2017 is HALFWAY OVER, GUYS. HALFWAY. *faints* And next thing you know, August is going to be here.
With August, for many, comes Big Life Decisions. Maybe May for you was a flurry of graduation excitement. Some finished high school, others college. While many of you are getting prepped to return to school.
I had multiple graduations to attend in May, and I know many people who are stepping out to do many new, exciting, and maybe even scary things. And others are trying to decide what they want to spend the rest of their life doing.
With this transition of summer quickly slipping toward August, for a lot of people, the doubts start coming in. The questions. The fears. What do you want to do with your life? Are you making the right life decisions? What if you make the Wrong Decision? What if you mess up? What if you change your mind? What will everyone think? Or maybe you’re not headed to a change. Maybe you’re already settled into a life, but unsure if it’s the right one. And those same doubts and fears creep in. Are you wasting your life? Should you make a change? What does everyone expect from you?
If this sounds familiar, I have some advice for you…
Okay, okay. Obviously we all have to make decisions in life, and that’s GOOD (even if it doesn’t seem like it). It’s gotta be done. As lovely as it’d be, we can’t really spend our entire life watching Netflix. (Just some of it.) So what am I getting at here? Well, let me tell you a story…
From the moment I started kindergarten, I was homeschooled. I was a homeschooler throughout my entire schooling years. And then I *GASP* chose not to go to college. I went for years without ever having a job, and only now have a little part time one. I’m not married, never even have had a boyfriend before, and still live with my parents. In the world’s eyes, I’m a complete failure.
According to the world, this is the set Life Pattern: Go to school, directly go to college (taking a year or two break after graduating high school is just dumb and lazy. How dare you take a break after being at school for 12 years, and not immediately decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life at the age of 18. Psssh.), find a fulltime job you must stick with forever, get married the second you graduate college, have only two kids and maybe one dog, raise your two children to be a doctor and lawyer respectively, move into a retirement home, die. The End.
Ooookay, maybe that’s a smidgeon dramatic. But, ya know, from my own experience sometimes it feels like that’s exactly what’s expected of everyone. And if you break away from the Life Pattern you’re a failure. You’re lazy and no good and what even are you doing with your life?
Obviously, I’m the biggest Failure of them all. Not only was I one of those Weird Homeschoolers, I didn’t go to college. I don’t have a fulltime job. I don’t even have a boyfriend. I’m 25! I should have a career by now. Or be married with 5 children. Sheesh, I’m practically old maid status. I should at least have my own apartment and not be living with my parents. Right? Right???
I’m gonna be honest with you guys. Sometimes I do believe these things. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time…) I listen to the voices of doubt, let them make me think I’m a lazy, no good failure who’s wasting her life. Sometimes I wonder if I should be making changes. If I should have done things differently. And then God gets a hold of me and reminds me: I’m exactly where He wants me to be.
Because here’s the thing about the Life Pattern. It’s not GOD’S PATTERN.
God does not call us to follow the “social norm”. He does not have a set copycat lifestyle for every human on the planet. He has an amazing and unique plan for each and every one of us. And yes, sometimes His plans seem positively ridiculous.
I think everyone thought Noah was a total loon when he set out to build a ginormous boat in a place with no water. I have no doubt the people of Jericho shook their heads at the complete and utter insanity of Joshua when he marched his army around the Jericho walls every single day for a week.
God doesn’t take common sense into account. He often calls us to live in the most strange of ways. And you know what? It’s absolutely wonderful.
Oswald Chambers said it best:
“If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.
By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it.
Living God’s way is so, so much better than conforming to what society expects of you.
Now, it’s not going to be easy. Like I said, I often let the voices of doubt into my head. And I have dealt with raised eyebrows and judgmental looks from people my entire life. I’m sure all my fellow homeschoolers are quite familiar with that raised eyebrow one receives when one must answer The Question: “Where do you go to school?” But I only thought that was bad. It only got worse when I graduated. Now the question is, “Where do you go to college?” or “What are you studying to be?” When I answer with, “I didn’t go to college,” I’ve feared some people were about to lose their eyebrows completely they went so far up their heads. I’ve literally had a couple of people just kind of stop talking to me and move on to one of the more “successful” people around me. Because apparently I’m just too uneducated and weird to bother having a conversation with.
