Sometimes you come to a crossroads and it is hard to decide which way to go. I have been having some trouble lately trying to figure out what to do when I grow up. The problem is that I am interested in so many things and feel capable of doing most things I put my mind to doing. I am blessed to be able to choose from many options, I realize, but sometimes it can feel like a heavy burden to pick one from among the many possible futures available.
I used to ask myself questions like, “Self, what would you do if you could do anything in the world?” I drove myself crazy trying to find my passion and be bold! I never got anywhere with that way of thinking. Instead, recently I asked myself, “What will matter when you are dying?” I thought of things of eternal importance–did I help make people’s lives better, did I use the “talents” that God gave me for a return on his investment, or did I bury them in the ground out of fear or laziness? (see Matthew 25:14-30)
It occurred to me that to discern which vocation to choose, I needed to remember God. I mean, I needed to choose and act from a place of faith–if God is real and the teachings of the Church are true, then God has been in control of my life from the beginning. He has caused some doors to open and some to close. He has brought certain people and experiences in to my life in order to prepare me to do what he made me to do.
So, I started not only looking at my interests and abilities (which one should certainly consider when choosing a career path), but also looking at my life’s story with the eyes of faith, asking where God has been leading me and for what purpose. If I am longing to be a librarian, but up to now no job has ever been offered to me, maybe that is not the path. If, instead, I have been consistently led to teaching and given opportunities in education, plus my skills and interests align with that area, maybe that is the path for me.
There will be fears and challenges to overcome. There will be a poop sandwich to eat in any profession, as Mark Manson writes. Which poop sandwich do you want to eat? I want to eat the one God wants me to eat–what I mean is, I want to be happy and fulfilled, so I want to do what God created me to do. I learned to look for God’s leading in my life–the facts on the ground. The place where my interests, abilities, and favorable circumstances align and allow me to be of service to others could be the direction I should go.
Choosing a path in life is an exercise in faith and can lead us closer to God because it requires us to submit to and depend on God. When choosing, pray for and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you.