What Does God Want Me to Do With My Life?
“When did you know that God wanted you to be a writer?”
Someone asked me that the other day. Short answer: “I don’t know.” Long answer: “I’m sorry, but I just don’t know.” Because the truth is, I don’t remember a specific point in time when I ever realized that I was going to be a writer. I mean, I always thought it would be cool. I journaled about it sometimes. I dreamed about it a lot. But I never really set out to be a published author. It just sort of happened.
When I look back over the past two years, I can definitely see the hand of God in my life. The way that He orchestrated things is just amazing. To think that a fourteen-year-old kid could Google a list of agents and end up with a book contract from a major publishing house a few months later is unbelievable. It’s really just not normal. Things like that don’t happen every day, and I realize it. Despite all of my fumblings and mistakes, God managed to do so much more with my life than I ever would have thought He would. And I’m only sixteen years into it! I can’t WAIT to see what He’s going to do with the next sixty (Lord-willing) years!
Often, when I share the story of God’s goodness in my life with other teens, I get a semi-frustrated, semi-confused reaction. I don’t usually ask what other teens are thinking, because I am super polite and all that, but occasionally one of them will tell me. And it’s usually along the lines of: Well, all that’s great for you, but how I am supposed to know what God wants me to do with my life?
I wish that I had the perfect answer for every single one of you who wants to know that, but unfortunately I don’t. I do, however, have a pretty good one. You can find it in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
So, according to that Bible verse, this is my advice as to what God wants you to do with your life. He wants you to:
- Be joyful all the time
Too often we are too focused on whatever it is we want to do. We want to be published, so we obsess over it and spend our every waking hour plotting and planning how we can make that happen. Our writings become our primary passion in life, and we convince ourselves that we will never be happy unless they get the attention they deserve. Or else we mope and complain because we don’t believe they deserve any attention at all and we don’t think it’s fair that others are blessed with more talent and opportunities than we are. The same goes for whatever other talents and dreams we have, whether it’s writing, designing, playing an instrument, or something else entirely.
I may be taking things to extremes, but I do honestly believe that this is true of a lot of us, if we dare to admit it. Okay, you may not be literally obsessed with your hopes and dreams for the future, but how much time to you spend thinking about them? It’s one thing to be excited and hopeful for what God has in store for you one day, but it’s another thing to be so focused on the future that you lose any joy in your life right now.
God has you right where He wants you and don’t you ever forget it. It doesn’t matter what His plans are for you one day, because He has plans for you at this stage in your life that are more important. He wants for you to be happy and joyful in your life right now. Don’t worry about what your life will look like ten years from now—whether or not you’ll accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Just be happy with where God has you today, and remember that every single thing that happens to you right now is shaping and preparing you for what’s going to happen to you in the future.
- Pray all the time
Whether or not you feel like you have something important to pray about. Obviously, something big like an agent considering your manuscript or a special arts school offering you an audition is going to require a lot of prayer. But so is making the decision to just write a book. Or sing a solo. Or do anything else that takes courage and hard work and may have an impact on your future.
If it’s something that’s close to your heart, then it will be close to the heart of God, as well. Don’t just start praying when you have to make a really big decision. Be devoted to prayer from the very start of an adventure. I always try to start out new stories with a simple prayer. Even if it’s just, “Lord, this is something that I feel you leading me to do, and I pray that you would help me to say all the things you want me to.” If I just pray that every time I sit down to write a scene for a book, I know that God will lead me in what I say and write. That way it’s God having control of my writing from the very beginning. I can rest more assured when it comes time to sign the contract that it’s what He wants me to do with my life, if I was in prayer from the very beginning that He would guide me.
- Give thanks all the time
Give thanks when things work out and you get a contract or someone likes your story or your business is successful and you just feel like flying through the roof. Those are all things that God orchestrated in your life, and hopefully you can see that well enough to give Him due credit for it. But you should also give thanks when the rejection letters pour in or someone criticizes you a little too harshly or your dreams seem to fall through the roof. Because, even though it’s hard to see it sometimes, God had a hand in those things, too.
When I look back over all the mistakes and rejections I faced when I first set out to get my book published, I can see God at work in it all. Yeah, I know—easy to say now, with two book contracts and a great fan base, right? Well, while it is easier to give glory to God for the rough spots in the journey now that I’m safely on the other side, I still tried to give thanks to God even when I was trudging through those bad times. Because even if I didn’t know if there would ever be an end to the rejection emails and dismissals, I knew that God was still in control. And even though it hurt to hear people say dismissive or derogatory things about my age or inexperience, I knew that if it was something God wanted me to do, He would give me the grace to let those comments slide off my back. And even if He had never wanted me to be published, but had led me on another path instead, He still would have used those comments to shape me into a better person.
So, I don’t know if that was a good answer to the question: “What does God want me to do with my life?”, but it was a pretty lengthy one. In the end, I don’t really know what plans He has in store for you, and I’m guessing that you don’t either. But I do know that He wants you to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful. And that, in His timing and by His good grace, He will work great things in your life. You just have to be patient and open-minded, and remember that sometimes the plans that God has in store for us, aren’t necessarily what we would have had in mind for ourselves. But I can promise you that they will be so much better.