So really…”where to next?”

the QUEST to answer this guy's QUESTion

the QUEST to answer this guy's QUESTion

bobby posting:

I’ve been meaning to give this one a good crack for a long time.  It seems most of my friends (in their twenties) are dealing with the question my generation is knocking themselves out over:  “What am I supposed to do with my life?”  After reading Zach’s last post on where to go with his life, I thought the time and energy to type, type away would just magically appear and I’d get all my original thoughts off my chest about “work” and “our generation”.  Then I came across this article, which does a very fine job of laying out all my “original” thoughts out there for me.  The piece finally inspired me to put my own words down.

When our parents (most of us) graduated high school or college, they went straight into the work field.  They (generally) weren’t concerned with their passions or dreams.  They were concerned with making the rent, the car payment, the insurance, and the baby on the way.  They worked their butts off and laid out the foundation for us to do whatever the heck we wanted.  And that was the problem.  We do have too many options, don’t we?

We graduate college with the freedom to just move back home with mom and pops.  Then we can wake up every morning at 10am, grab a bowl of cereal, and spend the day “working” by sending emails and very selectively applying online for the jobs that we want to do.  And then when we get a job, we spend the whole time we’re “working” instead “self-analyzing” whether or not this is our calling or not.  We have a hard time putting our head down and pushing through the rigors of full-time employment.  After a year, we usually decide it’s time to switch to something else…or at least begin praying and dreaming of something else.  Something more effective to the Kingdom than what we’re already doing.  The reason I know all of this?  I fell right into all of it myself.  And my cereal of choice was Fruity Pebbles.

I don’t really know the remedy of this.  It seems our parent’s had it easier in some ways.  Picking where to eat lunch can be a hard decision for me.  Picking where to pack up and move across the country to for work…that’s like deciding where to eat dinner!  But the luxury of getting to decide where to eat lunch in the first place…the ability for us to choose our vocation and our future is really a gift, right?  Of course it is…if we choose it to be.

A theologian named Howard Thurman wrote, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” We don’t have to ask what our world needs.  Let’s say a collective “thank you” to our folks for that.  And I’ve always bought into the fact that we do need to ask what makes us come alive.  But we also need to be reminded that it’s not all about us.  As a wise counsel reminded me while I was writing this, “most of us have an entitlement issue.”  We feel like we should be more fulfilled than we are right now, no matter what we’re doing.  And yes, that even involves ministry at times.  But because we’ve been given the opportunity to do whatever the heck we want, we need to take advantage of it right?  We need to take advantage of the opportunity that God has laid in front of us today.  I learned that full-on while reading this really smart and really simple article a while back, which reminded me, in a Seussical kind of way, “wherever you go, there you are.”

Closer to home, my wise counsel posed another idea upon me that we should all be asking:  “How can I invest more significance and meaning into the work I’m doing currently?”  That’s right.  What you’re doing right now.  How can you glorify God (not yourself) with what you’re doing every single day?  Maybe it’s in pushing through something difficult, like Zach did when he hit the wall after the 20 mile mark in the marathon.  Or maybe it’s in sticking your head down, just like your parents did, and gutting it out.  Lastly, maybe it’s just in really listening to a coworker instead of listening for your phone to ring with God on the other line.

I don’t know what God’s calling you to do in your everday life.  But I do know this.  If God really does call in regard to something else, something bigger, pick up that phone and listen with everything you got.  You at least owe that to yourself.

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7 responses to “So really…”where to next?”

  • Charles

    I know Zach, and I know Adam, and I am very impressed with both of these men, but your posting makes me think I’m missing out by not knowing you as well. Bobby, this entry oozes with wisdom. I must say, biblical Daniel and his friends come to mind when I consider the writers of Via Chicago: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning . . . In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.” (Daniel 1). For me, “Via Chicago” is an oasis of wisdom, insight, and understanding on a sometimes congested information super highway. Here are men “qualified to serve in the king’s palace.”

  • zdillon

    Bobby,
    I was sitting with friends in my living room last night unable to hide the burdens that have been weighing on me. When asked, I couldn’t even quite put it into words beyond the fact that I am in a season where I am no longer in control, I’m looking for answers and not finding them. Reading your post put a feeling of calm across my heart. It made me intimately miss our prayer sessions in Bob. The quote from Howard Thurman spoke to me in a deep way. This mind set has been how I’ve made all my major decisions: to pursue music in college, to quit music, to go on a mission trip to the Philippines, to ask out a girl, to stay in Chicago, to work at World Vision, to play wiffleball at 1am the night before a major test. I believe I have been struggling to find the ‘answers’ because I have been asking the wrong question. Now to figure out what makes me come alive!!

  • ahschaechterle

    boy…those junior highers in little rock are a lucky bunch to have you and ames.

    for me, this was less of an inspiration than it was a CHALLENGE. i have been allowing myself to give less than my best at work because i have been daydreaming of fulfillment…

    thanks for the butt-kicking truth of your words. i will listen and accept the challenge.

  • Bobby

    thank you guys for the comments. i’m glad you guys read the challenge with “love” in mind. hope it helps…and i’m still waiting for charles to throw down on writing himself! dear heavens, his comments alone are filled with more depth and understanding than all of our posts put together!

    by the way: chocolate chex is a cereal…amy’s favorite of course.

  • Wenny

    i don’t know if you remember me from our pancake breakfasts before vineyard sundays but someone once gave me the link to your blog…anyways, this post was really great. it’s reassuring to know that i’m not the only person with these “what am i doing with my life thoughts.” I always felt bad because my parents definitely gave up their dreams and passions to make a living whereas i couldn’t bring myself to commit to a job that seemed so pointless. meanwhile, other co workers my age are driven by money and title which only accentuates the meaningless of working. After incorrectly reading Ecclesiastes, I was further discouraged, but your posting is a wake up call to living the present and serve God best wherever I may currently be. I hope all is well with you! (i’m sharing your blog with my friends if that’s ok with you)

  • PJ

    Hey Bobby, PJ here. Awesome article. Of course I fall into the category of your “parents”. It is hard to believe I am sooo old…ha.
    HEY my contribution to your article is this. YES we must figure out “what makes me come alive” but that must be tempered with a thorough understanding of what the Lord says in HIS book. The BOOK gives us direction is living LIFE. WE all must be constantly careful of the BIG “I”/”ME”. It is spiritually healthy to ask the question “what does the Lord want?” We all know this and struggle with how to balance what “I” want with what God “says”. He does not want us to be “ignorant” or without knowledge. HE has given us the gift of Free Will but like all gifts it comes with guidelines. I would suggest these. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” “Learn to be content in whatever situation you are in… (paraphrase)” “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…” Wisdom comes from exercising the Word of God in the power of the Spirit.
    So that is my quick “two cents” worth.
    Love you Bobby and am so very proud of you and Amy. Keep on keeping on. In Jesus Name! PJ

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