Disclaimer: I’m going to pause here to quickly say, I am not against college. We need doctors and lawyers and a billion other things. College is important! I know I probably sound like I’m totally anti-college with all this ranting. I’m not! I’m just anti-you-must-go-to-college-or-you’re-a-complete-failure thing that seems to be the world’s viewpoint. I feel like these days people see it as a sin to not go to college! College is a choice, not a have-to. Yes, we need to go through school. Obviously. Gotta learn how to do math and read. But afterwards, it’s up to you what to do, and you shouldn’t be shamed by that. Isn’t the world all about freewill right now? So why are we still shaming each other for not going to college? (But I’ve got to stop, because this post isn’t about college, despite appearances. Ahem.)
Every person has a reason why they do or do not do something.
I suffer with health problems. Mentally, I’d love to go out and do things and see people every single day. I’d probably love having a fulltime career, and maybe even really enjoy college. But physically, I can’t always be out and about every single day of my life. I have to live a pretty quiet life because of health problems. I actually was planning on going to college, the idea excited me, but God very clearly led me not to. And now I understand why. Health-wise, I just couldn’t handle it. And what I want to do with my life has no need for college. I want to be a fulltime writer. And yes, a lot of people take classes for that, which is fantastic (and wonderful for query letters, I believe), but for writing, you can also totally educate yourself. I’ve been “colleging” myself ever since I finished high school. Because it was then that I really got serious about writing and studying the craft and taking the time to do it. And having the time to do it. If I was in college, I’d probably be too busy and tired to even bother with writing. I only have so much energy. I tire easily, I get really bad headaches, and writing is a lot of work. If I had classes all the time or a full job to go to every single day, I’d probably have to give up the very thing God gave me a passion for. For me personally, I can pursue my career better by having just a part-time job and not going to college.
Since I can’t be physically active all the time, but love people, I took up blogging and have the most spectacular circle of people in the world. Blogging and writing and socializing with my many blogging/writing/reading peeps brings me indescribable joy every single day.
Homeschooling was a huge blessing with my health problems as well. Not to mention just amazing! I made my very bestest friends via my homeschool group. (Because yes, we do actually *gasp* socialize.)
I still live at home because this is where I’m supposed to be right now. And where I want to be. I love my family. We’re all a support system for each other. Why would I leave the place I’m supposed to be because it’s “shameful” for a 25 year old to still be living with their parents?
In the world’s eyes, I do nothing but use most of my time sitting around on the computer. But being a writer is a fulltime job. (Which is a whole topic of its own and one I hope to write a post on very soon, so I won’t go into that…yet. *grins*) Like I said, I’m colleging myself (and, yes, we’re totally pretending “colleging” is a word, shhh). I am working toward a career.
Each person is different. We can’t follow a certain Life Pattern. And why would we even want to?
Go to college, don’t go to college. Get married young, get married later in life. Don’t get married at all. Have one kid, have twelve. Have a career, stay at home. Go out and be a missionary in a foreign country or reach people via a blog.
God has a specific and wonderful and amazing and adventurous and totally spectacular plan for YOU.
As you make those dreaded Life Decisions, shut out the world’s judgmental eyebrow raising and expectations of following a Pattern. Don’t make a permanent decision that you don’t even want to do just because the world pressured you into it. Seek out God’s expectations, His plans for you. However crazy they may seem.
Because it’s much better to hear God say “Well done, my good and faithful servant” and receive all the raised eyebrows in the world, than bending to the world’s expectations and having our Savior disappointed in us.
Whew! Okay, I know that was long and ranty. Buuut, this post was bound to show up eventually. It’s a rant my patient family has to hear at least weekly. I knew it’d appear on the blog sooner or later. (Really, I’ve kind of wanted to write this post since I started blogging… I don’t know why it took me so long.) But now I want to hear your thoughts! (Goodness knows you’ve had enough of mine.) Do you relate to this? Do we share any of the same struggles? Are you at a point where you’re making those Big Life Decisions? Or perhaps questioning your decisions because of the world’s judgy eyes? I would love to talk with you or pray for you if you need it. So share away in the comments!