So you’re wondering what’s next, what do to with your life. Join the club. This has been my most FAQ for the past couple of years. When I was in New Zealand we had many many conversations about calling and identity. We had one speaker tell us that we should pray like crazy and not do anything unless God tells us to do it. Another said that we’re not idiots and God knows this so we should figure it out ourselves. I was totally (to use an old skool phrase) confused-dot-com.
And since then it hasn’t gotten that much better. Over the past couple of years I have received a lot of advice on future plans and what I should be focusing on. Some of it has been really helpful and some of it not so much – one friend told me that I should “do something irrational. Have a family.” Thanks. Good Plan. That would solve all my problems right now. And I've even had that awkward conversation of “God told me you should train to be a missionary and then come and join me on the mission field in Asia. Just kidding. But not really. Just kidding. Hahahaha.” Excellent. Ha. Ha. Ha. I just threw up from laughing so much at the hilariousness of that comment, you should really consider becoming a stand up comedian.
Talk about first world problem – too many options and don’t know what to do.
Here is a collection of advice and thoughts and bits of conversations I've has over the past couple of years on how to figure out what's next:
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...Love your neighbour as yourself. Matthew 22 v 37-39
0 to 25 - Try everything but sin (rock climb, play sport, study arts, study science, write a book).
25 to 30 - Focus on ten things.
30 to 40 - Do two things really well.
40 onwards - Mentor and invest.
So do not worry about having enough food or drink or clothing...Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. Matthew 6 v 31-33
God’s will is all over scripture, we know what He wants so why do we keep asking what His will is? Why don’t we instead try and figure out how we, in the fullness of how we've been made, play a part in it?
How do you want to be living? What are the values and rhythms you want to be living out?
I think we assume that everyone knows what they want to do. It’s much closer to the truth to say that most of us somehow fall into the jobs we have. And only half of those people end up doing something that they like, and only half of those people do something that they love.
We’re not really given space to wander. Some people try out a number of different career paths before they find one they’re comfortable with. But we frown on this and say that they’re flaky. When maybe they’re the ones brave enough to try new things in search of what they enjoy.
We’ll probs be working till we drop dead on the job, so do something you enjoy. If it takes ten years of wandering to get there then don’t sweat it, you still have another million years until retirement/dropping dead. So don’t be afraid of wandering, but do be intentional.
Who do you know? Who do you enjoy working with? Who inspires you? What work environment suits you best?
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
Maybe there’s not one perfect career for you. There could be several different things that you could really enjoy doing and that you could thrive in. So there’s not necessarily one right option. So don’t worry about making the wrong wrong choice.
Go to New Zealand.
Don’t forget to b r e a t h e.
I have been all over the place with this. I’ve had days when I’ve been super excited about the future, days when I’ve been so stressed I couldn’t do anything but try to run from my own thoughts (well, more kind of like baking than actually running) and then there’s been the days when I’ve not thought about it so it’s been fine.
The most important thing I have learned about this is that God is there no matter what. Whether I come up with a five year plan in the next week, or whether it takes one/two/five/ten years, God will be there no matter what I end up doing. He does not change. I can count on His character and His promises no matter where I am or what I am doing. And at the end of the day, I’m only visiting this planet.
"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even until the end of the age"
Matthew 28 v 20