Have you ever looked at your friends’ lives and they seem to have it all together? They have that 10-year plan, they know exactly what they want to study, where they want to work….they’ve got their lives sorted out? Yeah, I wasn’t one of them. Growing up I remember wanting to be a babysitter, an author, a dancer, a painter….but one thing I told myself I was never going to be was a teacher (still not really sure why?). Well here I am, just finished my 4 year Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education and Primary Teaching! I remember sitting at a career adviser’s office in year 10 having no clue what I wanted to do when I finished school. I took a career test and the top suggestion after answering a series of questions was that I become a costume designer. I have 0 expertise in design and 0 interest in costumes. Ha! I remember in year 12 when it was time to put in our university preferences….still having no idea what I wanted to do with my life I just put in a variety of options ranging from exercise and health science to media and communications to fine arts.
Now I had no clue what I wanted to do as a career…sometimes it’s hard to make such big life decisions at the age of 17. But from a very young age, my heart was open and I had begun to dream about the things I could do in my future. Not my career as such, but I dreamt about how I could use the gifts God gave me to change the world. So I began to dream about how I could rescue orphans, how I could provide education and care for children living in developing countries, and how I could reach the hurting and the lost with the love of Jesus Christ. The more time I spent with God….and still, the more time I spend with God, the more I begin to understand and gain his heart and his love for the people in this world. I was caught up in this revelation that I don’t want to get to heaven and hear God say that I didn’t use up every single gift that God gave me to its fullest potential. I’m still unpacking all that God has placed inside of me, and I want you to know that there is so much more inside of than you believe. I was caught up in this revelation that I don’t want to get to heaven and hear God say that I didn’t use up every single gift that God gave me to its fullest potential.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”
So I started to write down the dreams that God had placed in my heart. Some of those have already come to pass, some of them are in the process right now and some haven’t yet happened.
So what’s your point, Tess? You ask. My point is that there is a difference between your career and your purpose in life. Your purpose may give you your career, but your career won’t give you your purpose. The day before my university applications closed I changed all my preferences to put teaching at the top. Not necessarily because I wanted to be a classroom teacher, but because I knew that it gave me great skills if I wanted to work with children in developing countries. It’s okay to not know what you want to do for work for the rest of your life….but if you don’t have God-given direction and purpose in life, it’s so easy to just be tossed about, not really going anywhere. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, your purpose in life is to live in relationship with him, loving him with your whole heart, and to make his name known in all the earth. I’m currently studying songwriting at a Creative Arts and Bible College this year. It’s absolutely amazing, I seriously love it, and I know God has called me to be there for this year. But to be completely honest with you, I have no idea why God called me there, or what I’m going to do next year. And to some of you that might seem irresponsible…it might seem crazy….and maybe it is. But what I do know is that I have this crazy desire in my heart for people to know the love of Jesus and for young girls and women to know their identity in Christ. That is my purpose in life, and it doesn’t matter what job I have or where I live, my purpose remains the same.
So here’s the deal. If you’re living on this earth right now (and you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t), you have a purpose. God doesn’t make mistakes. You could be 10 years or old or you could be 89 years old, but you have a God-given purpose and there is a reason for you being on this earth today. If God didn’t want you to be here today, he wouldn’t have woken you up this morning! If you are struggling to know your purpose in life, here it is: love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind (Matt. 22:37). And the second thing is to love your neighbour as yourself (Matt. 22:39). Your purpose will always remain the same, but the outworking of that purpose will look different in your life than in mine because you have different gifts and different interests. I encourage you to pray about the gifts and dreams that God has placed in your heart, and ask him to show you how you can use these in incredible ways to bring glory to God…and watch as he unravels and outworks those dreams in ways that far exceed your expectations! And no matter where or what your career is, no matter whether you know what you want to do in your future or not, know that your career does not define your purpose, but your purpose is what gives life and light to your career.
Love, T. xo