My Career Path: How do I choose?

The question:

“I have recently been reading on your blog and I have this question which I needed help on. I have been in the States for a couple of months and am praying about the subject area to study .Want to know how God can direct me on this.”

Welcome to the States! I hope your time so far has been great. I would like to say that choosing a career path is one of the hardest things you may have to do as an adult. Here in America, you go through schooling and around the age of 18, you’re expected to go to college. Now, when you start applying, you need to have an idea of what you want to pursue. This can seem like a very big responsibility as you are forced to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. You can apply for school under the major “undecided” if you’re not sure of what you want to do. With an “undecided” major, you take your general study classes and a few pre-requisites, but you are expected to make a decision on what subject you want to study in order to acquire an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Since you are not currently enrolled in school, I would advise that you don’t waste money simply to be “Undecided”.

This is something I always struggled with. As a child, I wanted to be a teacher. After some time, I wanted to be a fashion designer, chef, detective, doctor, and basically just everything. When I got older, I got sucked into the whole “I want to be a doctor” lifestyle because it was all I knew. Everyone in my immediate family, with the exception of my brother, was in the health field. It was sold to me as a safe option and one that would always make me money because “people will always get sick”. I went through high school involving myself in health-related activities and then it continued in college where I was taking health related classes although I had not declared a major. I had become comfortable with health for some reason although I hated and continue to hate blood, needles, and anything that just isn’t appealing to the eye. I just don’t have the stomach for it.

I spent my college career battling whether I wanted to just go into the health field or if I wanted to be a fashion designer. It was a legitimate BATTLE. I would wake up and go to my classes for my major, which I later declared as Kinesiology, but in my classes and whenever I got a free moment to think, my mind would automatically go back to fashion. It was something I always prayed about and sought direction for. In my mind, I was waiting for God to speak to me in my sleep in a distinctive voice. Sometimes, we expect one particular way of hearing God’s voice, but there are so many ways that he relays messages to us. He can definitely speak to us, but other times, he speaks to others on our behalf, he speaks to us in dreams, and then he puts things on our hearts. Don’t forget that your spirit lives within you. If your spirit cannot rest until that particular thing is fulfilled, then I don’t know who else could be speaking to you except for God.

I personally believe that God gives us our gifts and talents in order for them to provide for us. He doesn’t just give you these gifts just so you can use them at your convenience. In our world, a lot of us are money hungry and are not necessarily concerned about our happiness. Trust me when I say that I’ve had a job that has made me feel miserable from the start of shift to the very end and into overtime. I wanted easy money, but I was sacrificing my peace of mind and happiness in order to acquire it. God wants more for us. God tells us that we should not worry about 365 times in the bible. He tells us that we should not worry about what we will have to eat. He compares our situation to that of birds who don’t know where their meal will come from, however they always find something to eat. God tells us that we are more than these birds and so our needs will always be taken care of. I think it’s simply our lack of faith that allows us to experience such uncertainty when choosing a career.

One thing that I do admire about Americans is the fact that they care more about their happiness. When they dislike their jobs, they just get up and go. They don’t think twice about it. When they leave, they pursue something that they enjoy and in the end, they end up better off than they were in their former job. Those that have the greatest stories chose not to give up on their dreams.

When it comes to choosing what you want to pursue, consider your gifts and talents. What are you good at? What do people say you would be good at doing based on your characteristics? Are you patient? Do you like to care for people? Do you prefer to spend your day with children? Do you want to spread knowledge to the younger generation? What do you like to do? What we are looking for may just be right in front of our faces, but due to our concerns for money, we are neglecting what God is very well telling us to do.

When you get an idea of what you may be interested in, it’s always a good a idea to shadow someone or to do an internship. You can never do too many internships. For those who do not know, shadowing means that you observe someone. For example, if you were interested in being a teacher, you would speak to the school and see if you could spend a day following a teacher around to see what their day would look like from teaching classes, to supervising lunches, etc. You can also do an internship which would probably last for either a few weeks or a month, where you would get a more hands-on experience with the tasks involved with any particular profession. Whatever you decide to do, these options will give you a better idea of how things are done on the inside.

Whatever you do, make sure you continue to pray, and most importantly, don’t think that you have to be in a rush. God works in His own time, and He’s not considering your timetable. The bible says that we may roll the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall. He’s in control, and he knows what is best for you. Let’s be more vigilant and pay more attention to the direction God is pointing us in.

God loves you.

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