Journey of Faith: Day 11

IMG_2473

 

Day 11: Dare to Live No Longer for Self

I, like many of you at one point, created a five-year plan for myself. I believed that I would graduate in four years, land my dream job, make good money, and be able to settle down and buy a house. What I didn’t know at the time was that God had something else in mind. Something totally and completely different. After changing majors a few times, it didn’t take me four, but six years to graduate college. I had to move back home for several months, due to not finding a job too quickly after graduation in anything much related to my degree. After working a very stressful job in mostly sales, a career not up my alley by any means, for a year I did finally land my dream job as a nutritionist. I still do not have a house, and instead I am sharing an apartment with my sister, but I would not have it any other way right now.

When we make five year plans, who are we making them for? I believe that we look at everyone else around us and compare our lives to them, what they do and accomplish, and base our life around what we perceive as the “normal” standard of living. Deep down we do this to please ourselves and to please our peers, maybe even make them a little jealous. We forget that we are not in control of our life, but that each one is mapped out in the hands of God. You make think you know what’s best and what you need to do to get from point A to point B, but there’s going to be some bumps along the road, maybe even a few pits or standstills, circumstances and situations out of our control. Remember who formed you, who made you unique and special, the One who knows the number of tiny hairs on our head. He’s in control and He will bless you with more than you thought possible if you have a little faith and trust in His almighty power. This quote from Oswald Chambers that I took from the book puts it into perspective. He writes, “Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance – a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.”

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Galatians 2:20)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

(John 10:10-11)

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

(1 Corinthians 5:14-15)

“Pray. Relax. Let Go. And Let God Take Over” (Unknown)

3f68b39451f2107e06cd7073465fd117

Many of us have been asked the question, where do you see yourself in five years? How many of us can answer this question? How many of us have our whole life mapped out in what looks to be a perfect scenario? I’ve been asked this question many times at different points in my life. I always have the normal cliché answers of reaching a weight loss or fitness goal, being married, having a great job, and on my way to beginning a family of my own. Those answers and then some are what make up the majority of our life plans. What I’ve learned through my various list-making occasions is that my list doesn’t always occur in the time-frame I’ve allotted for. And what happens when our plan doesn’t pan out like we would like it too? We become discouraged and upset that everything didn’t work out the way we wanted. We start to say to ourselves, maybe it’s just not meant to be? So we immediately begin to create a new list with basically the same answers as before.

When I was a senior in high school, I thought I had my life all planned out. I was going to Faulkner University to pursue a pre-physical therapy degree and eventually would go on to become a physical therapist. Of course, attending college such as Faulkner I was asked countless times if I was going to earn a Mrs. degree. My answer was always no, which was true because that’s not why I was going to school; although if I happened to find my future husband there then that would be just an added bonus. Or so I thought at the time. Well, I got to Faulkner and only stayed my first semester of my freshman year. In that span of time I had job shadowed at a rehab center with a physical therapist assistant and decided this was not the career for me. I moved back home and transferred to the University of South Alabama and majored in radiologic technology to become an x-ray technician and eventually specialize in ultrasound technology. Again, I was required to job shadow one day at a hospital in Mobile and quickly realized that was not meant for me either. I changed my major once again to nursing because I really didn’t know what else to do. I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field and USA was known for their nursing program, so I thought why not? Once I got into all the school work involved for that major and hearing how small the number of people was that actually got accepted into the nursing program, I started rethinking my major once again. Come to find out, most of my family members could not see me becoming a nurse and in the back of their minds didn’t think this was the career for me either. It turned out that they were very much right about that.

It was at the beginning of my sophomore year at USA that I began to take control of the weight that I had gained and started out on Weight Watchers. I had already changed my major to nursing at this point. When I started Weight Watchers and begin to learn more about nutrition and healthy eating I became a little obsessed with the whole thing. I was constantly reading health articles, nutrition news, and magazines on the latest information. I enjoyed reading all I could find on this topic. I read about various diet fads, what foods you should and should not eat, how important exercise is to your overall health and so much more. It wasn’t until the second semester of my sophomore year that I began to reevaluate my major one last time. What I discovered was that USA did not have any type of nutrition major available. I searched schools nearby and found out that the University of Alabama had a food and nutrition major that was offered online. I wanted this option because I was not yet prepared to move away from home yet. I began at UA as an online student my junior year and loved all my classes and learning about something that was so personal and important to me. Nutrition and Weight Watchers had changed my life and I loved the thought of becoming a dietitian and working with people, like me, to help them reach their own weight loss and health goals. After completing my junior year online at UA I realized it was time for me to move away from home and finish out the rest of my schooling from Tuscaloosa. Well as you all know that’s what happened and the rest is history.

As a senior in high school, never in my life could I have imagined this is where my life would turn out to be. It’s completely different from my five year plan and all the clichéd answers I came up with. And you know what? I’m really okay with that. I couldn’t be happier with the way my life has turned out and the person I’ve become. I know God is doing great things and continues to help me grow and mature. What I thought was a perfect plan for me at the time, was not really what God had in store. His ways are so much better than mine and I am constantly reminded of that. I’ve learned to no longer create five year plans. Don’t get me wrong though; there is nothing wrong with having dreams, goals, and ambitions for yourself. In fact, that’s very important. I’m just saying we shouldn’t get caught up in making sure everything on our five year plan is reached and attained in that time span. You never know what or who will come into your life that will make you change directions. Always be open for change. I know change is scary because you don’t know what will happen, but if we have faith in God that everything will work out, then everything will be fine. All you have to do is let Him take over and lead the way.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9