No ministry, no career, no man. Great plan? Part I

God's teaching me about contentment regarding my work, ministry and boyfriend situations.

Photo by Silas Nelson, sourced from CreationSwap.com.

Career, ministry or spouse.

I didn’t realize it till last week, but all my life I’ve judged people’s success against those three criteria. If you have at least one of these things, you’ve got something going in your life. Got two or three? You go, girl! (Or guy. 🙂 )

But none? What are you doing with your life?

Now I’m realizing that I’m one of those people.

I’ve always expected that the closer I get to God, the closer I get to meeting a great guy and God ‘doing great things’ through me. After all, that’s what everyone tells you. ‘Run hard after God and one day you might find someone running beside you’. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil 4:13 NKJV). ‘God has a great plan for your life’.

All good advice, when taken the right way.

I wasn’t taking it the right way.

In my mind, a great relationship with God + His timing = dreams coming true in one way or another, even if it’s not how I expect. I’d go to ‘God stuff’ to get to know Him better, but at the same time I was scanning the room for potential husbands and dreaming up the plot of my best-selling book. Suffice to say, God usually didn’t get 100% of my focus.

But on Saturday, as I joined with a group of 20-somethings on a mountain to seek God together, a question popped into my mind. What if my journey with God takes me away from the path of marriage and publishing contracts?

Everything suddenly looked a whole lot less glamorous.

What if God’s great plan for me involves boring everyday stuff that no one appreciates? It might accomplish great things from His point of view, but it’ll look ho-hum on earth. There could be no recognition. No one asking how I had the faith to accomplish such a thing. No career to be proud of. And no husband—or at least not for a long time.

Am I as motivated to seek God then?

Saturday showed me some big truths about my motivations. God told me I need to be content with just Him, and trust in His plan—even if I can’t see how it all fits together.

Then on Tuesday, God drove the point home.

I had been waiting to hear back about a job I’d applied for. I really wanted it, and I thought I was going to get it. And then they gave it to someone else.

With my current work situation, packing supermarket shelves is a very real option. One I don’t like. And still with no man. Still with no ministry. And with no indication that things will turn around.

What’s the point of that kind of life?

I’ll be honest, I had a mini meltdown on Tuesday. I cried on the phone for an hour to Mum, who told me to go get chocolate and watch my favourite TV show and not think about it for a few hours till I’d calmed down. Good advice. It worked.

After sitting on it for a few days, God’s reminded me of a few things:

1. He knows what He’s doing. He’s King. If he says I need to pack supermarket shelves for the rest of my life, I should pack them with a smile coz that’s where He wants me.

2. My pride runs deeper than I thought it did. (Which pride usually does. If we were humble enough to be aware of it, we wouldn’t be proud.)

3. Whether or not my life has meaning is not tied to how spiritually impressive my life appears. God may be more pleased with a pensioner than a mega church pastor (depending on their respective attitudes).

4. God knows what this feels like; He experienced the full spectrum of human emotion on earth. He understands, and He’s with me. (See Heb 4:15)

5. All things considered, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of people are far worse off. Suck it up.

So, here I go. Off to a life where I don’t measure up by my own standards. One where God keeps peeling my fingers back off my pride and my expectations.

One where I keep learning what full surrender to Him really means.

 

Keep an eye out next week for Part II!

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6 comments

  1. The toughest lesson we all have to learn is that God wants our faithfulness not our work. He may ask any of us to pack supermarket shelves in order to lead one particular person to Him. It would be a privilege even if that was to be our life’s work.

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