me work them out.

To Life,

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5 thoughts on “Letting go of the perfect future”

  1. I totally feel you. I went to college twice and I’m still not sure what kind of “real job” I’d like to have. I also graduated the first time in 2008 when the economy was awful and didn’t really help my job prospects. Even now I wonder what God wants me to do in life. Discernment is so hard! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Amen. God wants us to strive for holiness, but it sure is hard to know exactly what that means sometimes 🙂 I guess it’s good that we’re never 100% satisfied with our jobs, though, because it reminds me that nothing of this world can truly satisfy us. Hope your job is going fine now!

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