So how do you go about making this decision and all the little decisions along the way to discovering God’s direction for your life? It might sound over-simplistic, but commit this decision to God. Spend time in prayer. Spend time in God’s Word. Far too often we fail to allow God’s Word to inform our thinking about our gifts and desires. One author said it this way,
The vocation for you is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need—something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done.
I like that: Your deep gladness + the world’s deep need = your calling. To be fair, this is not an exact formula, and it will take some time to develop what this looks like in your life. But you must begin where you are right now and seek God’s wisdom for the next step. Take some time to think and pray through:
- What desires has God given you?
- What gifts do you have that are a blessing to others?
- What brings you deep gladness?
- What needs around you are you compelled toward helping meet?
Sorry for the all the questions. But my point is that you cannot figure these things out on your own. To further complicate the matter, your answers to these questions may change in a year or two from now. If you trust God with the details of your life now, you will be ready to do so in the future when your finances are short, a family emergency dictates a different plan or you change majors or career paths. In short, you need God’s wisdom. The good news is that He delights to give wisdom to those who ask for it.
I would also encourage you to seek wise, godly counsel from a parent, teacher, school counselor or a pastor. God has put these people in your life for a reason. Don’t miss out on the benefit of godly counsel. I especially encourage you to talk with your pastors and leaders in your local church. When God saved you, He brought you into His family—the church. It is in the church that God is making you into who He desires you to be and sending you into the world to accomplish His purposes. You need community to hold you accountable, to affirm the direction you may be sensing and to give wisdom and counsel.
Perhaps college is the best the choice for you, but where do you go and what degree do you pursue? Your church may be able to point in you in the direction of a college near a church plant that could use your help. Your leaders may also be able to affirm certain gifting and skills they’ve seen in your life over the years. Perhaps vocational training is the route for you, your church can provide counsel for which direction to pursue and even help make connections with those in the field of your interest. Seek wise counsel from whoever God has put in your life—parents, teachers, friends—but make sure you do not cut out your church family, especially those whom God has called to watch over and shepherd you toward godliness and fulfilling God’s mission.