A Wilderness Decade: What is My Calling?

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photo credit: dlemieux via photopin cc

Young adulthood is not easy. The 20’s are somewhat of a tumultuous, transitional and tiring decade for many. I used to joke with a friend of mine that the 20’s was like the wilderness. At the time she and I were trying to start up a Bible study in the gospel of Mark and were reading the first chapter together.

Jesus was called into the wilderness before His ministry began for a time of preparation and testing. My friend aptly applied this to the decade of  the 20’s. “It’s a decade in the wilderness!” she laughed. I couldn’t have agreed more. Although I only hoped that I would do much better than the Israelites did when they traveled through the wilderness towards the Promised Land.

Now at 26 years old, I will say that the 20’s has been full of twists, turns, frustration and questions. Although I cannot deny that this has been a decade of tremendous growth as well and of course lots and lots of unexpected blessings.

Recently I read a book called “Here I am: Now What on Earth Should I be Doing?”by Quentin Schultze. It’s chalk full of wisdom, guidance and godly advice. You see growing up I always knew what I wanted to do. I had a goal in mind and set out to accomplish it. Yet only four years into that goal did I realize it was not what I had wanted or felt called to do.

What happens when your life takes a turn and the goal you thought you had wanted after college ends up being something you decide not to do; something God may not actually want you do after all?

It’s been challenging to say the least. Figuring out my calling has been one of the hardest things for me thus far. But what if my idea of a “calling” has actually been wrong? What if my purpose in life isn’t actually just a job? Schultze tackles these issues in his book. Below are some awesome nuggets of gold I got while reading the book.

“There is no single calling, one-track plan, or changeless career for our lives. Even Abraham’s trip to Moriah was just one episode in a life of uncanny ups and downs as well as surprising twists and turns. Abraham was not merely called to a job, profession, or occupation. Abraham was called to obedience, to worship, God in every part of his life, from hospitality to marriage to sacrificing his son.”

“We are called to follow Jesus Christ. This is our overarching vocation. But we are also called to follow Jesus into many different ‘stations,’ serving perhaps as parents, workers, church members, civic leaders, neighbors and far more. God wants us to follow him faithfully into every area of our lives, thereby becoming living sacrifices who care responsibly for God’s world.”

“Wholehearted work, for instance, requires loving God and others, not just earning a wage or salary. The language of the heart does not mean that we all should seek nonprofit service jobs, such as teaching, ministry and counseling. A plumber, bus driver. housekeeper, physical therapist, drummer, and retail clerk can love wholeheartedly too.”

“Martin Luther King Jr. told the story of a wise preacher who delivered the graduation speech at a college. After his address, the preacher conversed with a brilliant graduate named Robert.

‘What are your plans for the future, Robert?’

‘I plan to go immediately to law school.’

‘What then Robert?’

‘Well… I plan to get married and start a family.’

‘What then, Robert?’

‘I must frankly say that I plan to make lots of money from my law practice, and thereby I hope to retire rather early and spend   a great deal of time traveling to various parts of the world.’

‘What then, Robert?’

‘Well… these are most of my plans.’

“Finally, the preacher replied, ‘Young man, your plans are far too small. They extend only seventy-five or a hundred years at the most. You must make plans big enough to include God and large enough to include eternity.”

After reading this book I realized that I’d gotten it all wrong. My calling had been in front of me the entire time. There are many stations we are called to in life that can include an endless amount of things. Right now it’s my job to follow God during these transitional years, include Him in my goals and submit my plans to Him daily.

I jokingly call the 20’s a wilderness decade, but often times the wilderness journey is one of great growth, provision and sanctification. I encourage anyone, of any age to check out the book “Here I am,” but I especially recommend it to young adults still trying to navigate the wilderness of your 20’s. There’s plenty of biblical truth and godly advice found within the pages. Be sure to grab a copy, you won’t be disappointed!

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