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Certainty in Uncertainty

(Written by Shelbi Johnson)


I turn 23 this month. 23. And I’m not exactly looking forward to it. I wish there was such a thing as freezing your age/appearance once you reach 21 and being set for life. Unfortunately there isn’t, and I’m forced to celebrate yet another year of accomplishment AND uncertainty.

While I did somehow manage to survive anatomy lab last semester and was able to turn my tassel in May, uncertainty about my future weighs heaviest on my mind. I’m supposed to know exactly what I want as far as my career goes. I’m supposed to be married with five kids by now. I’m supposed to know how to be a real-life adult. Oops.


I changed my major three times throughout my college career and I’m honestly surprised it stopped there… I’m probably the most indecisive person on planet earth.

%tags Overcoming Challenges First it was Biology because I thought I was going to go premed, which only lasted one semester. Then Communication Sciences and Disorders until I was rejected from the major…twice.

The first time, I shed a tear or two because I believed I was destined to be a speech pathologist and help little kids overcome speech impediments. The second time, I had been praying about it a lot and believed that if I got denied again, it was a sign that I needed to ask God for guidance on other career options.

That and the discovery that I don’t enjoy working with kids that directly (AKA them sneezing in my face)—after getting a job at the mall bungee jump—forced me to reconsider.

I found psych classes that explained human behavior to be extremely fascinating, so I officially switched to Psychology spring semester of my junior year. It seemed perfect because I’m that annoying person who loves to analyze and predict when it comes to people, situations, season finales, you name it.

I began shadowing and exploring different career options, mainly in the medical field because that’s the field both of my parents are in and all I’ve ever known. The only thing I was and still am certain of is that I want to help people.

But even therapies that weren’t that direct were too direct for me. I had a hard time deciding which population I preferred working with, what environment I would want to work in every single day for the rest of my life… basically everything was up in the air. While I was sure I was in the “correct” major this go around, I still was not certain about which career path to go down. And there are a bajillion options for psych majors.

I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to aspects of my life.

%tags Overcoming Challenges It’s a struggle that ties in with my anxiety. I get very anxious in new situations that I have limited to no control over or when just thinking about the unknown. Always have.

Thankfully, I’ve had my faith to help me through hard times and rejoice in the good. It’s not always the strongest when things don’t go my way but I’m slowly learning that my way isn’t always the best way.

It’s easy for me to recall Bible verses about anxiety like 1 Peter 5:6-7…

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

…but it’s not easy for me to actually apply this and just hand it all over.

When exactly is “ in due time” going to happen? Humbling myself enough to give up my sense of control?

Is that really necessary? Because I feel like I’ve got this.

In reality, I know NOTHING compared to Him. Absolutely nothing. I’m like a grain of sand, maybe even half a grain of sand, on an expansive beach that stretches infinitely for miles. I even had Proverbs 16:9 engraved on my class ring because I need it as a constant reminder: `

“In their hearts, humans plan their course but The Lord establishes their steps.”

Striving to be at the center of God’s plan does not mean that you don’t have control of your own destiny at all whatsoever. It simply means that you pray for guidance, that you look to Him when you’re at a crossroads. Or when you feel that annoying urge to turn around even when you think it’s a good idea to keep going down a certain path.

I think we’ve all been given gifts and abilities that correlate with what we’re passionate about, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to reach that end goal of success and true happiness by using them.

As much as it pains me to not know exactly what will happen later today or next week or next month when I should be set in a steady job, every struggle has a purpose.

Every situation I’ve been in, every person in my life so far, has a purpose. Even in struggle and pain, there is purpose. It prepares you for what is to come, for something bigger than what you can see. Just recently I read about struggle in my devotional:

%tags Overcoming Challenges “An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different.”

Regardless of what religious beliefs you may or may not hold, struggle is universal. While this particular struggle isn’t necessarily a traumatic one and mainly just frustrating, it still contributes in shaping me into the person I am meant to become.

I feel like I’m slowly figuring out my purpose through process of elimination and learning what I’m most passionate about. I have so many things that I want to do, it’s hard to boil it all down to just one job description.

I’ll get there eventually. I still worry about the future on a daily basis but I (personally) rest a little easier in this:

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

And when people ask me what my “big plans” are after graduation, I just smile and politely say, “It’s a surprise.”


Shelbi recently accepted a job working as a case manager for a non-profit.


 

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