God’s will. We wonder what it looks like. We’re told discovering God’s will is the key to the future; that God has a grand blueprint for our lives, unalterable by our choices. We tell people “God has a wonderful plan for your life!” instead of “God wants to walk through every day with you!”, and the resulting worldview serves only to box God in.
I’ve bought into this view myself. I still fall into it at times. But in the last few months God has challenged my view of His will in ways I never expected. He’s broken down my boxes, opening my eyes to just how grand His will can be.
Last week I was in Atlanta at my fourth convention of the spring travel season. When I’m not writing, blogging, or at home with Adeline, I travel five weeks each spring to speak at homeschool events as a college guidance counselor.
As I stood at the registration desk, a woman approached me.
“Three years ago I heard you speak when you worked for Liberty,” She said. “We weren’t sure we could homeschool high school – it was our first year – but we did it. At the time, you said you wished there was a person who could do exactly what you’re doing now, helping homeschool families make their decisions for high school. I don’t think you knew what God was going to do. You have a gift, and you are a blessing to us.”
I stood in that Atlanta convention hall blinking back tears. How could this be my gift – how could I be such a “blessing” – when God was asking me to give it all up?
I’ve been struggling with this dichotomy for over a year. A year and a half ago, I resigned my dream job. I worked my way to a coveted work-from-home position in Liberty University’s Office of Admissions. I wrote my own job description. I had the best boss in the world. I got to travel and speak on the university’s dime, design events for my favorite people – homeschoolers – and help families get their questions answered.
Then I got a new manager. Josh got a new job. In the blink of an eye, I was resigning the position I’d worked two years to achieve. We moved to Pennsylvania the morning after my last day, and I gave birth to Adeline five days later.
It didn’t make sense. I struggled with the transition. I enjoyed being home with a newborn – I’d never had so much free time in my life – but couldn’t understand why God would call me to give up a dream so soon after it came to fruition.
Five months later, I received a new job offer with a company who met me during my Liberty career. They wanted me to do everything I did in my former position – at home, with more freedom, more creativity, and exclusively with homeschoolers. I was elated! The answer seemed obvious. My dream job may have been taken away, but God was handing it back. I prayed about the position (as quickly as possible) and signed my contract in June.
Here I am, one year later, resigning once again.
As I battled with God over this decision, He revealed that I was putting Him in a box. I believed that my natural gifts plus the opportunity to use those gifts always meant something was His will. And that’s simply not true.
God doesn’t fit inside our boxes, and He certainly doesn’t fit in mine. I like predictability. I like things that “make sense”. But God is teaching me – through this surrender of a gift I’m no longer called to use – that He is bigger than my talents. He gave me my talents. And it’s time to give them back (Matt. 25:14-30).
A few months ago I told a friend about this decision, and she responded: “Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean it’s God’s call on your life.” I mulled over that comment for weeks. Could this talent be slated for a season – and has the season come to a close? Ultimately I decided that it had.
I will miss my college counseling career. I will miss the homeschool conventions. I will miss helping these families. But the Master returned and asked for my talents. I’ve spent these months investing them, providing a return for His trust in me. If nothing else the comment made by the woman in Atlanta confirmed that God’s investment has not returned void. My gifts were used for this season, touching the people they were meant to touch. And my career in higher education gave me what I need for the next season (which looks pretty exciting, by the way).
I’m sure I’m not alone in my assumption that talent plus opportunity equals the will of God. Many of us navigate life decisions this way. Sometimes, this is God’s way of revealing the next step. But we can’t assume that will always be the case. We need to stay in touch with His Person, walking by His Spirit – not our own formulas – to know what He’s asking of us next.
Resigning with Teach Them Diligently breaks my heart the same way resigning from Liberty broke my heart. My six-year career in higher education has in many ways made me who I am. I struggle to keep guilt at bay. I struggle to understand fully the “why”. But I trust that in following Jesus – not my natural bent to higher education – I’ll be in far more secure hands.
So what comes next? Aside from growing my second baby (due in October), I have some exciting irons in the fire:
- Christian Cosmo is coming to print and Kindle! You can now order the print edition on Amazon at this link.
- Despite my resignation, I’m not done traveling. I’m currently booking events for next year (2018) and may be in Ohio and Nevada next spring.
- I’m working on another book project – details TBA!
- My big dream is to launch a mini-conference or retreat based on the concepts in Christian Cosmo. Hundreds of young women have told me how this book has helped them see sexuality in the positive light God intended. I’m currently brainstorming partnerships and ideas to create a retreat for those battling sexual sin, addiction and shame, as well as sexual abuse and rape.
Calling is fluid. If there’s anything I’ve learned through my career, it’s that God’s will often requires stepping out of the boat into unstable waters (Matt. 14:22-23). It might not make sense. You might let some people down. But our greatest concern should not be what others think of us, but the God who called us.
Fix your eyes on Jesus calling. Follow the peace that passes understanding.
Then step out of the boat.