A virtual small group for professional Christian women

If your 18-year-old self could give you any advice what would it be?

Hey everybody! How has your week been? 

This week I had the joy of bringing my cousin to visit my Alma Mater for a college tour!  I don’t know how many of you have revisited your schools in the context of a rising high school senior, but it was quite the experience.  For starters 9am is way too early when the university is nearly 3 hours away, but I had committed to being along for the ride, so I woke my butt up at 5am. While I consider myself to be an “all day person” my “all day” typically starts closer to 7 so it took a lot of coffee (and Jesus) to get me tour ready.  Driving up to the campus had the weird feeling of being both totally familiar and yet completely new. As we get to know each other better you’ll learn that my four years in college held some very important milestones in my life and all of the changes the school had experienced in the last seven years seemed to be a pretty accurate reflection of the change and growth in my own life. 

We drove up to the welcome center (another new addition) where they checked my cousin in, gave her a nametag, and asked her to sit in a small auditorium with a group of other teens and their assorted parents and siblings.  A kindly man showed up and thanked everyone for coming and for their interest in the school and then played a video. Ladies, I’m going to be honest with you this is where it got real for me. As some of you might know, I went to a Christian university and the video was all about how the school existed to help people find their calling and then prepare them so they could go out into the world and be on fire for Jesus in whatever they were doing. Then the video ended and our kindly host showed back up and talked about two former students and the amazing things that they had accomplished since graduation.  I sat there thinking that I had had that fire and passion once, that I had been driven to accomplish big goals, not just for myself but for the Kingdom. When had complacency set in? When had it become enough to take things one day at a time without a big God-sized vision for the future?   

Three years ago I quit teaching to pursue God’s calling on my life (that’s a post for another day), I had no back up plan, no clue what I was doing but I knew God’s hand was in it and I had faith that it would work out.  Fast-forward three years and I’m a full time graphic designer, a career I love and never thought I would be able to do. But here I am two years in and there isn’t any drive for the next step or any idea what God might be calling me to next.  I think we’ve all heard the question “what advice would you give your 18-year-old-self?” But let’s be honest, we can’t go back in time and unmake any of the decisions that we made and our 18-year-old selves don’t have fully functioning logical reasoning skills so they probably wouldn’t listen anyways.  The beauty of being 18 though is that you still have your whole life ahead of you, and not as much logical reasoning to hold you back. I felt like God was asking me in that moment “what advice would your 18-year-old self give you right now?” 

I asked the home group that question earlier this week and received answers like: “maybe you’re not going to be a professional writer, but you love writing so find a way to incorporate it into your life” and “view your classroom as your mission field, it’s not enough to be the teacher that the students feel comfortable with and can confide into it, do it for God and bring that kind of passion to work each day.”  For me I think it boils down to Ephesians 6:7 “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people,” and Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  I think that my 18-year-old self would tell me that when looking at taking my next steps career-wise the point isn’t what I’m going to be doing in my day-to-day but who I’m going to be doing it for. 

So, here is my question and challenge for you this week, whether you went to a four-year school, a two-year school, or jumped straight into the work force.  If your 18-year-old self could see your life now what advice would they give you? And then how can you apply that advice in your day-to-day life?

-Abby

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