Posted by: deerharas | July 5, 2006

07.05.06

When I started my job over two years ago, I went in thinking, “This is the perfect job for me.  It’s a natural extension of what I’ve already been doing the past three years.  I can take some time to make sure of what I really want to do with my life.  That way I won’t spend thousands of dollars in graduate school only to find out that I hate what I was preparing for and wasted untold amounts of money.  I’ve been in school for seventeen years; I desperately need a break.  It’ll just be two years, maybe three.”

 

I am fully confident that all of these thoughts and feelings were completely legitimate.  I have never questioned whether or not this is where I was supposed to be.  I truly believe that my job is a good and perfect gift that came down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  The past two years have been precious to me.  I have learned so much and grown tremendously.  And while I have been stretched, I have recently realized that I have also grown quite comfortable. 

 

It would be one thing if this was my chosen career or if I felt I was fulfilling my life’s calling.  It’s quite another to sit comfortably in an extended adolescence … basically college without studying and tests.

 

As this summer is quickly passing, I’ve thought several times, “Is this my last summer here?  My last Edmond 4th of July?  My last RA Training?”  And it’s bizarre.  My “maybe three” has become “yes three, maybe four.” 

 

The thing is, it doesn’t really matter if I work here four or forty four years if I am pursuing my calling.  But the question is, can I really stay here much longer and honestly say that’s what I’m doing? 

 

There is an article in the latest issue of Relevant that speaks to this very issue.  It was a wakeup call and challenge to me personally, and I see it as completely “relevant” to those in my same situation.  “Get a Haircut and a Real Job” by Mark Steele challenges twentysomethings to get out of Neverland, “that post-college phantom satisfaction that lulls one into whims of lackadaisy” with six practical tips:

 

1.      Don’t Hit Snooze

Basically a call to forsake laziness, the first point is pretty straightforward.  Don’t waste time.  Steele writes, “Yes, we all enjoy a good sleep-in, but the whole purpose behind having a weekly Sabbath is that lethargy is the exception, not the rule.”

2.      Make a Freakin’ Move

Now that you’re not wasting time sleeping in, do something with that time.  Work with what you’ve got.  Take a long hard look at your skill set, and then actually do something related to that skill set … And before you ask: No, debating plot points from Lost is not a skill set.”

3.      Perhaps You Are the Poser

“I hate to break this to you, but if you talk big plans about your ‘mission’ or ‘calling’ but lack any forward motion, (spoiler alert) you are a massive tool.”  Ouch.  Forward motion.  Those words put this next year into a whole new perspective.  While I don’t know the specifics of my future, there is enough light on the path for now.  “If you are uncertain about the specific direction of your life, there are other ways to act upon the truth.  They are called “disciplines,” and they develop as such in your life.  Don’t wait for answers.  Instead, be practical and spiritual.  Exercise.  Pray.  Expand your knowledge.  Fast from meals – or fast from media … Put yourself in a lifestyle pattern of growth, and growth will indeed come.”

4.      Opinionated is Easy

I have a hard time with people (including myself) who in all their intellectual snobbery find something wrong with everything yet do nothing to make things better.  It may be “cool” to criticize, to give oneself the feeling of superiority over another based simply on a highly educated opinion, but what good does it do anyone?  Now I am all for criticism … but to an end.  “If you obsess hard enough, I’m quite certain you can devalue another’s career, the Church throughout history, fans of Michael W. Smith, the Bible and your mother’s claim to have birthed you, but that doesn’t make anything you do productive … a lifestyle of criticism will lead absolutely nowhere.”  Let’s light a candle, people.

5.      You Can (Really) Go It Alone …

This one is tough for me.  I look at the hours and hours of reading, and writing, and thinking possibly ahead of me, and I am fearful.  Do I really have it in me?  Am I smart enough?  Am I dedicated enough?  “(I)f the passion is in you for a frightening thing, then you need to get out there and get frightened.  Just because your dream is daunting does not make it untrue …God continues to do great things, and for some amazing reason, He continues to do them through people.  However, He is looking for those who will both trust Him and take action.”

6.      …But Not Too Alone

The truth is, we need others, and others need us.  I like to think that I am learning to live and love in community.  Regardless of my specific “calling” in life, I have a general calling to love others … and I can do that now.  “Stewing in uncertainty?  Go help someone.  Tend to be critical?  Go love someone.  Waiting for a next step?  Go encourage someone.  Looking for value?  Go to someone’s rescue.  The worst plan imaginable is for each and every one of us to wallow in isolation until we think we have our plans figured out, because isolation is the opposite of the real plan.  It is in the selfless efforts toward one another that we actually change and grow.”

 

So I’m a little heavy on the quotes, but they are all so significant to me.  If you get a chance, you should really read the whole article … a must for floundering post-grads and current college students at a loss for the next step. 

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