I’m writing this week’s blog entry from the rolling hills of Wilmore, Kentucky. I’m here with my daughter, who is knee-deep (or, maybe, neck-deep) in the process of considering where she wants to go to college next year, and what she wants to study. Today’s college visit has brought us to Asbury University in Wilmore.
It’s a tough choice for a high school senior, deciding where to go and what to study. (Heck, it’s not easy for us parents, either.) With your whole life ahead of you, it’s hard to answer some really big questions at the young age of 18. So, who knows where she will end up – or what she will study. Big questions, with answers still to come.
But, as big as those questions are, I think they are less important than an even bigger one. See, there’s the What should I be? question, and then there’s the What should I BE? question. The first asks questions about job titles and employers and how I want to make money. The second asks questions of identity and purpose and mission. The first can tell me what I am doing; the second tells me why.
God cares about the first question, for sure. But I think God cares more about the second. Where my daughter goes to school, the degree she pursues, and the place she will ultimately work – those matter. It’s just that the second question matters more.
The most important thing I can do for my kids is not: get them into a good college or career. The most important thing I can do for my kids is help them know who they are. If they know that, they will be able to choose – with joy and purpose – how to answer question #1. Giving my kids a sense of identity (I am a follower of Jesus) and purpose (I choose to love God, & love others) will then lead them to live a life on mission. And mission can be lived out in all kinds of places, in all kinds of careers, with all kinds of job titles.
So, Ruthie: Keep learning. And exploring. And dreaming. But most of all, keep listening: To the direction of God, as He calls you by name. And reminds you who you are, and who you are called to be.
And this postscript: If you’re open to exploring how God might use you where you are, consider spending some time at this year’s ICOM (International Conference on Missions). It meets in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov 17-20, and is geared to help ALL kinds of people from ALL walks of life explore ways God wants to use them (read: you) to follow Jesus, and help others do the same. Learn more at theicom.org.