Written by: Kate Grounds
When I was ten I had my heart set on becoming a meteorologist. For six months I would check our local weather station a dozen times a day and practice my best weather woman voice in the mirror. Shortly after I conjured this dream, I realized I hated science class and would much rather spend my free time studying the cute boy next door than studying cloud patterns. By 11 I had altogether abandoned my life-long ambition of becoming a meteorologist and set my eyes on a much more sensible career path instead: professional singing.
It’s easy to chuckle at our childhood vision of the perfect future. At 10-years-old, I clearly had so much left to learn about myself and the world around me. But that was 10-year-old me: full of child-like faith and youthful optimism. Fast forward to 20-year-old me. Let me tell you what, 20-year-old me had life figured out. Heading into my junior year of college, my life was a one-way ticket on the happiness express: I would graduate from college, get married to my boyfriend of three years, become an elementary school teacher, have the 2.5 kids and the house with the white picket fence, volunteer at my local church on the side, and tie a big red bow on my perfectly planned out life. I had a clear vision of my picture-perfect future, so I naturally assumed this was the direction the Lord intended for my life to go.
A series of unfortunate events led to a quick unraveling of my 5-year-plan. The guy I was set on marrying broke up with me unexpectedly, and I was devastated. I was also nearing the end of my elementary education degree, and even though I was doing well academically and had always envisioned myself being a teacher, I just wasn’t sure anymore. I’ve always had a very type A personality that loves being in control, so instead of feeling liberated by this season of closed doors and blank slates, I just felt overwhelmed and confused. Even though my personality struggled under the weight of uncertainty, it also got me in a heart posture to ask the Lord a question I had been too afraid to ask: If my 5-year-plan is no longer an option, what would you like me to do with my life instead?
The months that followed felt a lot like laying my broken dreams at the foot of the cross and allowing the Lord to construct a new and surprisingly more beautiful picture. It was in this season of surrender that I finally realized what the Lord had been trying to teach me for a long time: that God actually knows us better than we know ourselves, and that His plan for our lives is always better than the mental Pinterest boards we so desperately cling to. It’s not that He doesn’t care about our hopes, dreams, and ambitions. He does. But He always sees the bigger picture, and cares infinitely more about our emotional health and holiness than about handing us our dreams on a silver platter.
If you had told me ten years ago that I would be a recent Seminary grad, working as a Middle School Girls Pastor at a mega church, still single at 26 but surprisingly content with my current stage of life, I would have laughed in your face. I had no idea that grown-up me would get so much joy from pastoring and discipling teenage girls for a living. I had no idea that I would eventually come to see singleness as a season to be embraced rather than painfully endured. But God knew all along. He knew what He had created me to do long before I ever even realized it myself, and I think that’s why He led me down the path He did. Looking back now, I am so unbelievably thankful for every closed door and crushed dream.
As a twenty-something Christian, I’ve felt the pressure that often comes with trying to figure out God’s will for your life. Your twenties can feel a lot like trying to piece together a puzzle without being allowed to see the picture on the box. But the more I’ve walked out my faith the more I’ve realized that God’s will for my life is more of an ongoing journey than a momentary revelation, and I’m learning to be okay with that. I’m not sure what the next ten years of my life will look like. I have fuzzy dreams and loosely scribbled goals. Honestly, I just don’t need to know right now, and that’s the best gift the Lord has given me over the last few years: a deeper trust in His goodness and a willingness to follow wherever He leads me next--even if where He leads me next wasn’t in my ten-year plan.
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