I’m a planner. I need to have a plan for every little detail or I get stressed. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on. Scheduling things relaxes me. So as you can imagine, as a senior in high school with many changes on my horizon, this past year has been a bit stressful.
What I Thought I Wanted...
Ever since I was young, I’ve had an incredible urge to be famous. I masked that idea by a “dream” to become an actress or singer. I am no actress, I’ve never acted once in my life. But I thought it was my ticket to fame and success.
So I grew this idea inside me for years, promising myself that my intense desire for fame was acceptable. But when I really looked inside myself, I felt trapped. I felt that I couldn’t do anything that wouldn’t attribute to my fame.
It may seem that I didn’t care about what God’s plan for me was, but I actually did. I prayed long and hard about it day after day. But what I realized later was that I wasn’t praying for His plan, I was praying that He would validate my plan. Although all I wanted was to follow His plan for my life, I was subconsciously refusing to let go of my plan.
Seeking What God Wants
During my Spring Semester of senior year, I only considered majors that I believed would lead me to stardom. Not inherently bad majors, but majors that didn't interest me. But I believed they would lead me to fame.
The more I looked at majors and tried to figure out careers, the more lost I felt. I felt like I had to figure out every detail of my life and it was driving me insane.
All the while, I was praying so hard, begging God to reveal His plan to me. At this time, I was also increasing my prayer life. By increasing my prayer life by reading more Scripture, trying to attend daily Mass, and truly being present in Mass, I began to feel more peaceful. But my heart was still in turmoil when it came to the future. It came to the point that, during Holy Week, I felt so lost and unmotivated and scared. I would break down at the mere thought of the future.
What is YOUR Plan, Lord?
As Holy Week went on, I felt more lost and more frustrated with every passing moment. I became frustrated with God. I had been praying for months for the Lord to reveal His plan to me, but He hadn’t. Or so I thought. When I asked the Lord to show me His plan, I still held fast to my strict plan for the future. I was frustrated that the Lord wasn’t signing off on my plan.
On Easter day, I realized something that changed the way I had thought about and planned for the future for over twelve years. I realized that the Lord had been showing me parts of His plan for me for months, but I had been pushing them away. I wanted so badly to be this famous actress, yet no doors opened for me, even when I tried so hard. It seemed that every time an opportunity seemed to arise for this, it was shut down.
For about three months, I have had the opportunity to work with a startup on a marketing internship, an opportunity that almost fell into my lap. Throughout my internship I excelled in marketing, growing the company’s social media presence. And I had fun doing it. But I never considered that for a career because it didn’t follow my plan for becoming famous.
God's Plan is for Us to Flourish
On Easter Sunday I realized that I do not need to be famous. That is not success, and it does not always correlate with happiness. I knew that concept for years, but I couldn’t truly grasp it until this breakthrough.
After this simple yet life-changing realization, I felt freedom like I never felt before. I saw afresh all of the different opportunities I had in my life. I finally took a step back and looked and my talents and interests and realized that I had been so wrong. God had been so right. I had been begging Him to show me His plan for me, and He had all along. It was just different than my own plan.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re following God’s plan for you, you know the utter peace and excitement for the future that comes along with it. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do in my career, but that’s ok because I know what I don’t want to be. With the Lord by my side, the world is my oyster.
Have you ever struggled with knowing God's plan for your life? How did you discern His will?
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Mary Burke is currently a senior in high school who loves coffee, the outdoors, and anything creative. You can find out more about her here.