“I should be there right now.”
The thought crosses my mind for a moment before I refocus my attention on the task at hand: working on the rough draft of a scholarship application.
I reject the rising tide of self-pity and disappointment that threatens to wash over my will. I will determine to do my best where I am.
An Unexpected Detour
During my first year of college, I invested my efforts wholeheartedly in my courses. The opportunity to be involved in service on campus, build relationships, and gain fresh experiences was extremely exciting to me.
As freshman year drew to a close, however, I wasn’t sure how to cover the costs of sophomore year. Through the summer I’d worked, but didn’t devote time to forming a financial plan for the upcoming school year. As the time came to register, I faced the fact that I simply could not cover my remaining balance with my current options.
I prayed, asking God to give me specific direction. As I prayed, I felt a peace in my heart I didn’t understand. After communicating with school faculty, I decided to take the current semester off to work and return to school in the spring. In the meantime, I’m seeking to adjust my financial plan, so I can continue my education in an affordable manner and am hunting down scholarships online like a desperate lion seeking to close in on the prey.
Part of me questions if I failed in my preparation, or that this delay will throw my schedule off course beyond recovery. There are certainly moments when nagging whispers in my ear seem to say, “What do you hope to accomplish through this? You messed up and threw the plan off track. You are traveling down a detour that will cut you off at a dead-end street.”
But strange to say, through these past weeks a steady peace has remained with me that God has a purpose he’s going to work.
According to His Purpose
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28-29)
The phrase from this verse that sticks like glue in my mind is “called according to his purpose.” Even in my mistakes, God is working. When I offer my abilities, time, and efforts to him, he will use me where I am. Rather than floating aimlessly in a sea of decisions, he provides me with specific direction. He will open doors that no one can shut, but perhaps not exactly in my timing. And perhaps it won’t be the door my eyes have been fixed on.
Lately, I’ve been asking God to open my eyes to the opportunities he has given, and not simply bolt down paths that appear attractive to me. There is so much learning ahead of me, not only in school, but in work, church, and relationships. He is teaching me about serving in love. It’s my prayer that during this brief period the Holy Spirit will help me to conform more to the likeness of Jesus because I know that is his goal above any outward achievements.
My academic adviser gave me a healthy reminder that soothed some of my doubts about this decision. In an email, he wrote, “Nothing is lost in God’s economy.” None of our experiences go to waste in God’s plan. He can use events in the most surprising ways to shape us into the unique vessels he desires us to become, fit for a specific task.None of our experiences go to waste in God’s plan. He can use events in the most surprising ways to shape us into the unique vessels he desires us to become, fit for a specific task. Click To Tweet
Of course, that doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t have serious consequences in our lives. It doesn’t mean we sit in the back seat and expect God to be our chauffeur who takes us where we command him. The opportunity awaits us, however, to offer up everything to be used by him. Every pain, joy, success, and failure is working material for our creative God. As the one who created the universe, it seems he often works outside the box when accomplishing his purposes in our lives.Every pain, joy, success, and failure is working material for our creative God. Click To Tweet
My prayer is: God, help unbox my own mindset and give me a vision for action that is aligned with yours.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store not only for me, but for everyone I know who are called according to God’s purpose. He has given us more than enough promises to hold on to throughout the process.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8)