I don’t know about you, but when I was 16 years old, I thought I had my life figured out. I would graduate college at 22, be settled into a full-time job that I love, own a house, be married shortly after graduation and start having kids by 24 (at the latest).
Boy, was I ever wrong. The only thing that went by plan was graduating college. I graduated this past May at 22 years old. When the job offers weren’t rolling in during my senior year of college–which I had the misguided impression would happen to anyone who worked hard and did all the right things–I started to panic.
I graduated from Mississippi State University, which is an engineering-dominant school. Most engineers have the opportunity to begin interning and co-oping their freshman or sophomore years, and if they work hard and are good at their jobs, they have a guaranteed career post-graduation. Well, English majors aren’t so lucky. It is expected that English majors, along with most liberal arts majors, go to graduate school immediately following completion of their undergraduate degree. I had already decided that graduate school wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to spend an additional two to four years in school when I knew what I wanted to do and knew that I needed real-world experience (which I thought I already had plenty of) to get a job.
I wanted to go into book or magazine publishing. End of story. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it. When the job offers from publishing houses weren’t coming my way, despite my internships and grades, I decided that I would explore some post-graduate options. I ended up spending the July after graduation at the Denver Publishing Institute. I graduated in August with a certificate of publishing and was certain that now the job world would be wide open for me.
Yes, you guessed it, once again I was wrong. No matter how many jobs I applied for, I hardly ever got any response back. I got a few phone interviews, but they never turned into anything else. Needless to say, I was feeling incredibly discouraged. I worked so hard throughout college and tried to do everything I possibly could to put myself in the best possible position to get a job. I didn’t want to settle for a part-time job. They don’t offer benefits, vacation time or let’s be honest, great pay. Yet here I am, 10 months out from my college graduation, working two part-time jobs, still living with my parents, mooching off of their insurance and still relying on them for a lot of my basic needs.
It’s taken a lot of time in prayer and a lot of time in God’s Word, but despite the stark contrast between where I wanted to be by this time in life and where I actually am right now, I’m content in my life. I trust that God has a plan, and that the experiences happening now will lead me to my full-time career and make me a better person, a better Christian and a better employee. Of course, there are still days that I struggle, but when those thoughts creep in, I always remind myself of how much I love the two jobs God has placed me in and the great people with which I get to work. I also remind myself that God knew before I was born that I would sitting at a computer at The Alabama Baptist writing this blog post for you all to read, and He knows where I will be sitting in 5, 10, 25, 50 years. Though this was not my plan for my life, this was God’s plan for my life, and who am I to worry and doubt a God that has never failed me and never will?
If any of you are in the same place that I was–feeling discouraged, feeling not good enough, feeling desperate–I have one piece of advice for you: lean on the cross, lean on the God who loved us so much that He sacrificed His only son so that we could spend forever with Him. I don’t know what my earthly future holds, but I know what my eternal future holds. I pray that no matter what comes in my earthly life, I will surrender it in service to the glory of our Almighty Creator.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV).