Twenty-first century college students are not encouraged to do things we love. Currently living in the university setting, I attest to knowing many (and being one of those) students who fills the days with agenda-item after agenda-item– that frankly bring very little joy. I– and I’ll guarantee thousands of modern university students– take classes I don’t particularly find interesting, work internships I wouldn’t be doing in the absence of sheer obligation, and consid majors I’m not the least bit passionate about… Perhaps in hopes of employment one day, perhaps for show and blatant vanity, perhaps just to feel good like I’m doing something “good.”
There’s a national push for college students to pursue the maths and sciences. Really, as far back as elementary school, I remember being told, “U.S. students’ rankings in science and math skills are dropping,” and, “You’ll be guaranteed a job out of college with a B.S.”
And the rhetoric continues: U.S. News and World Reports published a few months ago, “The men and women who will make America’s tomorrow are in school and college today. They are the human capital at the core of any productive economy. And here’s a fact about them. There are too few of these people in the scientific disciplines. America, the leader, now lags.” (Just to prove my point.)
This article certainly isn’t the first of its kind; no, no, no. There were many to precede it and many still to follow. The World needs more mathematicians, doctors, researchers… and America must supply that need!
Well, here’s the problem… I’m a writer.
I enjoyed English and history and journalism classes in high school.
Sure, I got As and Bs in some Algebra and Pre-Calc classes; but I thrive in neither science nor math, they bring me very little joy, and I’d fear for any individual who had to call me “doctor” one (hypothetical) day.
Yet, I’ve been trying to convince myself out of a deeply rooted love for writing, a passion I’ve known I wanted to pursue since the 5th grade, for about two years now. I’ve been trying to convince myself a career in the medical field, in scientific research, in economic analysis would be better suited for living a “normal adult life” and having a “real career.” I’ve been trying to make my abilities and interests more “practical,” as The NYT or CNN has convinced me to do.
I’ll admit, there’s guilt and embarrassment that comes with telling people my majors. I cringe when they ask. And know they are disappointed I’m not studying a “smarter” subject than Communication and Economics. Perhaps it’s in my head, but I can almost feel them assume I changed my major from Biology to social sciences as “an easy way out.” “Oh,” they ask, “and what do you want to do with that?”
Now, don’t get me wrong. Science and math are so necessary for a functioning world. Please don’t stop reading or shut your laptop closed, that was not intended to offend anyone or diss science and math-loving people. No, no, quite the opposite. It was meant to encourage those people… and really anyone who’s ever had a passion.
You see, you love science and math. And I love writing. It makes me tick; it makes my blood run faster; it makes me stop in the middle of the quad to take out my notebook and jot down an epiphonic introductory sentence. Yet, I’ve been suppressing my desire and love and longing to become a writer… even though I know it’s what God made me to do.
You see, this post really isn’t about professions at all, despite how it started. It’s about our career in Christ; how we choose to spend our energies and abilities, in exchange for God’s perfect love. Not money. This post is about fulfilling God’s will for our lives by following our callings and passions. It’s about becoming the You you’re meant to be through God, not the You the world wants or needs you to be.
Over the past three or four days alone, I’ve gotten several comments about this blog: people telling me they’re excited to follow it, that they’ve been touched or convicted or inspired by things I’ve written, that they think it’s well written. Since discovering I want to be a journalist in the 5th grade, it’s been the first time I’ve felt more-than-confident this is what God has designed me to do on earth. This blog, in its short 3 week existent, has already allowed me to glorify Jesus in a way I have never experienced before. And, as a bonus, other people are also being touched!
Some of us love cooking; some of us love making music; some of us love centrifuging chemicals and balancing chemical equations; some of us love teaching math. This list could go on as long as the number of people on earth… because each of us is uniquely and wonderfully made. You know deep down what makes you smile from the heart, what makes you tick. It may not be your current major or the career your pursuing, but it’s still within you.
Psalm 139 praises God, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
While Jesus was a skilled carpenter, His Father is a masterful sculptor, designer, creator. He made each of us with distinct uniqueness, certainly physically but also in our abilities and passions and callings. We are beautifully made to each carry out unique roles on this planet during our lives in His name to advance His Kingdom.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
I’d just like to suggest that doing what you love is pleasing to God. It maintains that we acknowledge His creation of us the way He intended us to be when we do what He made us to do. But I imagine that when we try to convince ourselves into living lives the way the world “needs” us to, with jobs we don’t enjoy and habits that make us unhappy, God feels as if we are neglecting and disrespecting the gifts we have been allotted.
So, we must write, we must cook, we must sing and dance, we must centrifuge, we must teach, we must do the things put inside us to do in a manner that glorifies Jesus and the heavens. For as a body of Christ, we are designed to work together in our unique tasks with joy and pride in our Lord.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16
So unlike The U.S. News and World Report, I’d like to say that some of us are meant to be neurosurgeons, cancer researchers, or financial advisers, but many of us aren’t. That’s the way it’s supposed to be! Otherwise, we’d have a world of very few, highly-specialized abilities, high competition… and not very many individuals. I see so many people being encouraged by our world to “pursue their passions,” yet the continue to pursue the passions that seem most promising financially or socially.
Embrace the gifts God has generously blessed you with. You know what they are, and if you don’t, pray about them. Worry not about your salary or your profession’s ranking in “Best Jobs of 2013.” We can do all things through Christ, while serving Him and others in the callings He has set for our lives.
I’ll leave you with some words from my favorite Duck Dynasty star, Miss Kay, who is using her God-given gifts to serve Christ daily…
“I have always enjoyed cooking… When my boys were at home I always saw cooking as a gift that I could use to help share the gospel and also to provide a great atmosphere for my sons’ friends… I never want to lose the gift God has given me to open up our home and feed people delicious food.” (The Duck Commander Devotional)