Some of us struggle more than others in finding the direction our lives should take: whom to marry, what career to choose and a host of others. Here are a few tips I have found helpful in my own journey to what God has for me to do.
Does it bring glory to God?
For instance, if you wanted to start a business and decided to copy pirated software or movies, this would not honor God because you were contemplating stealing. Don't be too hasty in deciding what your course should be, because you will end up probably not liking what you have decided without time to give it considerable thought. If you are an impulsive person, this one is going to be hard for you to follow.
Think about all the consequences of what you want to do. Will it take valuable time away from my family or worship opportunities? Will your walk with the Lord suffer because of what you are planning? Will it be a good witness to other Christians if you do this? If the answer to these and other questions is "no" then you had better rethink whether it will bring glory to God.
What are all the ways I can accomplish my goal?
If you were thinking about earning a degree in a certain subject, how could you get it in different ways: going to a traditional campus, online education, a school geared just for this subject, etc. Does your schedule and finances allow you to attend a regular college or university? What are you willing to give up in the short term to get your eventual goal? Is financial aid available?
Talk to someone already in the career you are planning to see if you really want it. Many people get done with their education and then hate what they are doing. Develop a mentor to help you in your quest so you don't get short-changed at the end.
Check out the Job Outlook Handbook and Dictionary of Occupational Titles at your local library or perhaps online about what you would like to do. Find out if it is a viable idea before you get into it. The idea here is to find if there is actual demand for what you want to accomplish, not just what people are saying.
Don't overload yourself
As we get older, time seems to speed by. We need to rethink what we really want and whether it is attainable, and how long it will take to get there. When a person is young, there is time to investigate different avenues more than when we are older. Is what you plan just a dream or can it really happen for you? Are you willing to start from the bottom if need be to attain this idea? If you are desperate to make money right away or in the short term, you may put too much demand on yourself and get frustration and depression from it instead of fulfillment.
Give yourself credit for what you have already accomplished and let that be a springboard to help you toward your next goal. Don't allow yourself or others to put you down verbally or otherwise, because this drains your self-esteem, like trying to drive your car with a flat tire. Be realistic in what you can handle without burning out or getting depressed. Look for resources you can get help if you need it along the way with the subject you choose. For instance, if you were going for a math degree, there are places you can get help at the college or university you attend. This was a blessing for me when I took algebra.
Don't compare yourself to others
You are a unique person--someone special--so you are not like anyone else. Each person has their own set of experiences, abilities, faults, etc., so take these into consideration as you learn. Don't berate yourself because you can't think or study or whatever as well as someone else. Einstein said, "Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects". If you compare yourself to others you will get depressed and frustrated, which won't help you at all. Find out your learning style and accommodate it in the way you attack what you want to learn. For example, are you a visual person, able to comprehend things by just watching it being done or do you need to do it hands-on? Answers to these types of questions will help you learn faster and retain it longer.
If you fail at something, look for another way to accomplish it and try again later. I had to do this with my epilepsy because every time I would take algebra in high school and later, I would get a seizure. So I had to wait until I had control of my epilepsy, enlisted the help of the learning center at the college for help with the problems, and got a great professor also. It took me more than thirty years to accomplish this feat, but I ended up with a B in the course. I started from the bottom of the math ladder and went up. I still have further to go later on, if I choose to do so.
Do you have peace about what you want to do?
There is a difference between having peace about an endeavor and having problems. Peace is the overall feeling you have when you are working on a goal. Problems will always be there to be overcome. So if you have problems doesn't mean you should chuck your idea unless there is a lack of peace in your being.
I recently had to look for a job because something happened to my source of income and I needed to be able to make some money steadily. Before, I had gone out in hot weather and looked for work door-to-door without success. I had tried the place I eventually applied many times before and was about to dismiss the idea of trying again. But God whispered to me to try one more time. I did, and I got an interview right away and everything went smoothly until I finally got the job. I now have a job around a nice group of people with a great boss.
The difference, I believe, is that before I was trying to do this finding of a job in my own strength rather than in God's . I thought I was doing the right things in the way I was looking for work, but obviously not or I would have found employment then. I was listening more to God this time around and reaped the benefit of being willing to try one more time. One verse in the Bible comes to mind, "Be still and know that I am God". Try being quiet before the Lord and see what happens.
May the Lord bless you as you seek to do His will in your life. Above all, don't give up on yourself because God hasn't. Even when everyone, including ourselves, have given up on us--God never does. Get close to Him so you can have the maximum benefit of His leading in your life. He loves you with unconditional love--whether you succeed or fail, he loves you the same. Tap into that assurance and know that God will lead you if you let Him. There is something wonderful out there waiting for you.
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