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Saturday, 5 October 2013

"When are you getting a real job?"

Okay, so even though I've only just really settled here in Southend, a few people have asked lately (not unkindly but I guess slightly puzzled...) when I am finished up here with a hint of... "When are you getting a real job Becky?" in their voice. 
I get it though I do... I should be working in the city following a good degree from Durham University (which should really have been better of course had I not been distracted by church or welfare or Nightline). Or... I should have just graduated from Cambridge University as a secondary school teacher, had I not decided to 'bum about' with the church for a year after Uni. As a house last year, we girls discussed these expectations which we just weren't meeting, on a regular basis.
I understand that this is many peoples view of my current situation - working for a small church in Essex with children and young people, painting, and eating tonnes of sugar all day (I promise I do a lot more than that... most days). Many people do not see what I am doing as a legitimate long term pathway for life - that's okay. But I do wish my job would stop being seen as a 'gap year' before life begins, less than my potential, or less than my peers. 

For me, this is legitimate. This is exactly what I want to be doing right now (and for as long as until God calls me to something or somewhere else). I am an individual. So just as some people would completely hate what I am doing, and instead possess the necessary drive and ambition to work in the city improving the state of our societies government or finances, or the brains to study for years to be a medical doctor, or the compassion to work hard as a nurse etc... my current status (and yours!)... are all perfectly legitimate for us, as long as we are happy and fulfilled in what we do. Life is about growing into the whole person you are capable of being, not growing in to the person that society calculated that you should be. 

You see, our society, our parents, our schools, our friends, our systems, ourselves... like to put expectations on us (using for example our intellect ability), which determine where our lives should one day lead us to. Some people simply cannot meet those expectations, others have the capability to excel them but are believing the box they've been pigeonholed into, and some people just don't want to follow the route engineered for them in this way. I for one would like to choose my own path, and for me this comes through seeking out my calling from God, and through discovering what makes me happy. Whether I decide I want to reach for something 'well above my capabilities' (Luke 1:37), or work hard at something 'beneath me'... I will do it all for God's glory (Col 3:23) and I will strive to enjoy every minute. 

In the video found in this blog post, Alain de Botton tells us that a 'snob' is 'someone who uses a small part of you to come to a complete vision of who you are'. We should never let those around us look at our intellect, our social status, our wealth, or even our health; and subsequently tell us who we should be or worse... who we CAN be. You should and will be the person that God created you to be. Seek His path. The path that brings you a hope and a future (Jer 29:11). 

So by NO means am I saying that working in the city is not a path we should go down, or one which God will never call me to. On the contrary I think that God will soon be calling more and more people to those professions because there is so much need there in a whole host of ways. But what I am saying is that you need to stop worrying about what others EXPECT you to do. 
Start thinking about what YOU want to do. What will be fulfilling for YOUR life. What would use YOUR talents? What gifts God has given YOU that you could use for His glory? ...
And if the answer you find is a different one to what makes the most money or provides the most security... if it involves moving somewhere completely random like eh... Southend-on-sea... or if it messes up your "babies by 28" plan... So what?! Follow it! Be open to everything and attached to nothing. If you don't follow the path you know in your heart you are meant to be on, then you are going to be missing out on the exciting adventures God has for you. And, you are depriving the world of the work you could be doing. Don't choose the easy route of pleasing everybody else. At the end of the day, those who love you fully will just want you to be happy and for you to be YOU! 

So don't lose YOU in your search for acceptance by others. We will sadly always measure up to be a little less than some people had planned us to be... but you are so much more than what anyone else will ever see. Know that God sees all of you and all of your potential. You are good enough just the way you are, and have nothing to prove.

God Bless, Becky x

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