The question of the century!
I feel as if my answers differ from previous ones each time I tell someone what I would like to do next with my life. However, there is one thing that never ceases to change and, I pray, never will.
That thing is that God is in control of my life and He will probably place me somewhere I never imagined I’d be. (There has been crystal clear evidence of that in the past 3 years!)
Growing up, as a dancer with a future career in mind, people quickly assumed my answer to be “A professional ballerina!” when asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Up until I was 15, that assumption was correct.
I can remember feeling like my world had crumbled down to nothing, while at the same time felt as if something new was beginning when I quit pursuing my dreams of being a pro dancer. I didn’t know anything else. I had never played a sport. Since I was 3, I had been in ballet, tap, & jazz shoes, dancing to the beat of either Tchaikovsky or ‘Kool & The Gang’. My life was consumed with music, floor combinations, counting ‘5-6-7-8’ millions of times, costumes, & makeup. And I loved my life. But not with a good, godly attitude.
I loved the applause. I loved the way I felt on stage and off; I couldn’t get enough. I loved all the compliments that would motivate me to work up to some day being a principal dancer for a ballet company in NY or London.
But, that’s it. I only had a vision of entertaining others for self gain & receiving accolades from people. It was almost like an addiction, now that I look back. It wasn’t a source of worship to The Lord for me. At all. Even ministry type dances, when everyone else was “dancing for an audience of One”… I sure wasn’t. I was up there to show off all the blood, sweat, and tears I had put into making the number so inspiring & appealing. It drew me away from God. Even in considering taking a class or two, I can’t help but think about how I’m gonna impress the students and teacher. And I can’t thank Him enough for getting me out of that.
Sorry for my rambling, but I had to get that all out, because it influences my next paragraphs.
Like I said in the beginning, I wanted to be a pro ballerina when I grew up. Clearly, that path has taken a huge detour. But thank goodness it did.
The mission field was the last place in the church that I wanted anything to do with for as long as possible – until I wasn’t dancing, had no hobby, and didn’t know what to do to pass the time. I felt so empty. So, sophomore year, I prayed for The Lord to give me a new purpose & new direction for my life. To give me something that would make my time worth while – and boy, did He.
Long story short, that next year, summer of 2012, I was on a plane to Maai Mahiu, Kenya with my family, and a team of awesome people (you know who you are!) to minister to orphans & staff members at a children’s home.
I felt, before going for only 2 short weeks, that one day I would live there for an extended period of time. My mom advised me to at least see the place first, without jumping to the conclusion that that’d one day be a place I call home. But about 5 minutes after we landed in Nairobi on July 30, 2012, I knew I would love it and never want to leave.
We arrived back home in mid August (2012) and I already missed Kenya & the people I met there. So I assertively finished up school by November, prayed about a date & length of time I would be in Kenya for 2013, and on April 21st (my 18th bday) I was on my way, moving out to a third world country for about 5 months. (To see more about my time living in Kenya, go look at my blogs from Apr-Aug 2013)
On August 26th my family and I returned back to Texas. I was glad to see my friends, but sad that I wasn’t in Kenya. I missed it already. So much. Heck, I still do.
But what really killed me about coming home was the fact that I didn’t have any direction for the near future. My dad had work, my sisters had school, my mom schools my sisters & serves us so well at home. They all knew what they were coming back to, for the most part. I had no clue. I still don’t know exactly what next month will even look like; that’s what I miss about Kenya. I didn’t know what was gonna happen, but I knew The Lord was with me every step and I could feel Him near. I felt almost no pressure to “get my act together” or “figure out this thing called life”. Mostly everyone I talked to didn’t nag me about “what college I was gonna go to” or “what are you gonna major in”. No, it was as simple as “where do you feel God leading you right now?”. I mean, come on people, I know college is typically the “next step” in life after high school – but it doesn’t HAVE to be and honestly, it SHOULDN’T be.
I get it, we need doctors, teachers, physicians, lawyers, etc. But that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to follow in that path. Frankly, I think a gap year is healthy. You learn how to manage money, save, and spend before struggling to buy groceries while studying for finals. I’m not saying college is pointless, I’m just trying get outta the box of our American closed-mindedness and say there’s another way!
With all that said, for right now, I am a nanny & spiritual mentor to several girls at my church. I don’t have any idea of what the future holds, and that’s okay! I desire to go and do whatever God wants me to do when He wants me to do it, with a content & servant-like heart.
“You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.” -Deuteronomy 7:21