What Should I Do With My Life?
First, I wanted to be a construction worker. I loved building forts out of blocks, and building roads in the dirt under a tree in our backyard. Building things was cool.
Then I wanted to join the army. Watching Davy Crockett a million times might have had some influence. Guns were cool.
Next I wanted to be a football player. I couldn’t imagine life without playing football, so for a long time, I figured the perfect way to die would be on the football field after making some spectacular game-winning play. That would be awesome.
At some point in time I realized that I wouldn’t be able to play football my whole life, and my odds of dying while playing were extremely low. What to do? Nothing 9-to-5 really interested me. I loved history though, and would spend hours watching documentaries while other kids watched cartoons (though I did watch a few of those too). Maybe I would be a historian! But what do historians do but teach? And teaching didn’t appeal to me.
Well…I also really liked space and science. Maybe I’ll learn Astrophysics and become a rocket scientist? Of course, the only problem is you can’t really do anything with Science if you don’t also have an affinity for math. I do not have an affinity for math.
So now what? All the things I like I either can’t do any more, am not good enough at, or don’t make enough money. Maybe this blog could support me, but that’s a long-shot, isn’t it? Music production? That’s laughable.
I’ve thought about potentially studying theology or philosophy; however, those would only lead to becoming a teacher or a pastor, and I wouldn’t be able to do either of those for very long before getting fired most likely.
What now? What am I supposed to do? Am I doomed to be a failure? Are all the people right who said I would never amount to anything? Maybe I could join the Salvation Army like one of my old football coaches predicted I would.
When it comes to others my age, I don’t think I’m alone with these concerns about the future. Growing up, I could never see past 18. When I finally did turn 18 I was like, “Wow. I’m still alive.” Part of me never thought I would make it this far, but I have, and now I’m…21? Is that right? Wow. I’m so darn old. At best, my life is already a quarter of the way over.
For most others my age, the question of “what should I do with my life,” is avoided or put off for later. Most simply just go to college because that’s what is expected. We young adults go to college and we change majors and even schools multiple times, trying to figure out what is the right thing to do.
Then four years is up, and many of us still don’t know what to do…so we just go back to school. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past 15 or so years, right? Once summer ends, it’s back to school. It’s always back to school.
But we can’t always keep going back to school, not all of us at least. Some do though. They become graduate assistants, and teachers themselves, and then end up professors at their alma mater. I had a couple of professors at Ohio State whom had never left since arriving as a Freshman.
But many do graduate our institutions of higher learning and go on to get jobs. For many, college works out. For many others, it doesn’t, and they either end up in jobs they hate or unemployed.
Of course, there is nothing necessarily wrong with having a job you hate. Simply having a job is something to be thankful for, and sometimes it’s necessary to just get a job, even if you don’t like it.
But what if you’re not at that point yet? What if you still have some time to try and pursue something you feel created to do? But what if you just don’t see that innate desire ever working out for you in the “real world”? What then?
Of course, worrying about the future is exactly what God tells us not to do.
God has already said what I should do with my life.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34
God makes us a promise here. He promises to give us what we need if we seek first, above all else, His kingdom and His righteousness. I probably should read this passage every day since I seem to forget this so easily. Too often I neglect to seek first His kingdom, doing what God wants, because I feel I need to take care of myself first or I’m going to be in trouble. I’m not trusting God. I’m not believing that He really will come through and provide.
The result is this paralyzing worry, which doesn’t help at all. For some strange reason, we seem to think it’s easier to rely on our own strength rather than God’s. The reality is it’s so much easier to simply trust God and not worry about the outcome.
Rather than worrying about whether or not our struggles and efforts today will pay off in the end, we can simply do our best and trust God by seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. Whatever the outcome, the result will be good.
This trust frees us up to pursue excellence at the jobs and responsibilities we have currently been tasked with. We don’t have to worry about where it is all leading, because God will work it all together for good, if we simply love Him and obey His commandments.
Do you ever worry about your future?
Do you struggle with trusting God?
What do you do stay focused on while pursuing His kingdom and righteousness?