I grew up in a church culture (or maybe less a church culture and more of a Christian literature culture) that made God sound like He had one specific path planned for us. The impression I got was that every decision I made had to be bathed in prayer, and I had to be 100% sure that I was hearing God on whatever choice I made, or else I would screw up the path He’d set up for me. If I didn’t choose right, then either God would abandon me, or else He’d let whatever choice I made suffer and eventually, like the prodigal son, I’d come crawling back to Him, saying “God, I was wrong – forgive me!”
I was tempted to say that when you’re young, you’re faced with a lot of choices, but realistically, all of life is full of choices. But when you’re young, you’re thinking about stuff like your first job, where you’ll go to college, where you’ll go to church, what bank you’ll set up an account with, and (of course) who (if anyone) you date.
Pray, pray, pray. Make the right choice.
What if there is no “right choice?”
This could be specific to me (but that’s self-flattery, because it’s not specific to me) but I’ve noticed that in life, a lot of my choices haven’t been terribly arduous to make, and they’ve realistically consisted of taking the best available. For example, when I first attended my home church of 9 years, it was because I’d been there when I was nine years old for a few times, and I didn’t know where else to go. When I went to college, I chose Eastern Kentucky University because it was close to home, relatively inexpensive, and easy to get into. When I chose my major, it wasn’t because I had some big ambition to go into the field of psychology, but because I thought it was interesting and I found it an enjoyable thing to study.
I was offered a job at a local coffee shop the summer before my senior year of college, and I had no special, deep, profound reason to choose to work there, nor did I have some horrendous reason to leave the job I was already at. I just chose.
When I was offered a job in Lexington, the same thing happened. It just sounded like a cool thing to do, so I chose.
I guess my life is a lot less ambitious (which I’m perfectly okay with) but I never found myself stressing about which major university to apply to, or which big-time job to apply for, or where I should live. A lot of things have just made sense.
You could outline every major decision I’ve made in my life, and I doubt that for more than one or two of them, you’d get a spiritual reasoning for it.
I’ve been thinking about this idea a whole lot lately, and I think it goes for people who are simplistic as well as for people who are really ambitious: just make a choice.
You don’t have to wait for fire from heaven to tell you that you need to move thirty miles north. You don’t have to hear a still, small voice telling you which college to choose. And I’m not saying that prayer doesn’t help you – I definitely think that, just like you’d talk to your dad about making decisions, you should talk to God. But also like your dad, I think that God will let you choose.
Actually, I know He’ll let you choose.
Because God is not so weak that His plan is contingent upon us making the right choices. Heck, if it were, then God would be a fool for creating a plan based on faulty humans making perfectly informed and calculated decisions. Realistically, God can use whatever choice you decide to make for His glory. If you decide to take a job at a corporate office where you’ll wear a suit and do paperwork all day every day, He’ll use you. If you choose to work at a coffee shop where you wear shorts and a bandana, He’ll use you. If you go to a public college, He’ll use you. If you go to a private college, He’ll use you. If you go to a Christian university or a secular one, He’ll use you.
And He’ll grow you, and He’ll change you. And He’ll put you in community with people, and He’ll surround you with people who encourage you and people who challenge you (for the sake of your growth as well as theirs!)
That’s the beauty of life – no matter what choice you make, God is sovereign.
take that for whatever it’s worth.