Friday, August 25, 2017

what I swore I wouldn't do


what I swore I wouldn't do:

1. work in youth ministry, EVER
2. become a teacher, no matter how many people told me I'd be good at it
3. write as anything more than a spare-time hobby
(I bet you can guess where this is going...)

As a kid, I changed my mind a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went from a veterinarian to a marine biologist to an author to a teacher (for one very short pre-teen phase) to maybe some sort of part time something? Who knows? I'm not too sure? But as I graduated a rough year of high school, I thought I knew three things with certainty. The first was that I HATED teenagers and never wanted to see high school again, the second was that I was not a fan of the classroom and certainly never wanted to stand at the front of it, and the third was that writing was just fun. It was for me. It was not something I wanted to work at, seriously.

Over the past couple of years, as I've changed jobs and started my first semester of university, I made a lot of choices based on these three things I thought I knew.

I told my parents to knock some sense in me if I ever said "yes" again when my pastor asked me to lead the youth.

I told my academic advisor to take "teaching" right off the list of possible career paths for me. "It's just not an option," I said, with a little laugh, and didn't enroll in any credits that would open that door for me.

"No, writing isn't something I'd consider taking seriously," I told anyone who asked me.



And then everything got a little funky. After turning down my acceptance to a Youth Ministry University program, I said "yes" to my pastor one more time ... and eight months later found myself with a job at my church, as a youth ministry assistant, of all things. (and I LOVED it).

After finishing my first year of university and still not knowing what I wanted to do after, I had a long phone conversation with a friend and all of a sudden, teaching started to look more like an opportunity and less like a career. "That's where the students are," I remember telling her. Those students that I didn't even know I liked ... I realized that there's a lot of love in my heart for them after all, and I wanted to be where they were. I wanted to go back to high school, after all.

The writing is something that has happened recently ... more of a sense that "something is not right" when I don't pay enough attention to it ... a feeling that I am not where I am supposed to be if I don't have time to sit down and edit my novel, or jot down notes for a new story idea.

As hard as I tried to get away from these things - as confused as I was about what I thought I wanted, what I thought I was good at, what I thought I was or wasn't supposed to do, they just kept finding me. I didn't even notice until earlier on this week, when I was driving to a friend's and started to realize just how much of my life was NEVER part of my plan for my life. Clearly, God had other ideas.

I can't even tell you how reassuring this is. I'm still early on in university years and still trying to plan absolutely everything ... and a lot of the time, it stresses me out. I don't know what's going to happen this year, or next, or when I'll graduate, or if this dear little novel of mine will ever see a bookstore display shelf. I don't know how long I'll be working for the church, or exactly what I want to be when I grow up, and so instead of resting in the unknown of God's plan for me, I keep creating my own. I keep making plans and decisions and statements with a certainty I don't feel, and I find myself getting tired. I pray for God's will and guidance, but realized last weekend that I'm often asking Him to show up in the plans I've already made, instead of asking Him to show me His own.



If you had told me two and a half years ago that this is what my life would look like, I would probably have laughed. And then said something like, "okay but I don't really think that will happen", thinking never never never to myself. And now, I don't want to be anywhere else. I did everything I could NOT to end up here, and now I have trouble catching my breath when I think about how much I would have lost if I'd been given exactly what I thought I wanted.

So if any of this sounds like you, I hope this brings a little bit of peace to your soul today. You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to know where you're going absolutely all the time. And no matter what choices you've made (or are making, maybe scared to death that they're the wrong ones), they are redeemable. And if you're a little scared to let go of your plans and grab onto the ones that God has for you, I get that. I'm there, too. And I'd love to start to figure it out together.


I'm blogging from the car today ... on my way to a friend's cottage! How are you spending your weekend? Whether you're in school or out, do you struggle with the idea of the future? Have you ever made plans and then changed your mind (or had God change it for you)?

xx,
Olivia

20 comments:

  1. This right here. So much love.

    ~Mira
    www.steppinginsunshine.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Mira! I'm so glad you can relate! ♡ thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I love this. And i definitely needed to hear it. Thank you, Olivia. I'm so happy for you! ♥

    //Megan
    megans-journals.blogspot.com

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    1. Grateful for you, Megan! And so thankful that you were encouraged ... this is something that continues to encourage me and I'm thrilled to be able to pass it on! :)

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  3. You just described my life. Every time I start to say "I'll never do _____," I stop myself, remembering all of the things I've done that I said I'd never do. I've stopped trying so hard to plan out my life (which, of course, has my parents a bit concerned), because God always, always, always has something else in store for me. I'm trying so hard to listen harder and longer before taking the next step.

    Blessings on your journey!

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    1. Amen, Serena!! I'm right there with you. Thanks for commenting - and blessings on your journey, too!

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  4. This is absolutely great, Olivia. I've been thinking about this a lot too...it's crazy how much perspective can change over a few years. I'm not the same person I was a year ago, and sometimes it's strange to imagine what I'll be like a year from now. I'm just thankful that God knows.

    loved this post so much :)

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    1. "I'm just thankful God knows" ... me too, Autumn. wow. me too.

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  5. This is such a great message. College is a time where you learn about yourself and what you want to do or don't want to do. I am glad you are finding your passions.

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    1. Thank you, V! I hope you have lots of opportunities to find your passions, too! :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing this with us, it's so interesting to see how things worked out for you, and I wish you every success on your path. :)

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  7. Funny how God flips all of our plans around. I'm going through a similar transition right now of re-thinking what the rest of my life (and especially the next few years) will look like, and I'm pretty okay with it actually. Thanks for sharing!

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. Ahhh, transitions ... they scare me, to be honest! But at the heart of it, I'm okay with God flipping my plans around, and I'm starting to get better at being less afraid while He does it :)

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  8. Oh gosh, can I just give an Amen to this whole post? This is exactly it. I've been going through this same exact thing. After I graduated college in May, I had all these ideas and plans about what life post-college would look like, but God turned them on their head. He is slowly revealing that His plans are better, and I'm really enjoying them now that I'm learning to submit to Him. Love that you are moving forward on your journey! I hope I get to read your book one day!!

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    1. "I'm really enjoying them now that I'm learning to submit to Him." Amenamenamen.

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  9. Love this post. It's very comforting. I feel like I'm drifting a little currently. It's a stressful place to be, but my prayer is always for wisdom and that God will take my seemingly 'purposeless' days and make them good.

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    1. Meaghan, I'm sorry that you feel like you're drifting! I've been there ... but praying for wisdom and purpose will always turn out to be a good thing. Even if you can't see it now, take courage in knowing that nothing is wasted! God can use it all. :) I hope things start to look up for you soon! <3

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  10. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THESE THOUGHTS <333 I seriously needed to read this today. I totally relate, girl. I've actually been thinking about this a lot -- about how when we are young we say things like "I'm never going to..." but I've recently been recanting some of those things. BECAUSE I JUST DON'T KNOW YOU KNOW??? LOL it seems so simple but it's really a revolutionary concept when it hit me. xD

    I basically know what I want my career to look like -- I want to be a musician and a writer and a blogger and eventually a teacher of online courses -- BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS. And maybe someday I'll want a new adventure and try something totally different!! That's the beautiful thing about life. Endless possibilities. And I think it's really important to follow the spirit of God on these things... because oftentimes the best things aren't planned by us alone. :)

    I LOVE THIS POST. SO SO MUCH.

    rock on,abbiee

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    1. I want to just kind of add your comment onto the bottom of my post, because I totally agree with everything you've said here. I love that you mentioned following the spirit of God on these things ... amenamenamen. <3 Thanks for commenting!!

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