Where are you going to college?
What are you going to study?
What are you going to do with your life?
As a junior in high school surrounded by many well-meaning adults, I hear these questions on almost a daily basis.
For years, my standard answer was a cheerful “I don’t know yet!” accompanied by a bright smile and an inward groan.
The adult would invariably respond, “Oh, don’t worry. God will show you His plan.”
I didn’t doubt that God knew His plan for me, but when would I know it?
I’m the type of person who needs everything planned out months in advance. I’m obsessed with my daily planner and gel pens (blue for school assignments, purple for church, red for softball practice, green for work. Any questions?).
Every night, I would lie in bed wondering and worrying about what was to come.
It turns out those adults I never believed were right.
I’m here to tell you that, yes, God will show you His plan for your life sooner or later.
But it may not be in the way you expect it.
I’m a high school softball player hoping to continue my career in college. Last summer, the summer leading up to my junior year, was supposed to be my breakout summer: college camps, my skills video, big tournaments, the works.
Yet after one misstep in the VBS bouncy house, I found myself in the orthopedist’s office, being told that I needed major surgery and couldn’t touch a softball for six months.
It looked like things couldn’t really get worse from there—but then they did.
Just a couple of weeks after my surgery, I found out that a friend of mine had taken his own life. He was fifteen years old and, as far as I knew, a Christian. The whole thing shook me deeply.
I spent days in a fog, asking God one question: why?
It was during this time, in these moments of my deepest pain, that the miracle started to happen.
Bits and pieces of ideas, things that I had thought about months before as I lay in bed running down my mental list of career options, began to gather and solidify in my mind.
Since I wasn’t allowed to play softball last fall, I decided to coach an 8U team. I’ve always loved kids, and I figured I would still get to be around the game.
As the season got underway, I enjoyed coaching. In fact, I loved it. But I still wasn’t entirely sure.
I wanted to know absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt what I was supposed to do with my life.
One evening it was raining lightly as we prepared for the girls’ game. I was warming up two of my favorite players, Abigail and Logan (names changed).
Abigail was homeschooled and had a great family that was in the stands rain or shine. She was polite and mature and the best player on the team; I absolutely loved her.
Logan was tiny, blond, and sassy. She was rough around the edges—the kind of little girl whose shoelaces are always untied and who has an attention span of about twenty-five seconds.
I’d never seen any type of parental or guardian figure at our games or practices; she got dropped off and picked up, and that was all.
She was seven, she had the sweetest yet most mischievous smile I had ever seen, and she had no one to watch her games.
I loved her too.
As we began the trek to the dugouts, I noticed Logan slogging bravely through the mud, trying to juggle her bag, bat, glove, miniature Gatorade cooler, and helmet.
Unlike the other girls, she’d had no one to help her pack up her bat bag when we finished warm-ups.
I caught up with her and said, “Logan, do you need help?”
She looked up at me, her blue eyes filling with relief.
“Yes,” she said simply, putting the strap of her bat bag into my waiting hands.
I could see it written all over her face: the relief that she didn’t have to try to drag all of her things through the mud while her teammates ran on ahead with their families.
The gratefulness that someone stopped to help her. There was almost a bit of surprise that I asked, and that hurt my heart the most, because it was like she was used to doing for herself.
Really, I had known from the first practice that coaching was it. I just wanted something else—a final confirmation.
God gave it to me on a rainy September night in the blue eyes of a seven-year-old.
I was meant to coach. But that wasn’t all.
There was something more, something that I realized through my friend’s suicide.
Yes, I was supposed to be there for the little girls like Abigail, to laugh with them and listen to them and love them and then wave as they went home with their loving parents.
Yet more than that, I was supposed to be there for the ones who were alone, who had no one to help them carry their bat bag, no one to cheer for them in softball and in life.
I am supposed to be there for the Logans.
Many questions are still unanswered.
I don’t know where I’m going to college or what I’m going to study, and yes, that scares me.
But I know I’m meant to be a foster parent and a missionary working with kids through baseball and softball after college, and the thought of that brings me indescribable joy.
So, I’m asking you: what are you going to do?
Where do you feel God is calling you?
And if your answer is a fake grin and an “I don’t know yet!”, then I just want you to know: God will show you His plan.
It may be painful, it may not be fun, but the end result will be more amazing than anything you could ever have dreamed.
Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!
There are currently __ Comment(s)
There are currently __ Comment(s)
This was so touching! I’m close to tears right now 🙂
Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂
Hey, I’m a big Baseball fan. I’m Home schooled and don’t know any female who is as into Baseball as I am. Lots of people don’t understand, but that’s just my favorite sport and I follow it as closely as I can. It’s cool to finally “meet” someone else (who’s not a guy) that actually likes Baseball.
Same! I’m homeschooled and I LOVE baseball, but I don’t know many girls who even remotely know what’s going on on the field, haha. MLB, Little League, high school travel–I love watching and reading about all levels of baseball. I’ve been *this close* to playing baseball before when there wasn’t a county softball team for my age group–I’ve always wanted to learn to pitch–but have always ended up with softball. What’s your fave MLB team or player and why? glad you commented:)
Sorry, I’ve been meaning to get back to you but this website and my internet have been giving me problems lately. My favorite team is the L.A. Angels and my favorite player is Mike Trout (when it comes to the game) or Albert Pujols (off the field). I grew up in Orange County, California and my brothers were Angels fans, so when I was 6 I got into Baseball and naturally became and Angels fan. And if you know anything about Mike Trout I’m sure you understand why he’s one of my favorite players, and Albert Pujols is a Christian and has a strong testimony, plus he’s a legendary first baseman. So, what about you? What’s your favorite team and who’s your favorite player and why?
No problem Grace! Yeah, I also like Trout and Pujols. My favorite team is the Braves, even though they’re awful right now; I’ve lived around Atlanta my whole life, so I can’t not pull for them, even when they traded Simmons! My favorite player used to be Chris Davis; now it’s a toss-up between Craig Kimbrel, Julio Teheran, and Mariano Rivera (even though he’s a Yankee, lol. Like Pujols, Rivera is very open about his faith in Christ). I like pitching, lol. Do you get to go to live games a lot? I’m normally able to make it to a couple of Braves games a year, and my family vacationed to NY a few years ago and saw the Yankees against the Angels.(Again–I’m not a Yankees fan, but I can say I saw Jeter play before he retired ;))
That’s cool. My second favorite team is the Braves because my dad grew up in Florida and he was a Braves fan. I used to live in Southern California, and when I was there I attended at least 1 game a year, usually 2-5 or 6 games. I even had the opportunity to go to the Opening Day game in 2014 with my dad (I saved almost every spare cent for almost six months). Like you, I am NOT a Yankees fan (in fact I sort of hate the Yankees), but I do respect both Moe and Jeter. Now that I live in Oklahoma, it’s not as easy to attend games, so I haven’t been to a game in over a year, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to attend 6 or 7 games in 2014, including 2 or 3 within a few weeks of our move to Oklahoma. I’m hoping to go to an Angels/Rangers game in Texas, or (more preferably) an Angels/Royals game in Kansas City this season.
Nice!! I’m really hoping to make it to more games this year (even if it’s just to watch the Braves get crushed, lol). Yup, my family definitely kinda hates the Yankees too, but Rivera is cool!
I kind of understand what you mean. Whenever people find out I like baseball they always say something like, “isn’t it kind of boring?” I also don’t know many other girls who like baseball, so it’s cool for me to see another girl who likes it.
YES! I can totally relate! Another question/remark I hear a lot…
“isn’t it too slow-paced?” “I don’t like Baseball, it’s too slow… and I don’t understand it.”
I saw a Baseball quote a month or two ago that says,
“It’s ok if you think Baseball is boring…
it’s kind of a smart person’s sport.” I love that quote! It’s SO true.
I love that quote too!
It bothers me when people use not understanding it as an excuse to not watch baseball. Because, if they really wanted to, they would take the time to try and understand it. Which is actually true for lots of things.
I also think that it may have something to do with the fact that the average American’s attention span is 1 second less than that of a goldfish… It’s hard to watch a baseball game if you don’t have any attention span.
So true! I like the simplistic complexity of the sport. There’s the basic rules, and then there are more complex rules that help enforce the simple rules. Some people ask why I like Baseball but not so much Softball saying, “they’re practically the same.” That’s just not true… When it comes to JUST the simple rules it is, but the more complex? Nope, not really. Besides, slow-pitch softball is wimpy and fast-pitch softball is just as dangerous as Baseball, if not more so. In my opinion, might as well play/watch Baseball. Besides, Baseball is America’s favorite game, right?
