What do you want to be when you grow up?
Growing up, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Teaching was on my radar for a number of years, but at some point I switched gears to marketing. Although I wasn’t sure what a job in that industry might look like for me, I hoped it would lead me to what had become my ultimate focus, especially after college: I need to be a big deal.
I’m actually pretty uncomfortable in the spotlight, but for a few years I was extremely focused on being a “big deal”(I’m still not exactly sure what I meant when I said that, but I guess it sounded good? And it motivated me.). I’d finally left my hometown after 22 years and was ready for a fresh start! And that fresh start was just what I needed to get “there”.
To this day, I can’t tell you what I’d hoped for my career, other than a pretty strong desire to work high up for the Colorado Rockies. But IF that didn’t pan out, I really didn’t have a back up plan. (I’m laughing and also wincing as I write this. I was so young, naive and extremely cocky.) So, when I made some drastic life choices that affected my work and eventually brought me back to my hometown, I felt like a failure.
Starting over, again
So there I was, a college graduate, back home with mom and dad, working at the same cafe I did throughout high school and college. Pretty ego crushing. And all around me (at least from what I saw on Facebook) friends and acquaintances were really making something of their lives. Great jobs, grad school, getting married or having kids… everyone was on to something amazing. And it made my sad reality even harder to swallow.
*Of course I now know what I was seeing on social media wasn’t the whole truth. This social culture is good at making our lives appear much more glamorous/happy/social than may be true. But that’s a topic for another day…*
Those first few days were rough. I’d cross my fingers, hoping to get called in to work and if I did, I always said yes. This eventually allowed me earn enough money to move in with a friend. And before long, I worked enough to afford my own apartment! It appeared that my hometown was where God needed me to be (for now, I kept telling myself it was just for now). So now, how do I let go of the big things I had planned for my life? Or do I have to? Could I be a big deal here? Maybe… but surely not how life was at this point.
A change of heart
A few months into my new life in my old home, I started to see that I was always living in the future. The next day, the next week, 10 years down the road. Rarely did I just live in the moment. And this constant looking ahead was not working out well and I was crazy. Something needed to change.
During this time, I was also rekindling my relationship with God, so I began to ask Him to help me stay in today. He answered that prayer by keeping me on my toes! I started stepping outside of my shell began forming new relationships and rebuilding some of the old ones. These relationship kept me busy and I no longer had time to think about my future, let alone form a new plan for becoming a big deal.
Days turned into weeks and then into months. What I didn’t realize was that through this prayer and taking the next action He was guiding me to, my heart was changing. At some point, I started praying for the hopes and dreams of my future to align with God’s plans for me, but I had no idea what that would actually look like if and when it actually happened. And I was terrified of what His plan would be and if I’d really like it.
I AM a big deal
After about 6 months of praying for my heart to change, I was sharing my story to a group of like-minded young people and as I was speaking, I heard myself pour out what had been happening inside of me.
“All I wanted was to be somebody, you know because I need to be a big deal!”
As I continued sharing, it started to make sense. I heard myself say that there was a time in my life where I thought living a successful life meant that I was a big deal, people knew me, I was somebody. But as I started to live the life that was in front of me and began to build a relationship with God, I started including Him in with each of my decisions, both big and small. That evening, as I shared my story, it was clear how He’d changed my heart.
I am a big deal. I’m a big deal to the people who have included me in their lives. Not only my family, but also people who call me a friend because I’ve learned how to be a friend. And the best part, I am a big deal to The One who really matters.