A firefighter, a ballerina, or a ditch digger. As a small child, these were my career goals. I don’t think much has changed. I’m still all over the place when it comes to “what I want to be when I grow up.” In fact, I’ve come to detest that question. It’s absurd. Not that I’m against dreams and goals, but, seriously, can most people answer that at 8, or even 18?
I remember being terrified as a college student. I have to choose something right now, based on what little I know, to do for the rest of my life. No pressure!
I knew I wanted to help people in some way. I enjoyed my high school psychology class. Ok, psych major it is. Declared. A year and a half later, I switched to social work, as it seemed to be more hands on and practical service for those I would be helping.
Then there was the question of what area of social work. Knowing first hand what families can go through when someone is ill, medical social work seemed like a good idea. But wait, it looks like one really needs a master’s degree for a lot of social work jobs. What now? More schooling for a career I’m not even sure of?
By the time I graduated with a bachelor’s degree, I was so burnt out on social work and school I just could not take any more. I had been working part-time in retail during college, and went up the ladder to full-time assistant manager after graduation. One year of that was enough. I demoted myself and got my life back. A couple more years of retail and I was done.
God brought me next to real estate. I worked for 6.5 years as assistant to one of the area’s top agents. I learned a lot. I enjoyed a lot of it. I was ready to be done with it when the real estate market popped and I was laid off.
What now, God? I thought. I still have no clue what job would be a good fit. Nothing sounded too appealing.
Turns out, God led me to my current job, which I love, as a school photographer for Color Portraits. Praise the Lord for guiding me to it. It’s a great match for my skills, interests, and personality. (Skills including photography and finding my way around Chicagoland, which just so happened to be what I developed in my real estate job.)
I had been praying for a new job during my last few months with the realtor. I just didn’t realize how God would answer that prayer. The photography job is a position I would not have taken if I had not already been laid off, due to the drastic decrease in pay it would mean.
The job has been a huge blessing. I love the work, plus I now enjoy summers off with my teacher husband.
This was not without sacrifice, though. As I mentioned, this job would not be paying what I was used to making. In fact, taking it would mean downsizing our home. What would that involve?
Moving out of the extremely charming 75-year-old home we had purchased four years before and had spent the past four years pouring blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of dough into fixing up just how we wanted. The home that seemed perfect for the entertaining we like to do. The home I was in love with. Also, the older home, with a high-maintenance yard, that required lots of upkeep both inside and out, that was using up a lot of our resources in both time and money.
In other considerations, this was not a good time to be selling a house. My job lay-off was evidence of that.
So, what happened? We took a little step of faith and God showed up. Our house sold after just two weeks on the market. We got more than we bought it for (which was becoming a rarity in the market by then.) We found a townhome just our size for cost, upkeep, and living space. Yes, we did let go of some furniture and my beloved ping pong table, but we now have a lot less to clean and care for, including NO yard work. We now live farther away from some friends, but closer to others. Entertaining can be a bit of a squeeze, but we manage.
My husband is now seven minutes from his school. I often enjoy our (much smaller) patio overlooking a nice pond, complete with geese and a weeping willow. My extra time off has allowed me to pursue what I have since come to realize is my answer to “the question.” No, not 42.
While I still don’t feel tied to one dock for career choice, I have circled back to what I have wanted to be since old enough to wield a pen. A writer. In the past three years, I have been blessed with opportunities to write for my church, this blog, and, recently, have even started getting paid to write for websites! Pursuing this passion has been a huge blessing.
All in all, God clearly worked all this out for us. Praise the Lord!
Where will these opportunities lead? What about three more years from now? Who knows but God. I’m just excited to be where I am and look forward to what God will do next.
I guess the point of all these ramblings (other than to get the tumbling thoughts out of my skull and onto the page) is to reassure you, reader, that there is no need to panic. If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, maybe that’s ok. If the future seems uncertain, that’s ok too. God directs our paths anyway.
The path you lay before me, Lord
I do not see the end.
I know not what may lie ahead,
or what’s around each bend.
You set me on this road,
in your wisdom, for your glory.
I must walk a trail, paved not by men,
for you, Lord, write my story.
Each step will lead me on in faith,
that you know where I go.
I’ll walk on toward what you have for me,
though what lies ahead, I do not know.
It may be a darkened wood,
or sunny ocean’s shore.
I know only that you’ve said start here,
trust Me, and no more.
I can’t guess what may come next,
but you will be my light,
guiding as the path takes turns unseen,
as I walk by faith, not by sight.
And as I take the first step down that path,
hoping your will to obey,
I hear you whisper “Fear not, my child.
Just take my hand. I’ll lead the way.”
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.