P.S. I’m really looking forward to this season… Spring training starts on March 1/2 (depending on the team). What’s your favorite team, btw?
I like the Cardinals because the 2006 World Series was the first time I remember watching baseball. I wanted them to win (for no particular reason) and they did. 🙂
But my brother likes the Red Sox and my uncle likes the Orioles…
This is really good Hailey! I’m also a junior and, while I do have a few ideas of where think God may be leading me, I’m not sure what I’m going to do after I graduate so this really encouraged me. Thanks so much!!!
Yay, I’m glad it encouraged you(:
This was INCREDIBLY well written!! So thought-provoking and encouraging!! THanks so much Hailey!!!!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
I absolutely LOVE this article, Hailey! And your name is wonderful, btw 😉
Haha, so is yours!!!
Great article, Hailey! I am definitely one to just smile and say I don’t know, and this was encouraging. I have absolutely no idea what I want to go to college for (which is only 2 1/2 years away… Scary) but I need to trust that God will direct me, no matter what:)
I’m so glad it encouraged you! I’m definitely right there with you on learning to trust God, bc I still have no idea about college lol
If it makes you feel better I am a college freshman and I sent out my email to collee the before it was due (march 31 or April 31 I cant remember now)
I was a stressed out mess and I made several T charts and excel sheets, etc ….
So I finally prayed and got prayer and God rold me I make all things work together for your good, and remember, you are still you here or there, and I am still with you here or there.
That actually made te decision harder and the summer was rough for me. But jere I am happy and God followed through and opened dozebs of doors for me.
I rambled a lot but remember you and God are the same wherever you are.
Great job, Hailey. You will definitely be a coach and teacher regardless of what you do as a career! I think you are amazing now–cannot wait to see how God continues to use you.
Thank you for reading and for being a positive impact in my life Mrs. Tanner!
Great job Hailey both on the article and, more importantly, your day-to-day commitment to abiding by God’s call for us to be servants. Just to supplement your point, there are a lot of things we tend to hype up — “I must get into school X”. God knows what we need and what we don’t — sometimes something that looks good on paper would actually be something that hurts our prayer life, separates us from family, or a million other things. Paul reminds us that the suffering and trials we go through here are not even comparable to the glory we’ll experience in heaven, so it’s wonderful assurance that whatever trials we face are just temporary.
As a practical matter, most “top 100” undergraduate institutions are quite comparable when it comes to opportunities, so there’s another reason not to worry! Just focus on serving God every day — planning is vital and good, but we just don’t want to let it consume our heart through worry.
Absolutely! Thanks for sharing further!
Hi, Hailey. I stumbled upon your article by chance. The funny thing is that I asked my 15 year old son those exact words while on the way to school this morning. As a parent, I struggle to know what God’s plan is for my children because I want them to be passionate about their calling and use their talents without reservation. Your article spoke volumes to me. We are to plan, but most importantly, we need to prepare ourselves to listen and obey when God calls us to work for Him. He won’t let our talents waste away if we are trusting in His guidance and praying for His wisdom. So, from here on I will ask my son where He thinks God is leading Him. And if he isn’t sure, we’ll continue to pray together about it. By the way, there are many children in this world that need the reassurance that someone is there for them, supporting and encouraging them along their way. Thanks for being one of those people who has reached out to someone in need.
Yes! It’s hard for me to just blindly trust because I’m such a planner, but I know it’s something I need to work on 🙂 Thanks for reading.
Thank you for this article, Hailey. When I was 3 years old, I told people I wanted to be a mommy/missionary/doctor when I grew up (I said doctor because that was the only “helping people” career I knew of). Now I’m 21 and what I want to do “when I grow up” hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure that means God wants me doing those things. I just don’t know what that looks like yet! Like you, I’m a planner, so not knowing bothers me too. Thanks for the encouragement that the direction will come in His timing, and that’s what matters.
That’s cool! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Thank you for your article Hailey, it was very encouraging!
One thing I would like to mention is something my pastor challenged me. I didn’t like it at first, but considering and contemplating what he said, I have to agree with him.
He told me that God’s will for my life isn’t really about what college/university I go to, who I marry, where I live, etc.
What? That caught me off guard. How then am I suppose to know what I’m to do with my life?
