1996: I am born.
Okay, not that far back.
Forget normal careers like ballerina, veterinarian, or president. When I was a child, I wanted to be a paleontologist. That is, until I started learning about the Egyptians in history. After that, I wanted nothing more than to be an Archaeologist. I'm not sure if watching Indiana Jones fueled this passion or destroyed it (I'm not too keen on being run over by giant rocks, having my heart pulled from my chest, falling into train cars full of snakes, or meeting weird crystalline aliens).
As a child, I dictated stories to my parents. When I learned to write myself, I started writing "books," which consisted of paper stapled together. When I was about twelve, I decided that the only viable career option would be an author.
I started singing on our church worship team when I was fifteen and quickly decided that I was meant to be a worship leader. This was followed by the urge to become a youth leader so that I could reach out to the shy kids (like myself at the time) and make them feel like they belong and were loved.
The dream of becoming a youth leader lived for several years: up until August of 2014. That's when the hardest year-and-a-half of my life so far started.
Our only female youth leader in our mostly-female youth group left with her husband to pastor a church in Hawaii and no one stepped up to fill the void. Myself and one of the other girls in youth group decided to lead a girl's Bible study. I quickly discovered that I was not meant to be the friend-to-all, secret-keeper, shoulder-to-cry-on type of youth leader that I had dreamed of being. Some women are capable of being a mentor to many emotional teenagers at once. I am not. I probably could be if I dedicated my entire being to youth ministry; but if I did that, what would happen to my music and writing? That's the question I faced last August. After much thinking, I realized that I'm not meant to go into full-time ministry. At least, not in the foreseeable future.
This realization has been very hard to come to terms with.
After all, since I was fifteen, I had been planning on going into full-time ministry in some capacity. Also, I had to realize that "writer" isn't a less righteous career than "youth leader." God doesn't care whether I'm picking up trash for a living (*cough cough* what I'm doing now *cough cough*) or if I'm entering seminary to become the next Billy Graham. God only cares that I'm doing everything to the best of my ability for His glory (see Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:31).
I'm still reeling from the realization that I'm not meant to go into full-time ministry. If you'd asked me last September what the next year-and-a-half of my life would look like, I would have said: Get great grades in my AP classes, have a fantastic senior recital, have a fantastic graduation, and go to college in the Fall. Eventually, this would lead to having many great friends, amazing grades, a husband, some amazingly well-behaved and homeschooled children, and a house with a white picket fence (okay, maybe not... but it was quite utopian in my brain).
Without the goal of becoming a youth leader, my whole future fell apart. What was I supposed to do with my life? Write, perhaps, but I wasn't getting much of that done at the beginning of 2015. My two AP (Advanced Placement) courses and preparation for my senior recital were so exhausting that every spare moment was spent on either Netflix or Youtube. On Fridays, I had choir, and on Sundays, I had church, but other than that, I didn't really go out of the house. This fueled a feeling that has been a persistent fiend since I became a teenager: the feeling of aloneness. The feeling that I will never have a Frodo to my Sam, a Geordi to my Data, a Sherlock to my John; that I will never have someone who shares my interests, encourages my passions; someone that I can share intimate struggles with and who will have deep discussions with me; someone who will let me into their life as deeply as I want to let someone into mine.
This has been my secret dream since I was thirteen. After six years, I've still not made that deep, cerebral connection that I seek. I don't even know if that kind of closeness is possible. Maybe it's manufactured and exaggerated for entertainment purposes in movies, TV, books, and Youtube personalities.
An unclear direction in life, loneliness, and being swamped with studies led to some depression earlier this year. It still returns sometimes when I start thinking too closely about my life. I suppose it has reappeared a bit in the last few weeks. I finished my fantasy story, which left a void in my life. I've been filling that void with unproductive things. Every few hours I return to the same question: "What's next? Where can I go from here? What should I do?"
I have a list of options ranging from quitting my job to becoming a full-time writer/hermit to going on a mission trip. The most logical answer, however, would be to go to college. In college, I can learn more about God through Biblical studies (something I feel I need), learn more about subjects that interest me (music, music history, writing, literature), and maybe make those deep friendships that I've been longing for.
Only one problem: FEAR.
Most of the reason I didn't attend college this Fall was because I was scared. Scared to leave the protection of my family and friends. Scared to meet new people. Scared of bad grades. Scared of being an adult.
Most of the reason I am still shying away from college is because I am scared of all the above, and also researching colleges, visiting colleges, figuring out applications and scholarships, and retaking the SAT to see if I can get a higher math score. That's a lot of work and a lot of research that I have no clue how to even start doing!
So, what's next?
I don't know.
But I do know that the Bible says such things as:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13)
Surely someone who created my inmost being has a plan for me. I find comfort in that.
Here's an applicable Newsboys song to end this post: