Walking our Faith: Advice for grads and late bloomers
Walking our Faith
When I was a young girl, I wrote a story, and it gave me such great pleasure that at the time I wanted to be a writer. Yet when I got to college, I took the safe route, majored in business and went off to New York City and spent the next eight years in corporate finance, a job that by turns I enjoyed and filled me with dread on Sunday nights.
When I left New York to find a career that would give me a sense of passion and purpose, I briefly considered going to divinity school because of my interest in religion. But I also considered going to cooking school because of my interest in food.
In the end — after several years, including teaching overseas — I ended up getting my Master of Business Administration and going back into the business world in commercial real estate. Another job I enjoyed but that caused me anxiety because I am not a salesperson.
During these years, I began writing again. I discovered that questions about faith wove themselves into my novels and nonfiction. Four years ago, I began writing this column and finally realized that writing about faith was the passion and purpose I went in search of 25 years ago.
Yes, discovering our purpose and making a career of it sometimes entails years of hard work. And sometimes it’s not as lucrative as the job everyone else wanted you to take. But that is a choice only you can make.
This is what I want to share with you if you are heading off to college or if you’ve recently retired and realize you have many years ahead of you: now is the time to consider your passion and purpose. It’s never too early nor is it ever too late to become the person you’re meant to be, not the person others tell you you should be.
When we fit ourselves into a career that does not reflect our personality or our talent, we will be miserable and not very good at our jobs.
I’m asking you to think carefully about who you are and who you want to be and pursue that because that is where you will be the greatest service to our community and to our world. When what you do fills you with joy, you will share that joy with others. When you are using your God-given talent — and yes, I believe each of us has a talent that belongs only to us — that is when we become who God created us to be: our best self.
One of my favorite parables is that of the talents (money). Jesus explained that three men were given money for safekeeping by their boss. The first man invested the money and doubled it. The second man invested the money and earned a fair return. The third man was afraid of losing the money, so he buried it in the ground. Upon his return, the boss rewarded the first two men and admonished the third.
I’m not suggesting we will be punished for not using our God-given talents, but I am suggesting that the reward we receive in using our talents is pleasing to God because we are created with a purpose.
Some people know exactly what they want to do from a very young age and pursue that dream with single-minded confidence. Then there are others, like me: late bloomers who because we had families to raise or bills to pay or simply lacked the confidence to believe in our dreams, did not give ourselves permission to pursue our dream or perhaps did not recognize our true passion until later in life.
It’s never too late to pursue your dream. Perhaps it will look different now than it did when you were younger, but the only thing that is stopping you is your own willingness to begin.
Let this quote from St. Teresa of Avila inspire you to begin today: “For our Lord seeks and loves courageous souls. Let us not fail to reach our spiritual destiny because we have been too timid, too cautious in our desires, because we sought too little. It is true that I might stumble for trying to do too much too soon, but it is also certain that I will never succeed if I hope for too little, or out of fear of failing start not at all.”
When we pursue our purpose and passion, the reason we were put on this planet, when we are joyful and find joy in our work, our creativity honors our Creator and we move our world closer to the original intent of God’s good creation.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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