Like most people, as a child I was frequently asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” People’s curiosity still abounds, but now, when people are faced with a young adult instead of a child, the question has morphed into, “What did you study in school? What do you want to do with that degree?” or “What are your future plans?” In fact, I’ve been asked these hybrid questions almost DAILY since I started working for my dad in his Chiropractic office last year. It is a very natural question to ask a young person trapped behind a gigantic front desk, tethered to the office phone. I can’t blame my interested questioners, and neither do I harbor resentment for their curiosity, however I do have a difficult time offering a satisfying answer.
For a while I would answer the questions with my idea of the week. “I’m applying to a school in Ireland!” “I’m writing a couple songs with some friends. We’ll see what happens!” “I’m going to be moving to the City, probably by next month!”
Then over the months I transitioned into simply telling the inquisitive fellow what I did over the weekend and what adventure I had planned next. And finally I became quite creative in avoiding a real answer to the now exhausting questions. All these strategies were my attempt to avoid the real answer of what I am doing with my life.
I only tried this honest answer out a couple of times… which promptly deflated any conversation! Waiting is quite counter-cultural, especially for young people who are supposed to be out exploring the world and tasting every flavor life cooks up. And yet, here I am. Waiting. Waiting for something that is still unknown to me.
It’s not a very comfortable feeling.
I fall into the ranks of those who would rather do ANYTHING other than wait. It’s the antithesis to a main ingredient of how I live my life: with movement. Waiting is an action that fills me with dread. Yet it can be an anthem for those of us in our twenties. That is, unless you somehow hit the figured-out-my-future lottery and got into your dream grad school or occupation two weeks after graduation.
From a young age I was taught to work hard for the goal I had set before me. My parents didn’t entice me with the illusion that I could do whatever I set my mind to, but they did help me see that I was able to set realistic goals, and accomplish them with perseverance, blood, sweat and tears. And often that’s what it took.
What I’m discovering now is that this strategy doesn’t work without a goal. And the true lesson I’m learning is that I’m not always the one to create my life’s goals.
A Bible verse that has always given me trouble is Psalm 37:4. “Take delight in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Seems simple enough. I’ll just be glad my god is God and He will give me all the things I want. Like the perfect job. Or the best car on the block. Or perfect friends. Maybe even Mr. Perfect himself. So, to get the things I wanted, I worked the magic formula and was glad I knew about God, yet I went about my life setting goals and making strategies to get them.
Wouldn’t you know. My plans always failed. Pretty miserably in fact.
This forced me back to that annoyingly betraying verse for more understanding as I was CLEARLY not getting it. And in my study of this verse I was given real understanding. Delighting myself in the Lord means a close relationship with Him. And when you’re in a close relationship with someone, your interests and desires can become similar, if not the same.
Again this can seem like an easy formula. However, developing a close relationship with God is tricky. It’s a full surrender to God of every area of your life. Of every single nook and cranny of your soul. And it’s an art of being perfectly honest with yourself of whether or not you have fully surrendered, or if you spend all your time and energy concocting an illusion to yourself and fellow Christ followers that you are fully obedient. It’s learning to wait for God’s best for you.
So here I am waiting. Here I am being honest with myself that I need to concentrate on surrendering.
Here I am waiting in trust that God’s best for me is unfathomably better than my best plans for my life. Whatever those plans may be.