Multiple discussions I’ve had with friends over the last few weeks form the basis of why I write this post – which as a whole is directed at fellow young adults and at teenagers coming up to this point in their lives. As a young adult, I have personally, deeply struggled and had to come to terms with the fact that my future is going to be bigger and better with God at the fore, with Him at the lead and with His purpose on the horizon – even when there are times where His purposes don’t align with mine. As time has gone on, I have been slowly but surely learning lessons on the plans of God who in His sovereignty purposes all things for good.
Many young adults I know (and this includes me also) are getting to the end of our university degrees and realising that maybe I don’t want to do this after all. Maybe I don’t want to do accounting. Maybe I don’t want to teach full time. Maybe I don’t want to be a scientist. Aside from the massive debt we are left with, there’s nothing wrong with changing our minds on where we want our lives to head, especially because sometimes, the things we study can easily translate over into where God is leading us.
Coming through school, I always wanted to do science. At first, I wanted it to be marine biologist. By the end of school, I wanted to do biology and by the end of university, I wanted to be a conservation biologist and fully intended to find work as one. When I finished my bachelor of science in biological science in 2014, I became a qualified biologist. However, it was 2013 that I first started becoming interested in mission and had it not been for my parents, would have thrown in the towel on the bachelor of science to go to bible college.
In October 2014, I got employment as a graduate water quality consultant. A biological scientist doing a job more suited to an environmental scientist. The reason I share this little piece of information is this: although I was intentional and passionate about conservation science, everything fit directly into place for me to work as a water quality consultant.
Why do I think everything has worked out in this way? In reality, conservation science is mostly useless when it comes to most currently developing countries. In retrospect, knowledge and skills on water quality are essential for my own health and safety and the health and safety of others when it comes to the majority of places in this world where missions work focuses and represents a pretty good starting place for an avenue in sharing the truth about Jesus.
The question that passes through each of our minds at this age is this: “what is God calling me to do?” The truth of the matter is God’s plans are quite hidden from us. We don’t really know exactly what our life is meant to be spent doing. We know that we’re unlikely to be hearing an audible voice, see a flash of light or have a donkey speak to us. We’re unlikely to have any signs and wonders directing us. I know for me, my intention to go into ministry has been formed over a long period of time, shaped and molded by God. I’ve never heard an audible voice, gotten any direction outside of “Go therefore..” in Matthew 28. Instead, I’ve been faced with a quiet certainty and assurance, seen my passion and understanding deepen.
When it comes down to it, I am certain that where God leads in His bigger picture and better plan for us will inextricably be tied to our unique giftings granted to us by Him. An article by desiringGod.org called “Graduates, what is God calling you to do?” talks about these 4 points (summarised) on how to discern calling.
1) Consider your unique giftings – what have you been gifted with by God? Knowing what you are good at and what you enjoy is an important aspect of what God is going to lead us into.
2) Assess your aptitude with your giftings – how gifted are you in them? We all have different levels of giftings, and God tells us to use our gifts in accordance with the measure He gives them to us (Romans 12:3).
3) Weigh the mixture of your giftings – what is the sum total and mixture of these? It’s the mixture of our giftings that make us competent in different areas, and this mixture is more important then any single gifting.
4) Survey the opportunities in front of you – what opportunities are there which best fit the mixture of giftings you’ve been given?
As humans, we make all kinds of plans. We like to plan out our lives, our marriages, our homes. We plan out our vocation for the next 30 years, thinking we’re the one’s in control. Proverbs 19:21 tell us that “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” It’s the purpose of God that will prevail.
We forget that the plan of God is bigger and better. We forget He has our best in mind, works all things for our good and for His glory. In the gospel of Luke, Luke begins with his note to Theophilus, writing the account of the gospel because “it seemed good to me also..” (Luke 1:3). Just because we have no audible voice, no donkey speaking, no flash of light or angel from heaven speaking to us, we can be sure that Christ is directing us, in seeming unspectacular ways.