I have a dilemma. Here are the facts:
- I want to get married and eventually be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).
- I need to get a job.
- I am graduating in two months.
- I don't know whether I should relocate to a big city on the east coast or whether I should stay in my comfortable, affordable hometown.
- I am worried that by relocating I am giving up chances to meet viable men in my hometown (who may be more marriage-minded or ready) and also that the men in the big city won't be interested in pursuing relationships geared toward marriage.
- I am also worried that by moving to an east coast city, I'll fall into the trap of adultescence, considering the city is made up mostly of young people just starting out. I also really love my hometown. (Did I mention I really love my hometown?)
- My parents are moving to a different town that is neither one of the first two towns, but I have no real need to move there.
- I have traveled domestically and internationally, and prefer my hometown because the cost of living is low, it's relatively safe, family-friendly, and I have established a network there (I'm trying to use wisdom here).
- The men in an east coast city might be more likely to be intellectual matches for me — reconciliation-minded intellectuals. (Possibly.)
Is it crazy to live in my hometown after graduation? Am I selling myself short of what could be great potential elsewhere? Am I settling? I really want to establish myself as an adult in familiar territory before getting my mind mixed up with the unknown, but I'm also afraid that if I don't venture out now, I'll never go. What if I'm wrong about the men in my hometown? Should I apply for jobs in both cities? I'm trying to be wise, but wisdom just gives me that much more responsibility. Please help!
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! It’s great that you want to make the transition from college to what’s next with wisdom and are striving to be intentional about your post-graduation plans. Far too many recent grads seem content to let the currents of life take them willy-nilly this way and that. However, I think you may be over-thinking this, worrying too much and dwelling needlessly on the theoretical.
As I read your numbered list, what you call “facts,” I found few facts and much speculation. What I suggest you focus on first are the facts that you’re almost ready to graduate and you need a job. The following is a list of questions that may help guide you going forward:
- What has God equipped you to do/what is your degree in?
- Given your field of study, what are your job prospects?
- What is your plan for applying for those jobs?
- Of the jobs that are available, which ones are located in the most desirable cities, based on things like proximity to family, cost of living, ease of relocation, etc.?
As you answer these questions and move forward with the application and interview process, I believe your options will become more clear, and you’ll hopefully have a choice or two (or more) to consider. At that point, it’s helpful to look at things like church communities, opportunities for ministry and — given your desire to be a wife and mother — marriage prospects.
So, for example, if one of the jobs is near your current home (where you are in school) and would allow you to continue on as a member of your current church body (assuming you’ve taken the essential step of joining a local church), and requires the skills you’ve spent the last four years acquiring and pays a wage you can live on, then I’d say that sounds like a leading candidate.
If, on the other hand, you get a killer opportunity in a remote location, far away from friends, family and church, but one that pays even better and is aligned with your training, then you’d have two viable options to weigh. If this second scenario does materialize, I’d encourage you to not only look at the weather, cost of living, crime rate, culture, housing, typography and such, but also to investigate churches in the area.
As a Christian, access to a vibrant local church is essential. I’d rather make less money and be living out my faith in community than raking in the cash in a fellowship-starved location.
As I read your list, I couldn’t help but think of Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something. In it, he talks about the tendency of 20-somethings to noodle endlessly, so fearful of doing anything “outside God’s will,” that they end up doing nothing.
The hesititancy so many of us (especially the young) feel in making decisions and settling down in life and therefore diligently searching for the will of God has at least two sources. First, the new generations enjoy — or at least think they enjoy — "unparalleled freedom." Nothing is settled after high school or even college anymore. Life is wide open and filled with endless possibilities, but with this sense of opportunity comes confusion, anxiety and indecision. With everything I could do and everywhere I could go, how can I know what’s what? ...
Second, our search for the will of God has become an accomplice in the postponement of growing up, a convenient out for the young (or old) Christian floating through life without direction or purpose. …
As a result, we are full of passivity and empty on follow-through. We’re tinkering around with everyone and everything. Instead, when it comes to our future, we should take some responsibility, make a decision and just do something.
He also talks about “the Way of Wisdom”:
Wisdom is knowing God and doing as He commands. Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself. So when we talk about wisdom, we are talking about more than witty aphorisms and homespun advice. We are talking about a profoundly God-centered approach to life. Biblical wisdom means living a disciplined and prudent life in the fear of the Lord. … Wisdom is precious because it keeps us from foolishness … and from real dangers.
What’s the secret to getting wisdom? DeYoung breaks it down to three things: “we get wisdom by reading our Bibles, listening to sound advice and praying to God.”
You’ve begun the process by asking for help (thanks for writing!) and will, I pray, continue, by reading and studying your Bible daily, talking with your pastor and parents about your decisions, and praying to God regularly. You might also take an hour or two to read DeYoung’s small book Just Do Something. It’s full of practical help.
As you begin to move forward in the process of job hunting, you’ll begin to have some real opportunities and real choices to make. And then, and now, it’s important to live by Paul’s admonition to fear not:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
And don’t let your thoughts run wild. Praying is a tremendous safeguard against irrational thinking:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
I pray that God will guide you as you seek Him and that you’ll be able to enjoy the adventure of moving into this next season of life and adulthood.
Copyright 2011 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.