Career vs. Calling

“How do I know what God wants me to do?” This is a question I hear a lot, a question that is at the heart of Right Where I Belong. And it’s an important question. Too many people answer this question incorrectly, or don’t ask it correctly, and end up with a lifetime of regret. I believe, with all my heart, that God has a plan for your life – and your career – and that His plans are far better than ours.

I spent most of my childhood and teenage years convinced that I was going to be an actress. On Broadway (because Hollywood is for sell-outs). I spent all my free time in the theater, I attended a performing arts high school. By the time I was sixteen, I had been in over twenty plays, two commercials, and performed in dozens of locales.

And then God intervened.

It’s a long story, but the short version is that I gave my life to God at a summer camp when I was sixteen, and within three months, He showed me my plan for my life wasn’t His plan for my life.

He didn’t reveal what he wanted me to do at that time. Just what he didn’t want me to do — be an actress. That was tough for me. Not just because I loved it, but because I couldn’t do anything else. I wasn’t a good student, wasn’t athletic, wasn’t artistic. Musical theater was my “thing.” But, unknown to me, I did have other gifts.

God led me to a new high school, where I got involved in the leadership of (who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?) the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We met before school every day for devotions, and I found that I enjoyed preparing lessons and teaching others what God was teaching me. I got more involved with my youth group and began to hunger to know God better. So, when I graduated from high school, I went to Bible college. When I finished there, I went to college to work on my bachelor’s degree and I found that I really loved literature. I had always liked reading, but my college classes showed me it was more than that, that words carry so much more meaning than just the literal.

As time went on, God opened the doors for me to teach in many different capacities — at home, at church, at a local college, now at a Christian school. Even my writing is an extension of my teaching. God showed me, not overnight or in a blinding vision, but over time and in a hundred ways, that He designed me to be a teacher. And I love it.

So when students ask me how they know what God wants them to do, the first thing I ask them is, “What do you like?” God won’t call you to something you hate. He might call you to something you’ve never thought of, or never imagined yourself doing. But it won’t be a job you hate. The second question is, “Where does God put you?” For me, God kept giving me opportunities to teach. From VBS to Sunday school to Bible studies…age sixteen on, I was thrown in situations where I needed to teach. I didn’t see it at  the the time, but looking back, I know it was God preparing me, showing me what He made me to do and helping me to get better at that.

Don’t be among the people – young and old alike – who choose a job because of the prestige it may bring or the salary it may pay. Seek God’s direction. He knows exactly what you should be doing.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11


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