I turned 30 last month. No, I don’t feel as old as I thought I would, but yes, 30 still sounds old to me. As a teenager —even as a child — I always assumed I would be a homeschooling mom by now. So far, marriage and motherhood haven’t been a part of my story, and I have floundered through the years in trying to decide what else I am going to do with my life.
Several years ago, I graduated with a communications degree, but then took a teaching position at a daycare. I worked there until recently, but my approaching milestone birthday reminded me that I wanted to do something else.
I just wasn’t sure what.
Standing in a blizzard
I recently met a young woman whose husband is in the military. She told me about their summer plans, which hinged on whether her husband would be in training. When I commented about how hard it must be to live with so many unknowns, she brushed it off. “Everyone lives with that,” she said. “We’re just more aware of it.”
She’s right. Whether we have our futures planned out or not, none of us really knows what’s next. The Israelites followed God’s leading through the wilderness for 40 years. The Bible says Abraham obeyed God’s directions “not knowing where he was going.”
Personally, I prefer to have a list or a map or anything visual. I like to know what’s next and how much further until the next stop. I feel like I can handle a to-do list that at least spells out the steps I should be taking and decisions I should be making.
But the dizzying number of possibilities and opinions on career and life decisions are anything but a clear-cut list. Trying to decide how to spend our lives can feel like standing in a prairie during a blizzard. I’ve never done that, but I read some prairie pioneer books as a child that convinced me it’s very disorienting.
One of my favorite verses when facing decisions and unknowns is Isaiah 35:8b. To be honest, I’m not sure my interpretation is entirely correct, but I think the principle would hold true. As God promises hope for His people’s future, He says that “…even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”
Even if they are fools.
When I’m stressing about a fork in the road — or a wide open, empty prairie of possibilities — I often worry about being a fool. This verse has comforted me in that even if I make a “wrong” decision, God’s plan will not be compromised. No matter how much I flounder, I can’t mess up God’s will for my life.
One foot in front of the other
Last fall, I applied to a virtual course in journalism. My application was denied, but the staff recommended I apply for a later course for younger applicants. I almost didn’t, but I finally sent in my application the day before the deadline.
This time I was accepted, and for two weeks last May I studied journalism at an out-of-state campus. I was a month away from my 30th birthday and surrounded by students and recent grads who were mostly in their early 20s — which again reminded me how long I’ve been uncertain about my path.
But I loved it. Two weeks after the course ended, I started a summer internship with the organization that taught the course. I have really enjoyed it, and maybe I’ve found the elusive career I’ve been looking for. My internship was scheduled to end this past Friday, and I had no prospects for anything after that. At a small group prayer meeting a couple weeks ago, I asked for prayer for direction. The next day, my internship mentor extended my internship until October.
I don’t have a map for my life. But my God has a plan that cannot be messed up, and I’m thrilled about the next step He has given me. I don’t know what will come after that step, and I’m OK with that. At least I’m learning to be OK with it. I can trust that He is at work in my life, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
You know what? I think a map would be boring.
Copyright 2021 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.