As I sat at a table in Applebee’s last Thursday, surrounded by at least 20 of my good friends from Awaken Young Adult Ministry, it was interesting to listen in on the various conversations that were happening all around me.
Some were making plans to hang out one more time before the summer ended, others were discussing their jobs and summer vacations and still others were talking about more serious topics, such as what God has been teaching them over the past week.
Yet, amidst the laughter, joking and animated voices, I noticed one underlying theme for each of these very different conversations:
What may be in store for them in the future.
Understandably, each of us like to have an idea of what’s coming our way so that we can be ready for it. In order to prepare for that future, most students in the U.S. graduate from high school and then make the transition to college in order to study various career fields.
It can be exciting and terrifying at the same time – heading out to college for another semester of classes and getting one step closer to earning that diploma and degree… but then the question is.. what’s next?
Let me tell you my story.
I had no idea what God had in store for me after high school. Coming from a homeschooling family, I didn’t feel like I completely fit in with the public school students and didn’t know where my place was in the adult world. So, I went with the money-saving plan of going to community college until I figured out which career choice best fit the talents that I have.
That’s where I fell in love with journalism.
After getting a bunch of my articles published on the front page of The Commuter (the college newspaper) and completing the necessary courses in order to earn my Associates Degree in Journalism, I was ready to figure out what college I should go to in order to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I felt like I was starting back at square one!
I prayerfully looked through the mountain of pamphlets and brochures that had been endlessly spewing from my family’s mailbox ever since I graduated high school and finally found a nice state college out in the middle of nowhere: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The best thing is that the college accepted nearly all of my credits and had the exact major I was looking for: Print Journalism!
This started the next chapter of my life in Edinboro, PA, and boy was that a crazy ride. Without going into every single detail, let’s just say many of the experiences I had during my time there really stretched my faith and helped me to figure out where I fit in ministry and how God can use little ol’ me to further His kingdom on a college campus.
Ultimately, my time at EUP allowed me to make my faith and relationship with God my own and discover who I am as a unique individual… who God created me to be.
Coming back home was bittersweet after graduating in 2012 and having to leave all of my new friends behind. I felt like, once I was home and back working at Red Robin again, I was just plugging along at life, wondering exactly what God had in store for me, and not really taking a step in either direction, whether good or bad.
This one verse kept popping up in my mind during this time and it really helped to cling to the fact that God’s plan will come to pass as long as we wait on His timing:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond
anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”
Also, the well-known passage:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
The bottom line is this: none of us can hurry or slow down God’s plans for our lives. He will fulfill it when the time is right and all we need to do is trust Him and rely on His guidance no matter how long or tough the road may get.
Easier said than done, right? That’s definitely what it feels like at times.
Like I said before, when I came back home, I wasn’t really sure what the next step was. Here I had my Bachelor’s Degree in Print Journalism, but no idea of where or how to even begin looking for a “big girl” job… and the motivation just wasn’t there. I was burned out.
Then, a crazy thing happened.
I took my laptop with me for our family vacation back in June 2012 (just on a whim, since I normally swear off electronics during vacations). The moment I logged on to check Facebook, I found an online message from my community college advisor (who I hadn’t talked to in a little over 2 years) and he alerted me about an opening at one of the major local papers. He told me that they were looking for recent college graduates and urged me to contact them as soon as possible.
I called the number, got a phone interview on the spot and set up a face-to-face interview with one of the editors for when I got back from vacation… and within the next couple of weeks, I was offered the job of News Assistant at The Morning Call in Allentown, which is only half an hour from my parents’ house!
It still amazes me how, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the task of trying to apply for jobs in my career field, a newspaper job dropped right into my lap!
And it’s different for everyone.
Some will land a job in their career right away. Others may have to wait a year or more before they get their chance. It may get super frustrating when doors keep getting shut in our faces, but in the midst of all this, we need to remember:
“Until God opens the next door for you, praise Him in the hallway!”
So, while listening to all of my friends talk about heading back to college and getting ready to start up a whole new school year, it’s exciting for me too, even though I’m not heading back with them.
Because I know that while the future may seem so uncertain now for them… there’s an amazing God behind the scenes orchestrating a plan that goes way beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed of! And I can’t wait to see what adventures He has in store for each of my family and friends!