Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Struggle of Figuring Out What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

Something I still struggle with is the fact that I never got a "post-secondary education." I mean, I did a year and a half of an arts degree, but don't actually have a degree or diploma of any sort from after High School. My reasons for not continuing university were complex and really personal so I won't go into that now, but let's just say I didn't stop because I wanted to at all, and me stopping had a lot to do with the amount of stress I was experiencing.

Though the main reason was the stress, another big one was that I could not for the life of me figure out what I wanted to do. I thought about it way too much, took way too many quizzes on the internet that tell you what you should "be when you grow up," talked to way too many people about it and received way too much advice. I never came to a conclusion. Being in an arts degree with no particular goal in mind was really frustrating for me, and I so badly wanted to come to a decision in regards to what I wanted to do for my career, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't come to any conclusion that I had any peace about.

My younger sister is graduating this year and deciding what she should go into for post-secondary, and that got me wondering why it was so incredibly hard for me to know what I should do when I was in her place, as well as for years following graduation from High School. I received a bit of clarity on the subject while listening to a really good CD with a talk by Matthew Kelly
called My Spiritual Journey in the car, and while reading a book my Dad got me called The Way of Trust and Love by Jacques Philippe. I was reading the book while I waited at Canadian Tire for an hour and a half while they put winter tires on my car, while Rose played beside me in her carseat. I was lucky she was in such a happy mood, that hour and a half could have gone very differently.

Something Matthew Kelly said in his talk really hit me. He said we are asking the wrong questions. When we ask the wrong questions, we get the wrong answers, and our lives are guided by the questions we ask. His example was the way we always ask "What do you want to do?" When we're a kid we're asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Then in High School we're asked what we want to do out of High School, then in university we're asked what we want to do when we graduate. Then we graduate and do what we want, and we wake up one day when we're 35 unsatisfied, wondering what went wrong. The reason these are all the wrong questions is they are focused on what we want. Not what God wants for us. When we go through life always trying to figure out what we want and having that guide our lives, we end up unsatisfied. He said a better question to ask your kid is, "What did God say to you today?" which ya, sounds kind of weird, but I really agree with his message. What he was saying is if you ask that kind of question, the person being asked will naturally try to look for the answer just because the question was asked, and that will guide his life instead of the question "What do I want?"

I was trying so hard to figure out what I wanted, and when I tried to do what I thought I wanted, it wasn't making me happy. My life would have been so much more peaceful had I been more focussed on figuring out what God wanted me to do, what God was saying to me, and if I could have just trusted Him.

The book by Jacques Philippe gave me an answer as to how I could have done this (and can in the future). I mean, it's all easier said than done. It's actually really, really, really hard to do. It is definitely worth all the effort though.

Jacques Philippe explained how in our world of confusion, "only God's word, passed on to us in a special way in scripture, has the necessary depth, clarity, and authority to help us find our way." If we read the Bible and pray, God will speak to our hearts.

After reading this it all just kind of hit me. One of those moments where you know God is answering a question you have. I think I would have been so much less lost had I had a habit of praying and reading the Bible and spiritual books. I think that is the only place I could have gotten the clarity I was so searching for.

It may seem strange that I was so hung up on answering a question about something that took place years ago, but really up until I had Rose I was always trying to figure out what I wanted to do. The reason the question naturally faded to the background is because right now I really feel I am doing what God wants me to do right now - be the best mom I can be to Rose, and the best wife I can be to Matt. I don't know if I will get some sort of post-secondary schooling one day, but I'm going to try to come at it from a perspective of trying to discover what God wants for me, through prayer, the Bible, and spiritual books.

Before I leave, I just want to clarify that I am not saying all this as some wise person who has mastered her prayer life and is now at peace and asking all the right questions. I just wanted to write this post because I felt so excited to finally have some clarity about what I could have done better during that extremely confusing time in my life. It wasn't even that nobody told me all this at the time (in fact I know my Dad told me it many times), but it was just this past week that it all really sunk in for me. An answer to a question that I have been wondering for a long time.


  1. Such a good way to approach a difficult concept with ourselves and with our children! I think I want to read that book.