Just 21 … and with starry hopes and dreams in her eyes that all young people who believe they were made to conquer the world have. So many possible pathways lay before her, with so many worthy and needy causes to touch – which one would she go to first?
Such is the current status of my life. And the only reason I’ve been waffling back and forth between so many decisions on “what to do with my life” is because I feel caught between my dreams and reality. Between my idealistic, romantic version of life that I dream of, and the practical bounds of common sense that tell me otherwise.
Here is the optimistic, impractical, hypothetical, dreamer me: a vision comes to mind of ivy-covered brick buildings set on a rustic, tree-covered campus filled with bustling activity and the sights and sounds of a collegian lifestyle. Me, the academia lover, studying fervently away at a career that will encompass all my greatest passions in life – the arts. Journalism, theatre, music, film, scriptwriting … all of these are courses which I study with excitement and passion, discovering – at a Christ-centered, high-standard university – how to use my skills for Him and engage in what I love at the same time. Surely something He would want, right?
Yes, but at what price? asks the quiet, nagging voice in the back of my mind. For I know all too well the pretty penny required to attend such schools – and that hardly anyone achieves that “world-class education” without spending a large portion of their lives paying it off. And when God has called me to use my money wisely, in a way which glorifies Him, I can’t justify that kind of debt, even it was to go to a school that glorifies Him.
And so … practical Jane Smith steps in with her prim and modest ways, and shakes her head at such dreams. They will never be yours, she says matter-of-factly, so why don’t you just give up such nonsense, go to a state university nearby, and become a schoolteacher? I sigh at such logic – knowing all too well, it’s the most practical. I wouldn’t mind being a schoolteacher – I love children, and I love school after all. But it just doesn’t seem to hold a candle to the exciting, dashing pursuits of media influence and involvement in the arts at a prestigious university.
It may be, though, that I’m desiring it for all the wrong reasons, and that’s why God has said no. Could I be lusting after pretty things – titles and fine-sounding descriptions and illusions of lovely experiences? If that were really the life that He called me to, don’t you think He would have made a way to afford it? There will always be those things calling to me in life – the lifestyle that seems so easy and promising and attractive. But perhaps God has other things He wants to teach me …
In the end, probably I’m longing after having two separate lives – one of excitement and influence in the culture around me through the arts, devoting my life to theatre/film/music, etc … and the other, a quiet, ordinary life of raising a family, and influencing the world through raising up the next generation. And because I can’t have both, I think I know the one to which God has ultimately called me. Though it will be sad to cast my other dreams aside, I need to follow His highest calling for me, and do what He wishes above all else. The star-studded dreams only last so long, you know … best to keep my head back in reality. And who knows? He just might bring a bit of the other into my life as well someday … I’ll just have to keep trusting and following Him.