What do you want to be when you grow up?
As a child, and later as a mom, this has been a frequent conversation-starter in my home. I personally wanted to be a psychiatrist but when we started exploring careers in school, I realized it would require a medical focus. I can't deal with blood so that dream was quickly dashed.
Like many from my generation, my parents were not able to afford for me to go away to college so the local community college was the logical choice, especially because I didn't have a particular passion or career in mind. I powered through the basics with little direction or thought, achieved an associate's degree and went to work.
It wasn't long before I figured out a bachelor's degree would take me farther in life and, through a series of events too long to explain here, I wound up pursuing legal studies. Not because I was passionate about the law but because I went into the guidance counselor's office and said, "I need a degree that requires no more math or science." Yep; this is how I made that life decision.
Come to find out my aversion to math and science was offset by my communication skills, which came in handy as a paralegal. After four years or so on that path, I decided to go back to school, maybe to be a lawyer, maybe not. Exploring my options, I landed on a master's program in public administration. Again, not because of my passion for non-profits or government management but because it was the path of least resistance and the school was convenient. Are you sensing a pattern here?
Hang in there. I am almost to my point. My love for a good story makes the background essential.
Today, I lead the communications team for Medi-Share, a non-profit (any coincidence there?) healthcare-sharing ministry. Part of my job includes ensuring our members clearly understand the Medi-Share guidelines or the "rules" of Medi-Share (oh look, more coincidence). So yes, both of my "randomly" acquired degrees play an integral part in my career. Go figure.
The missing part of this story is God. You see, I did not have a personal relationship with my heavenly Father when I made these decisions. There was no prayer, no waiting on the Lord for His direction and timing. There was just Dawn and her flesh, choosing the easy path.
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps" (Prov. 16:9, NIV).
This is one of my favorite stories of His faithfulness. Even when we aren't talking to Him, He has our back; directing our steps and gently nudging us in the way we should go. Even when we don't know what's best, He's there. Knowing us intimately, so much so that He not only knew where my aptitude was but He knew what skills I needed to fulfill His plan for my life, even when I did not.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jer. 29:11, NIV).
Rest in that for just a minute. You don't have to have it all figured out. God has a plan!
As I share this verse with others, I never say it lightly. There is such peace in knowing that even when you are not listening to Him or maybe getting ahead of yourself or just plain making decisions based on comfort, He's got you.
This year, I celebrated 20 years of working for Christian Care Ministry, serving the members of Medi-Share. When I started in 2001, I was a stay-at-home mom looking for a part-time gig and someone from church told me about this opportunity. I made outbound calls to interested Christians and answered their questions. I did not know at the time what God had planned for me or for Medi-Share for that matter.
When I began in 2001, Medi-Share had less than 50 employees and around 32,000 members. Healthcare-sharing was relatively unknown. Today, we have a team of 685+ employees, more than 400,000 members and more than 1.5 million Christians participate in healthcare-sharing. As the ministry celebrates 28 years of serving members this August, and as it has grown, so has my career and that education I "randomly" pursued? I use it daily. Who knew? God knew.
If you are worrying about your future, be still.
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10, NIV).
You have a heavenly Father who loves you, knows your future and is laying the groundwork for good things for His child.
"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matt. 6:27, NIV).
Prayerfully make your plans and prepare for your future, but trust God to lead and guide you in the way you should go. After all, your Father knows best.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Prov. 3:5-6, NIV).
Dawn Carroll has worked for Christian Care Ministry for 20 years, serving our members in her role as senior manager of communications. Dawn spends much of her free time in nature, searching for elusive birds and taking average iPhone pictures of alligators and stunning scenery to make all her friends jealous.
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