the not-so-distant future

How does one decide how to spend his or her time?

I feel that these days, my thoughts are circling around decisions that will soon be made by Willy and I in terms of our future. Fortunately, I don’t really feel a lot of pressure – I don’t have anyone telling me I have to live up to my potential or that they have high expectations for me. Then again, it can be good for people to tell you those things sometimes, because otherwise maybe you think you can get away with not doing much of anything at all. I must say, I’ve always been successful at toeing the line.

Other people’s influence aside, I feel excited now that we are both done with school and ready to explore, learn and experience what the Lord has in store for the next chapter of our lives. We have plenty we’d love to do – and I’m sure we will do many exciting things – but I keep reflecting on how I want to spend my days; namely, what kind of jobs I want to pursue.

Right now, it simultaneously feels as if there are lots of jobs out there and yet no jobs at all. I admit that I’m sometimes envious of those who have applied themselves to such a specific area of expertise that they know exactly what kinds of opportunities exist for them. I majored in something that I enjoyed (Conservation Social Science), but even a month after I graduated, I recall feeling that I didn’t have a very useful degree. Now, there certainly are components to it that I do use now that I can use in different jobs, but I don’t see many jobs asking for my type of degree.

Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m not down or depressed about it. I may have felt scared, and maybe I do now, too, but I’m also hopeful. I know that God has always, ALWAYS provided for me financially both as a single person and now as part of a married couple. I am reminding myself that to live in fear – of not getting a job because I’m not good enough or didn’t make the right decision about a degree or didn’t get good enough grades – is not of God. The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. God is growing me even now in that, showing me that He loves me perfectly and when I really believe that and walk in it, He will take care of me and provide for me, not punish me or condemn me. Wow. It makes no sense, but it is His design. Who am I to argue it?

So then, here I am, at a crossroads in my career. I could try to keep on the path I’ve started, working in social science research; I could try something related but different, such as working at a park or a non-profit organization; or I could do something completely new: learn to bake bread, cook in a professional setting, try to get a full-time gig growing produce or working at a farmer’s market. There are plenty of opportunities, and also plenty of jobs that I’m totally unqualified for.

But even now I’m realizing how critical it is to have the mind of Christ in all of this. I am either going to walk in the truth that I am loved, never alone and never condemned, and see all the blessings and opportunities that I’m given, daily; or I will (eventually) fall into a self-pitying hole, feeling depressed about what I can’t do on my own strength, focusing on my failures, which truly are numerous.

I started writing this because I wanted to communicate that I am feeling unsure of myself, but it seems silly now because it’s really going to be just fine. All I have to do is listen for the voice that says, “This is the way; walk in it” – not necessarily leading me through all the career successes that the world promises, but instead giving me the Spirit to encourage me. I can count on it. Thank you, Lord.

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4 thoughts on “the not-so-distant future

  1. elise! i liked that journey through your thoughts. i think you and willy are in a very exciting time of life, but also in a hard time of life. not knowing where or what you will be doing this time next month and so on. It is great to hear you pressing into the Lord for guidance, and self assurance!
    I’m excited to see where God takes you guys next. Have you ever thought about living overseas for a teaching job like Trent and I did? It;s not for everyone, but 1 year is a GREAT way to dump money into school loans, save money and also can be beneficial for your resume. Not to mention a pretty great life experience! Just something else to add to the list of possibilities!

    • Thanks for the comment and encouragement, friend! I like the overseas idea, too. We haven’t really talked about doing something like that but it’s definitely worth considering. I do really want to travel… Maybe I can pick your brain about it a little. Did you not have to pay on your loans while you were over there? I think that’s really the only thing that I might worry about.

      • we actually paid EXTRA on our loans while we were over there. We were making plenty of money and not paying rent anywhere, so we paid down our loans A LOT while we were there! And we still came back with lots of savings. We made more over there then we would have here for sure!

  2. Wow! I am in a similar boat! That being said: When are boats are in a storm, Jesus calms it.

    Love,
    Carla

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