I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.
As the school year draws to a close, and my final year of high school at that, there have been a lot of frantic nights, staying up late to get all the preparations in order, waking up early to the thoughts of, “What am I doing all of this for?”
I hit an almost-crisis point a few months back, struggling with the idea of staying in the English field forever, in favor of something exciting, something lifesaving, something so much more fulfilling than tapping away at a keyboard for hours on end, day after day.
But in all the busyness, the planning, the last-minute studying, I stopped writing.
And my soul felt drier than it had in a long, long time.
It’s that time of year when people feel they must ask every high school graduate, “What are your plans for the fall?” and we must answer with something seemingly satisfactory.
For a long time, my answer has been, “Continue doing college online, pursing an English degree.” But for the past few months, the words had been bitter in my mouth, and I kept hearing the angry voice of doubt creep in.
But what if an English degree doesn’t bring you the job you want, when you figure out what that is? And then, you’ll be stuck.
You may not want to write forever, and you don’t particularly enjoy editing – what if you build yourself a life you’ll grow to hate?
Writing – the way you do it, at least – isn’t a real job. You’ll never be happy writing for people you don’t know about things you could care less about. Give it up.
And then I’m back at the beginning again, scared and confused as ever, feeling totally inadequate and completely disoriented as to what I truly want to be doing.
But there’s something about this period in my life, and the past words of someone I respect playing softly in my head – “Do what makes you feel alive.”
And as these months have gone on, I realize that I’ve been significantly missing out on that feeling of being alive, and instead trading it for the cheap feeling of lifelessness, a laziness in passion, in purpose, in direction.
And the reason for that, I’ve come to believe, isn’t because I haven’t yet found “that thing” that will fulfill all my dreams and desires, some to-be-discovered career that will fill me with determination and hope.
It’s my neglect for doing what I know God has given me to do – writing – and my disregard for treating each day like one in which to live the fullest life I can.
People still ask what my plans for the fall are.
And to be honest, a lot of times, I want to answer, “I just don’t know.” Besides school, what will I be doing? Who will I be with? Where will I find my drive, my motivation, to press on and move forward another day? What will I be working toward?
I’m not sure.
But what I do know is this – I have faith in the God who holds my future that He’ll lead me to the right places for each day.
I trust that He knows what He is doing as He leads me from place to place, from project to project, from one adventure to another.
I trust that what He put inside of me – the ache to write, the inclination to put words onto a page, breathing life into them, whatever that is that causes me to feel so alive and free – I trust that He put that there with a purpose, and that it isn’t all for nothing.
Sometimes it’s really, really difficult to make myself sit down and write, even though I know it’s “my” thing, what I feel connects me to my most whole, authentic self.
Other days, it takes absolutely everything in me to get myself to do my coursework, even though I know this is the path I’ve chosen, and I’m doing what’s right for me.
But I think that’s a big part of the journey – pressing on when it’s difficult, painful, even, because we know that what we’re doing is both good for us and adds a wholeness and purpose to our everyday life that we can’t get from browsing social media or watching Netflix.
Doing what’s right for today, living freely and fully in every little moment, using those gifts that God has clearly given us – that’s what we pursue. When the goal is money, or happiness, or a life we love someday, somewhere, somehow – we’ll never be content right here. We’ll keep missing what’s right for right now, in favor of dreaming of a life we’ll never arrive at – because that life starts now.
That life begins with the boring coursework, or the tedious commitments, the sitting down to persistently accomplish a goal, using those gifts that we can’t help but acknowledge as gifts from God.
Remembering to truly live is keeping me sane these days, when the to-do list is long and the days are short.
Taking the time to sit, to write, to etch out thoughts and remind myself why I’m living is so healthy, so helpful for me, that I won’t forget why I’m here, or why I’m doing all this.
Each moment is a gift, and every talent, fondness, or pleasure we find in something isn’t to be taken for granted. There’s purpose to be found in every aspect of life – not just on the exciting days, on the grand adventures, great discoveries, and big achievements – but here. Now. Just as we are, right where we are, today.