The past decade or so I’ve read a few books that have touched on the idea of following your heart, professional choices, changing careers, all that, (although, not the ones alluded to in the title, but their titles are rather clever.) Since I work in a middle school, I also see similar encouragements for the kids. I love that, because I think it’s just so very important for that age group to start evaluating and exploring and looking at life and the future in those terms, and how their choices now effect their horizons later.
From where I stand, 58 years down my own path, I guess I should know…
I don’t recall ever having those kinds of tests or questions or books to read back in the 70’s. The reason I chose nursing was (at least in part) because it looked exciting on TV and I thought Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy was pretty cool. So there it is. Such a well informed decision of a 17-year-old would surely have nothing but successful results.
Needless to say, the nursing profession and I have had a love/hate relationship ever since, at least in this cultural climate. I remember sitting alone on my parents’ patio one night after high school, literally dedicating my chosen career path to the Lord. And therefore, with all the angst of the decades that were to follow, I have found myself asking, “How, Lord, would You allow me to make such a colossal mistake?!?”
So reading this genre of books hasn’t exactly had the intended effect; on the contrary, considering my place in life at the time, with a family to help support, they actually left me more discontent and frustrated. It’s one thing to “follow your heart” if you’re single, have no one but yourself depending on you, in good health, out of debt, etc. But what about the other 99.9% if the human population?
Which brings me to (yet another) account of the Jewish nation just about to step into their ready-made homeland. But before they get the prize, Moses is giving them some much needed perspective:
“Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’”
Now there’s a divine megaphone if ever I heard one! Duh. No simple elevator ride to the penthouse for them either. Nope, they had some struggle to go through, and even though the struggle was based on their decisions, God still knew it was going to happen…and He used it to their advantage.
Maybe my thinking process wasn’t the most logical one at the time, but God knew what He was doing, and what He was going to do with my decision, all along. His end game wasn’t my career; it was me—my character, my eternity, my relationship with Him.
And anyway, if I’m tempted to be disgruntled, there’s always a little more perspective to be gained:
Deuteronomy 6:15-17 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.