Do you remember what your childhood dreams were? I can only remember two well. I wanted to be a doctor, usually a vet, and I wanted to have a lot of kids. As I grew up I pursued hard after the first dream, because it was the one that everyone cheered on. I made straight A's, took hard classes, and did everything I could to build up a great background. In my attempt to fulfill Dream #1, I pushed Dream #2 to the side and said I would volunteer at a few orphanages or something (which I did).
When I started dating Bryan my senior year of high school, everything got confusing. I had always known what I wanted and how to get there. Now, I knew I wanted to get married and have kids one day, and I didn't want to spend so many years waiting to go through med school and beyond. I switched out the dream for a nursing career- feeling sure that such a deep desire was of God. I prayed about it constantly and asked to know His will. When I had flareups of unexplainable latex allergies and became depressed and constantly stressed, they were just obstacles- not answers that maybe I was going the wrong way. I trudged through nursing school and graduated in the top of my class. I planned to take a year off from school before heading back to become a nurse practitioner. I even talked about returning to med school.
I hated working as a nurse, but I loved mothering the kids I took care of. I remember standing on our front porch one day and realizing... I'd wasted 5 years of my life pursuing a career that I was miserable in and feeling stuck. I prayed for God to give me a way out. You know you have hit rock bottom when you become jealous of the cashiers at Walmart and wish you were one of them.
The way God delivered me wasn't in the way I would have chosen. We unexpectedly got pregnant, and I miscarried with complications shortly after. Bryan was called to be a pastor here on the Coast, and I looked for a job where I could use my nursing skills without going back into the stress of the hospital world. I became the nurse manager at a pregnancy crisis center and was pregnant again within a few months. When the stress of the job made my body start having the tell tale signs of miscarrying, I resigned and chose family over career.
I wish I could say that at that point I never had doubts or that God gave me a pat on the back in a dream. It's just not true. It has taken almost 3 years to look back and understand what God was doing. For most of my life I was so busy pursuing my "dream," "my calling", "my heart" that I missed it all. I was jealous of people who were living the kind of life God was ready to give me. I wish someone had told me to pursue joy in Christ over a dream. We are not living out our calling if we are always unhappy- we have probably missed it.
The funny thing is that Dream #1 never completely died. I still like medicine and think being a doctor would be cool. It just won't make me happy. I'm still praying about Dream #2, but it may never happen. We have had more miscarriages than successful pregnancies, and we don't have the funds to adopt at this point in our life.
In the end, following my dreams, even good ones, doesn't satisfy. Only Jesus does.
If you hear someone telling you to follow your heart, be careful. It doesn't always lead where it should. Follow Jesus. Only He knows what you really want in the end.
- Posted by Anna using BlogPress from my iPad