I don’t know what to do with my life.
I’m 23 years old; so I know you’re going to tell me that I have plenty of time to figure it out, stop worrying. Well, if you read my last piece for Her View From Home, you already know that worrying is kind of my forte. I’m pretty good at it. I’ve got a degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and I am very proud of that and the fact that I’m a History teacher. I’m married to a wonderful man who tries as hard as he possible can to make me happy. But I don’t know what I want to do with the next 77 years. (Side note: I’m planning on living at least to 100 so Willard Scott can announce my birthday on the Today Show with my picture on a Smucker’s Jam Jar. Also he’ll obviously have to live to be 158 to make this possible, but with the advances in modern medicine I don’t foresee this being an issue.)
When I was in college, my life’s work was a no brainer. I was going to be a teacher, just like my mom. I tried out Elementary Education and they had me teaching long division to 5th graders in a practicum one day. Without a calculator. After that I quickly changed my concentration to History and Secondary Education, and it felt like the most perfect thing. I was excited, interested in what I was learning, what I was going to be able to do once I graduated; it felt like everything was falling into place so wonderfully. Then I graduated, got married, found out we were moving to the south, and my husband was going to have to be away from me for a while. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I had such a strong grasp on my life and what I wanted from it.
Andrew (that’s my husband, not my fling on the side) loves me for many reasons, but he always tells me that he loves the fact I’m such a planner. He says he can take care of us in the present, and I’ll take care of the future. This is a great quality to have when planning a wedding, vacation, next weeks date night, and dinner this week, but recently it’s been getting me into a little trouble with the Big Man upstairs.
This morning I woke up and started researching different Master’s and PhD programs that I could possibly begin when we move. It was really fun at first, as if I was standing at a fork in the road with 40 different branches. “Archival studies:” that path looks interesting for as far as I can see. “Comparative European History:” that path sounds super smart and then I could make my husband call me Dr. Butler! This continued on for quite sometime as I read the visitors information next to each of the “Welcome!” signs of my possible paths, until I became frustrated. Really frustrated. Not only was I no further in deciding what I was going to do than when I began, but I realized, in order to do some of these things, I was going to have to say goodbye to my husband for who knows how long. I’d need to do internships, teaching apprenticeships, attend seminars, and live in another part of the world to really access all the history.
I angrily closed my laptop and went to get ready for the day. I was angry with myself, angry that I didn’t have a broader grasp of all I could do in my life when I was in college. It could have led me down the right path instead of leaving me with 40 possibilities that I was so unsure about. I was angry with my husband. He’s the one who chose military life, chose to drop us in a new place every few years, chose to leave me; I should just leave to do what I wanted to as well. But that wouldn’t be right. That wouldn’t be the way God would want me to treat our marriage.
Instantly, mid-shampoo, I was on a tall hill (I wasn’t shampooing on the hill, my hair looked great blowing in the wind), holding God’s hand, and looking at all my paths. And folks, He was choosing which one I was going to get. I realized in that moment as Pantene was working it’s magic on my locks, that I cannot plan out a life that has already been written for me. Despite my love for writing, I know I could never do as good of a job as He could. I mean, He’s had practice, there’s like 7 billion of us He’s created.
I have listened to many sermons on trusting in God’s plans and forgetting my own but I was always like, “I’ve got this, God wouldn’t have blessed me with such awesome planning skills if he didn’t want me to use them!” I didn’t really understand until this morning how much I needed to let it go and fully trust in God’s plan, not try to out-plan Him. Of course, my tendency to plan out my life and everything else is not going to be cured today; He’ll have to snap me out of it from time to time, of that I am sure. However, for now I’m going to close the laptop, move to Tennessee, love my husband, and let God show me what he wants me to do. While I’m not quite positive it will be one of the paths I pursued this morning, I’m sure whatever it is, it will be amazing and exactly what I’ve always wanted.