My pastor replied that God’s will for my life is that I obey Him, glorify Him with every aspect of my life, spread the Gospel, reacg out to the lost, and love Him unconditionally – basically, to live out a life the points to and glorifies Christ.
‘Okay, yeah, I agree,’ I thought, ‘but how do I decide what to actually do with myself?’
And this is where everything is hitting me and beginning to piece together.
The most important thing I can do at any given point of time in my life is bring glory to God – nothing else truly matters.
That means that, at the end of everything, it doesn’t really matter whether or not I get married, go to college/university, stay in the same apartment forever, etc. All that matters is that, whatever I decide to do, I prayed to God asking for wisdom to make the decision that wild bring Him most glory, sought counsel, and stepped out in faith if there are no red lights.
This might sound scary, but when you live it out, it really isn’t. When I withdrew from college during first semester, when I signed the lease for my apartment, when I changed jobs, when I got my third job, when I canceled my vacation to Tokyo – were those scary big decisions? Yes! Did I always know what I was going to do next? Absolutely not! But the thing is, God doesn’t ask us to have our lives mapped out. Yes, we do have to make decisions in life, but we don’t have to worry about missing God’s best for us by going to one school over another. Yes, it can drastically change our lives, but again, we don’t have any reason to worry.
Just keep obeying His Word and seek to make the decisions that will bring God the mist glory in your life, and you will be living out God’s will for your life 🙂
Great points, Amanda. Thanks for sharing! Yes, I have a missionary friend who talks about how God’s will for all Christians is that they obey and glorify Him and tell others about Him. So you can do literally anything and still share Christ with others.
Exactly 🙂 Though I completely agree with what you said. It is hard to decide in what way we will spend our lives glorifying God!
thanks, Amanda! That’s exactly where I’ve been struggling with.. I always wanted to find out what Gods plan for my life would be…. I filled in things. Thought up all kinds of possibilities… And then I realized that God really just wants me to follow HIM and only HIM. As long as I try to make my own plans, try to map out my entire life, He cannot work through me. I need to bow down and realize that He will work through unexpected ways. The only thing we should do is surrender our lives to Him and depend on Him alone! And that’s hard. But I pray for His strength and grace everyday. I can do all things with Him.
glad you enjoyed it!
Hmmm…you should write an autobiography.
It’s on my bucket list(:
Beautiful article. Thank you.
thanks for reading:)
Indeed it is!! 🙂
Thanks for the article Hailey!
My story is similar. This past fall I felt God calling me to give up my dream of serving in the United States Military and spend my life serving Him. Then, as if to back that feeling up, I attended a pre-military training over Christmas break and hated most of it. 🙂 Not only that, but I received an injury that would probably keep me out of the military due to the nature and the severity of it. Yes. It kinda hurts to give up the dream I’ve been looking forward to for years. But I know God will use me for His purpose in ways I may never be able to see.
Wow! Thanks for sharing. Pretty neat how God let you know that the military was not His will for you. That’s encouragement to me that if I’m ever on the wrong path, He’ll somehow straighten me out;)
Your article is what most people today struggle with. Many don’t have any reason in life and if they find one most of the time it is not worthwhile. Jesus is the only real cause and his journey brings the most adventure of all!:)
Thanks, I needed to hear that.
Wow!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!
Thanks for reading!
thanks for your story!! it helped to remind me that God is in control of my future.
Thanks Hailey, you definitely know what your talking about. But do you know what your going to do with your life?
I do! I feel called to be a missionary working with kids through softball, as well as a foster parent. Thanks for reading. 🙂
AMEN Hailey! Your article got me. I don’t know what God wants me to do, as in a career. But, my uncle took his life a year and a half ago, and that same year my family had to leave our church for doctrinal reasons, losing most of our friends there, and then spent the next year going from church to church. Now, like you, I want to be there for those who don’t have hope and support. The ones like Logan, who are alone, and have “no one to cheer them on, no one to help them”. It gets me going any time I hear about someone like that. Maybe I’ll start an organization, maybe I won’t, but I pray that God will help me to be strong and courageous in being there for those who are around me right now. Thank God that the pain truly does have a purpose. And yes, I hope to adopt. 🙂
Wow, thanks for sharing. Suicide is a horrible thing, but like you said, it’s pretty amazing how God can speak hope even through trials like that!