There’s a dreadful age old question. No matter who asks, it fills you with fear. “What college will you be going to?”
Scary, right? If you have your future plans all worked out, answering that won’t phase you a bit. If you’re more like me (clueless), than answering that is a toughie! But whether or not you can answer that question, there’s an interesting problem wrapped around it. It’s a poor question.
When I was 18, I began to wonder if my life was all about a set formula. Life is often viewed like a timeline which runs somewhat as follows: graduate high school, enter college, receive a degree, be successful in making money, get married, have children, live to see your grandchildren and eventually die. What a cliché. Though absolutely nothing is wrong with that picture – education is beneficial, degrees signify your level of education and may land you a place in a specific career, plus money pays for things you need. A healthy marriage is a beautiful gift, children are a joy, grandchildren more so and then there’s an end to this life on earth. But, the focus is entirely off. It’s like a checklist of how you assume life is supposed to go.
Society tries to conform your life to this set structure and when you try to fit in, you often miss the unknown bliss of the path of life God actually created for you. What if you embraced the model in which God intended for your life instead?
Finding Your “Calling In Life”
First, let’s take a look at a common view Christians have on the topic of living. They call it your “calling in life.” Some Christians believe that this usage of “calling” is going to be a specific career, such as missionary work. But, where in the Bible does it talk about you having a specific occupation as your main purpose in life? On countless occasions, the Bible mentions who you are in Christ and what that means, but it never talks about God assigning you to a specific occupation as your ultimate purpose or goal in life. By all means, your occupation is important; you certainly don’t work for nothing. However, what you do shouldn’t define who you are and God’s purpose for your life.
What’s the Purpose of Life
Before getting carried away, it’s important to lay down some foundations:
- What God intended is what God designed to work. Anything else falls short. (Psalm 18:30)
- This is not about a life-style, although a life-style imitating Christ does follow. Rather, it’s knowing who you are in Christ; your identity. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- God intended your main purpose in life from the start of creation, and He intended you to be used for His glory. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Life’s first purpose can be described as denying your will for God’s. Life is foremost about the relationship you have with Him.
Acknowledging God’s intention for life wipes away any pride that causes you to feel the need for God-like control over your future, and it wipes away fear of the unknown. When you forget this or have trouble trusting God, the result is stress or keeping ideas away from God as though He’s not even there. That doesn’t allow for much of a relationship with your Creator.
Having said the above, you might think that you may walk away from any activity you don’t like. For if God has established the future, you can sit on your couch and play all day, right? Far from it! This shouldn’t be an excuse out of working hard. God has outlined in the Bible to work hard (Proverbs 13:4). It would be a shortcoming to assume God’s purpose for you deems no action on your part (James 2:14-17). There’s no need to look at life like it’s a leash around your neck either. Interaction is key in a healthy relationship! God is perfectly aware that you’re incapable of always keeping a healthy relationship with Him due to sin. So, thank Him for forgiveness, try again and grow more spiritually mature as you live on!
The Problem with the Question
Want to know the problem with that question asked at the beginning? It misses a greater question: What is God telling you right now? Remind yourself why you’re alive and rest assured that God is working with you. You couldn’t dare to assume that God’s going to drop you into oblivion. Especially during those times when you don’t hear from God—rest assured, He’s doing what needs to be done.
For those of you with future plans, keep a watchful eye for what God is going to be doing with you. Making plans is a wise thing, but don’t forget that God may or may not use those plans. He may or may not give you something entirely different to do as time unfolds.
God has outlined many important things in the Bible for you to learn and do, and He’ll also put specific tasks before you. The ultimate goal in life is knowing who God originally established you to be, and to walk in that direction, which is being led by God. Your future has been in the hands of God before you were born and He wants you to live what He has planned for you! Psalm 33:11 says, “But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever.”