When I grow up…

I think I have figured out what I want to do in life.  I think.  I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty sure.  Also, I don’t think I’ll ever truly grow up or feel completely satisfied this side of heaven.

I’d like to feel excitement in what I do though.  While Chemistry entertains me, the monotony of the lab for an extrovert can be mind numbing.  I’m frequently told to find ways God is using me in my job to witness and glorify him.  This is usually from people who, while might be tired doing their job, enjoy it and look forward to it day-to-day.  This isn’t me.  I can go to work, but I really do it so because I have a roof I need to keep over my family’s head and the thought of being homeless terrifies me (unless I’m a nomad, but I’d still want a job to pay for mobile housing, fuel, and food).  Yes, I do it for the paycheck and I think I’m ready for more satisfaction from what I do than that.

I assessed what my true passions in life are: God, family, travel. I thought of ways I could incorporate all of these into a career.

I want to be a travel agent.  Yup, it is extremely stressful watching tickers change daily for air fees and such, but I am enthralled by it.  There is grave difficulty in finding the ‘perfect’ deal, but when you come across that rare, inexpensive gem, there is a sense of accomplishment.  Also, I could lead tours with a science and/or religious theme.  The mere thought of travel, even somebody else traveling, gets me excited.

Then I begin to tell people this passion, this desire with giddiness.  My dream is squandered by their ‘realism’.  “It doesn’t pay well enough”, “It’ll become routine and you’ll hate it”, “You can do that as a hobby while you pursue real careers”.

The American ‘Dream’ is to get married, buy a house, have kids.  However, most Americans, including myself, have a litany of complaints and their lives are characterized by venting, gossip, or grumbling.

I love my husband and daughter.  I am happy to have a cozy place to call home.  However, my heart yearns for more.  Maybe I’m not seeking God enough in the mundane, but there is a thrill in traveling for me that doesn’t seem to be eased in remaining stationary.  Also, life to me is more than making money and providing imagined needs (which if we are honest are 90% of the time wants) for my loved ones.

Travel allows you to meet different people, see intriguing sights, and gain more self-awareness through the journey.  When you overcome the fear of root establishment, static work, and predictable routines, you enter into the broken world filled with people desperately needing community, friendship, and hope.  Travel provides an opportunity to witness.  Yes, we can be missionaries in our own backyards, but we can often learn much more about ourselves, our relation to God, and our own need of repentance that we become better equipped (less judgmental typically) to share the gospel in a non-threatening way.

I’m tired of the American ideal that money is security.  I often feel bound to it…a prisoner of bills and expenses.  Money will not follow me to the grave.  Travel, on the other hand, puts me next to people I might not have otherwise associated with, allows me to foster community with individuals very different from myself, and makes for a life that impacts society eternally through the daily witness of the good news to un-reached peoples—Christ died and if we repent and trust him, than we can gain salvation.

I’m noticing that travel is a deep passion God has laid on my heart and if I stomp on this passion through stationary living and routine predictability, I am not using my passions to glorify God.  He wants me to go out and participate in the great commission.  That command will bring me to the USA and beyond.  To not pursue this seems contrary to the purposes God has for my life because he has embedded this passion so deep in my heart.

I have to stop listening to the audio reel that kids operate best with predictable routines, jobs that provide more money are better, and that travel is wasteful because you have nothing tangible to show for your adventures.  I’m not working for treasures moths can destroy, I’m supposed to be working for heavenly treasures and when did Americans begin to think, sometimes myself included, that heavenly treasures mean financial comfort?

Then again, would I think otherwise if I was on the road all the time? There I go again, listening to that soundtrack of impossibility, that success is a dollar sign, family is supported best with a steady 40+ hour job, and that what God wants is for me to have a morally good, stress-free life.  Although, is there an element of truth in this?

I’m so done with American prosperity teaching and the thought that I serve God best when I am living the American ‘dream’.  I want to live the godly commands, experience his promises through faithful obedience, and feel content knowing that as I pursue passions put in me for a reason, I might start becoming the person he wants me to be…and less of this perpetual adolescent constantly complaining, restlessly questioning, and frequently doubting.

Maybe one day, when I really grow up, I’ll understand the purposes for these passions, the reasons for push-back, and the complexities of uncertainty.

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2 Replies to “When I grow up…”

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling driven! It’s hard not to listen to the loud expectations all around us in our culture of things: you need money, you need things, you need a stable stationary life… But those things are not true for everyone. I read this post earlier today and I think you’ll like it: http://theartofsimple.net/lessons-from-worldwide-family-travel/

    Especially #2 and #5 in that post: “For some of us, it’s good to work for ourselves and set our own schedules. Other people thrive in a team environment with a supervisor and clear-cut expectations. Some families are at their best because they pour in to their neighborhood public school, while others flourish because of homeschooling. And still others take all this a year at a time, deciding what’s best for the whole family and its members within particular seasons (that’s us).”

  2. My thought on this is to find something you are passionate about and work that as a side job until the leap isn’t too great.

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