“Do you trust me?” It is a simple question, but its roots delve deep into the heart of my struggle. Over the past few years the Lord has been asking me this question about my future. Do I plan and decide my own destiny, or entrust my future into my Savior’s care?
Currently I am privileged to work full time as a career counselor. This means I help people set goals, make decisions, and plan for their future. As a professionally licensed and certified counselor, I have training in quite a few counseling theories, but I am most drawn to career theories that provide a more structured approach.
For example, if you are working through a career decision, one of the first questions you ask yourself is, “Where am I now and where do I want to be?” The space between those two answers is your career gap.
My job is to help clients close that gap. We work through gaining self and occupational knowledge, decision-making strategies, and how your own thinking can be building barriers in closing the gap.
In all of this planning and goal setting, I have noticed each individual’s career story generally has a moment in which the person must ask themselves if they trust the process they have gone through to move forward in closing their gap.
If the individual becomes so focused on trying to talk to one more person or read one more article in order to have every possible bit of knowledge before moving forward they will reach a state of paralysis. They are stuck, and making the choice to close their career gap may seem impossible.
When I observe this, it makes me reflect back to one of the times in my life when I was stuck. It was a moment in time, which now seems a running theme. The Lord was asking, “Do you trust me?”
This moment occurred during college while I was on a weekend campus ministry retreat. My church’s pastor gave a series of messages about finding the will of God. At the time I was in a dating relationship that was not producing the fruit I knew came from a relationship glorifying to God.
Still, I clung to the details: he met all the criteria, and we invested much time to make it work. I worked hard to make sure this relationship was God’s will for me. I believed it was the right thing.
While bogged down in the details of that relationship, those sermons had a great impact on my life.* I learned the reality of God’s will for me is that I love and serve Him. Out of that same love rooted and founded in Christ, I must also love others.
I realized for the first time during that retreat how simple the major life decisions we obsess over could be when put into proper perspective. If a certain relationship or job does not help me love Christ and others more, then it is probably not God’s will for me.
My relationship with the college boyfriend came to an end and, when it was time to say goodbye, again God was asking, “Do you trust me?” I wish I could say I was easily able to let go of something that was not glorifying to Him, but it was a struggle. In letting go of my own plans, I was pleasing God and doing His will for my life.
This is not to say that God does not care about the times when we must examine the details of a career or relationship decision. I still get stuck. Years after that retreat, I am single and not sure what God’s plans for me are in that area of my life, but I’d like to think I am not in a state of paralysis either.
His gentle voice continues ask the question of trust. As Christ’s follower, I can move forward in freedom. Once I seek God’s will of direction through the lens of His word, wise counsel, and prayer, I have freedom. I can step boldly into the future—whether it is with a career decision, relocating geographically, or accepting a date with a man I am not so sure about. At the heart of the question is God pushing us to a leap, a movement, a choice. I am able to answer yes in faith only because of God’s goodness and grace in my life.
Many students I counsel do not share my Christian beliefs, and I feel for them. Without Christ in their decision-making, they are limited to their own understanding. As Christ’s followers we are under the care of the all-knowing and sovereign God.
Allow your Savior to bridge your gap.
*Kevin DeYoung’s materials related to these messages are now available in book format, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
Photo credit: maddstung