The age-old question has been lingering on my mind lately, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” We have all asked others this question and have had it asked of ourselves many times. My personal answer has changed over the years. It began like any little girl wanting to be a teacher. A few years later I wanted to be a Bush Hog salesman like my dad and after that, an ice-skater. Totally random, I know.
I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but somewhere around the beginning of high school, I became increasingly aware that this was serious. I needed to be figure out exactly what I wanted to be in this life. Everyone else seemed to have a pretty solid direction. I on the other hand found myself dreaming of all sorts of things I COULD do but nothing that lit a fire within me. It became an uncomfortable weight in my gut as I progressed through high school and college. To make matters worse, in that time of life it somehow becomes the most common conversation starter ever.
That simple question, pressured me into thinking that I had one shot to get it right; otherwise, I would be behind…and that would be embarrassing, because I’ve always been ahead of the game…I’m SUPPOSED to know what I want to be.
I was a hard worker in college. I mean, I did all the “right things”; I was very involved in clubs, worked as a freshman football mentor and tutor at the University of Missouri’s athletic department, played intramural basketball, and had a skyrocket GPA that any college student would barter for. So, if I did everything right, then why was the idea of being “in the real world” so terrifying come graduation? It was because after all of that, I still hadn’t figured out “what I wanted to be”.
Up until a short while ago, I was so jealous of those people who are naturally gifted in a specific area. I imagined it must be so easy for them when it was never that way for me. It was never obvious.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve despised myself, because I was embarrassed that my only talents I felt like I had were administrative. “But God, it’s not glamorous, or cool to be organized…it’s boring, unappreciated, and overlooked…everyone can do it…is it enough after all I’ve been through and put my parents through to only be gifted administratively…to enjoy secretary work?” These are real thoughts I’ve battled for a long time.
All I knew was that God had given me mental pictures of seeing myself doing administrative work and working with some form of professional athletes. I tried to logically figure out what that must mean on my own, but faced closed door after closed door.
I graduated the University of Missouri four years ago now. Shockingly to everyone around me, I turned down interviews with promising jobs and an offer to do my Master’s research under one of my highly esteemed professors to move to Colorado to attend Charis Bible College. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew that God wanted me to go, so I did, no questions asked.
If it weren’t for me following God’s leading to move to Colorado, I may have never met my husband. I may have never understood what those pictures he showed me had meant. For those of you who are new readers, my husband is a professional wakeboarder and I now am the administrative assistant for our wakeboarding school. I organize and plan events, do our accounting, plan Kirby’s travels, design marketing tools, manage our social media, and handle all of the lesson bookings. I love my job! Looking back, I see the grand benefit of all of the classes I took in college and all of the experiences I had. They helped shape me to be able to step into my role today with confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I still am unlocking more of God has for me, but I definitely feel confident in the path He’s placed me.
Last winter, I found myself sitting in our new church home in Fort Myers one Sunday morning when Pastor Ryan said something that I knew was for me. He was explaining how complex our world is, from the complex design of our bodies to a single blade of grass even. (Side bar, did you know that humans have yet to figure out how to replicate a simple blade of grass that’s able to reproduce?) God had to create order and organization to make everything function exactly as it should. That totally set me free! Organization and order IS important to God, and while it may be something that’s not often considered, it helps allow everyone and everything else to do what they were created to do…from a blade of grass to the complex structure of a Fortune 500 company.
All too often we fret over the big world we live in. Miles of opportunity await us, but we cower at the daunting task of having to choose to do and be one specific thing. We ignore it. We cover it up by settling. Maybe this is just me, I don’t know, but what I do know is that God sees more in you than a specific job.
If we can learn to trust God with our future, to order each of our steps, and diligently seek Him for his direction, we can rest assured that we will always be right where He wants us to be. With God, things aren’t so scary, because He leads you just one step at a time towards your destiny. If He were to show us the big picture all at once, it would terrify us. It gives me peace to just take life one day at a time. To be put my hand to something and trust that He will open doors for me and lead me right where He wants me to be. Baby steps all the way!
In Genesis, Joseph had a dream from God when he was seventeen that his brothers would someday bow down to him. Yet he found himself sold into slavery by his brothers and in prison for years after an incident where he was falsely accused. The crazy thing is the Bible called Joseph a “prosperous man” during this time. In a place that we think we would be at our lowest of lows in a nasty prison! He was diligent and faithful; he ministered to those around him and made the prison actually cheerful. He was trusted with more responsibilities by his overseers and God promoted him. Joseph chose to serve God and others wholeheartedly when he could’ve given up or gotten discouraged, getting into self-pity. Having God’s vision for your life can help keep you on track. It definitely did in my own story.
God is with you. As a born again believer, you are highly favored and have a divine purpose in this lifetime. We find God’s will for our life when we walk with Him daily and fully depend on Him. As we grow in relationship with Him and know Him more, He will make your purpose more clear and light a fire within you of something your passionate and excited about pursuing.
Is it possible that all this time, the world’s been asking the wrong question? Rather than asking, “what do you want to be” maybe we should be asking, “how do you want to be remembered?” It’s a totally different question and one that is encouraging because we can start living that today, not put it off for someday.
To that question, I say: I want to be remembered as someone who fulfilled God’s purpose for my life…who lived a full and healthy life, a trusted friend, a compassionate wife, a cheerleader and lifter of those around me, a mom that encouraged her children to dream and let God shape their talents and abilities. I want to be someone that strangers remember as a person that showed unprecedented kindness and generosity towards them. I want to be a writer that allowed God to reach through the words on the page directly to its reader’s heart. I want to serve my husband and our customers by being prompt and keeping things clear, simple, and organized. I want to be a good steward of our finances so we can give back into the kingdom more and more each year and leave an inheritance for our children.
Now that…sounds more like it. Learning to love the person God created you to be. To thrive NOW instead of wishing you were something or someone different; battling the pressures of the world to do, do, do, rather than to just be. To give God room to show you things. Focus on growing your personal relationship with Him and ask Him to show you His purpose for your life, He is faithful to provide. In the middle of seeking God and thinking about how you want to be remembered, you may just discover God’s purpose for your life and the circle of influence you are strategically placed in, that only you can influence.
3 thoughts on “What do You Want to Be?”
That is Fabulous & I’m anxious to share it with my young family & friends!!
Awe! Thank you so much Melinda – we miss you!
As usual you post hits home! You an amazing writer Sydney and I look forward to your thoughts!