Pushing On Without a Plan.
On April 29th, I graduated from college. After four years of stress, frustration, joy, excitement, inquiry, and much, much more, I – along with 178 of my peers – completed my undergraduate degree. Together, we put a period (okay, maybe it was more like exclamation point) at the end of one chapter of our lives and began another.
Some, like Brian, had a job in their field waiting for them on the other side.
A few, like Donna, prepared to begin grad school almost immediately.
Maybe others, like me, walked across the stage feeling like they were already letting people down.
Let me explain . . .
For four years, I was the only woman in my major. I am one of the few women who have received an award at Johnson specifically for excellent preaching. I received encouragement that many women in my field at other universities never hear. Just a week before graduation, I was voted “Most Likely to Take Over the World” by my fellow seniors.
At nearly every step along the way, I was told big things are expected from me.
But when I walked across the stage on April 29th, I knew that exactly zero percent of the job I was starting the following week would involve my first love – preaching.
It may be completely in my head, but I can practically feel the pity emanating from people when I tell them about my new job.
And I hate it. To be perfectly honest, I am embarrassed by it.
I feel a lot of pressure to live up to the incredible things people have said about me throughout the past four years.
I feel a lot of pressure to figure out a game plan for achieving my dreams right away.
I feel like an incredibly high bar has been set for me and there are weights around my ankles keeping me firmly planted on the ground.
This season of transition has been one of difficulty and doubt, questions and fewer answers than I would prefer.
But it has also been a season of learning.
Learning that it’s okay not to have a detailed account of how I will become a preacher without working at a church. Learning that it’s okay to take a job that I’m good at, that pays what Jacob and I knew I needed to be paid to cover post-college expenses, and where I will be surrounded by people who are rooting for me until that plan does become clear.
Despite my desire to continue impressing people, I have come to believe that transitions are for the people walking through them, not the people watching.
I do not believe God cares about the human-defined bar I feel the need to meet. I think God cares more about my willingness to use this season of transition as a chance to grow, find my place, and prepare myself for what is to come.
Without a doubt, transitions can be clunky and awkward, but they are always rewarding when you get to the other side. I believe these “invisible years” are simply part of the path I must take to arrive at the place where my passions and the world’s needs meet.
So thanks for asking, but no, I’m not working at a church. No, I’m not sure how I will get the book deal I long for or if I will ever be paid to write at all. No, I will not be using my major from 8-5 on Monday through Friday for the foreseeable future.
But yes, I am pushing on. Yes, I am digging in. Yes, I am choosing to put in the work to sow seeds now so I can taste and see the goodness of the fruit later.
It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s the best one I’ve got. And I’m giving myself permission to believe that is perfectly okay.
If these feelings sound all too familiar to you, maybe you should give yourself permission to believe it, too.