Too many times I’ve looked around at what everyone else is doing rather than seeking God to find my own life path and purpose.
I’ve allowed society to plant seeds of judgement that sprout into anxiety and feelings of inadequacy before blooming into actions of panic. Can you relate, Bud? We often feel lost, especially in those first few post-grad years as a 20-something. The weight of the world heavy on our chests and shoulders as everyone waits with bated breath for us to make our mark and prove our worth.
We feel the need to validate to ourselves and others that our time, money, passion, and energy preparing for our career choice was well spent. It is so easy to feel impatient, to forget that God is in control and our God is good. We deem ourselves a failure if what we think success is supposed to look like hasn’t happened in our current position. We try to mold ourselves to follow a linear path to success on a strict timeline, forgetting the divine individuality of each life path. And in the midst of the mini breakdowns as we hustle and wonder if we are doing anything right…at all, how comforting is it to stop for a moment to breathe and think about how we were created for a specific purpose by God?
Our passions, our talents, our personalities, and our life experiences are thoughtfully molded for more than just our careers in modern society, but for our God given purpose in life. There are countless verses that reassure us of this, Jeremiah 1:5, 29:11-13, and Ephesians 2:10. While it may be comforting in times of vulnerability, who else sees the scripture verses in pretty and complimenting editorial fonts in social media posts, hears this message spoken of often but struggles to apply it to life?
In our culture it’s so easy to put our identity and value in our occupation and the level of success we attain through it when one of the first questions in an introduction is, “So what do you do?”. Our lives form around our occupations as the hours we put into it grows with the passing of time and it changes the way we think and the people we choose to surround ourselves with. Most of us spend years in school learning and gaining knowledge specifically for our chosen career field. Post-graduation we spend the rest of our lives trying to master our career to gain recognition and higher financial compensation. We become immersed in a world of our own making. With most of our time dedicated to building our careers thoughts of comparison may sneak in and weigh heavy on our hearts along with self-doubt, shame, guilt, anxiety, maybe even imposter-syndrome .Did you choose the right path? Are your peers more successful? Will it get better for you or should you just do what most of your peers are doing?
Maybe these thoughts have made you believe you have strayed and that you’ve messed up the plans the Lord has for you, but in Proverbs 19:21 we are told, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” No one has that amount of control! It’s easy to think God is out of control and lacks a plan for you when our lives feel out of control. We overwhelm ourselves by unknowingly taking on the role and tasks of the Lord in our own lives rather than our duty of fellowship with God.
God’s ultimate purpose for us is not something that will occur immediately. We have a life to live! We have connections to make, skills to be learned, and life experiences that will change us, for these are the building blocks of a bigger purpose to be achieved. We forget that hindsight is a luxury and God wants us to faithfully trust in him. Stop and ask yourself, who is in control of your life?God will never throw us into circumstances we are unprepared for without a greater purpose in the outcome. God is in control. He knew what would happen before time began and no matter what, God is good.
There are countless stories of confused individuals wondering about their greater purpose, but it took time to get there. It can be easy to separate ourselves from the individuals featured in the bible due to the drastic differences in time, technology and the fantasy like quality of God himself prominently performing holy acts and miracles in front of the characters of the bible.However, they too were human, were often labeled in society by their occupations, and were troubled with self-doubt when called by God. When God first came to Moses in the burning bush and called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt Moses response was, “‘Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ “(Exodus 3:11)" God said, ‘I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you…’” (3:12) Moses retorted with questions like, “‘But what if they don’t believe me or pay attention to me? They might say to me, ‘The Lord didn’t appear to you!’’“(4:1) “Please, my Lord, just send someone else.” (4:13)
After his first attempt to lead the people out of Israel, things didn’t go well, it was what Moses had feared. The pharaoh scoffed at him and acted even more cruel towards the Israelites, at which point “Moses turned to the Lord and said, ‘My Lord. Why have you abused these people? Why did you send me for this? Ever since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has abused these people. And you’ve done absolutely nothing to rescue your people.’ ” (5:22-23)Moses goes on to help the Israelites out of Egypt by the guiding hand of God and returns to the mountain to receive the ten commandments, but I think we all have had similar moments to Moses in how we interact with God.
We feel called to something and then consider ourselves a failure when we haven’t even had the grace and patience to trust in God and his timing. Know that God does not produce feelings of anxiety and fear. The devil seats negative feelings to make you question the word of God. Fear drives fear-based questions to the Lord that condemn our circumstances and search for blame, which destroys our faith and looks to make our issues less severe or painful. Keep the faith and do not be quick to feel neglected by the Lord or to deem yourself unworthy based on earthly standards. “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 1:5)
Corinne Gannon lives in Honolulu, Hawaii with her husband, Michael and their two high energy, always-ready-for-adventure pups, Lilo & Piper. She is a freelance writer and a student. So, you will always find her with coffee, a cute notebook, and a pen in hand. In her free time, she loves hiking and exploring the beautiful island she lives on, satisfying her sweet tooth by attempting to bake a healthy dessert, reading a book, or trying new crafts and creative hobbies. To find more, say hi, or become best friends follow @lauracorinnegannon on Instagram!