Written By Sam Ly, Singapore
“What is your advice to people who do not know what they want to do with their lives yet?”
I was recently asked this question by a polytechnic student at my alma mater when I was there to share about getting into law school and studying law. My reply in short was this: It’s okay if you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid of uncertainty.
Let me explain.
In Singapore, one has to make the decision about what course to study either at the age of 17 (for those applying to polytechnic or the Institute of Technical Education) or 19, for those going to university. At this stage of our lives, most of us may not be entirely sure about what we like to do, or want to work as in the future. While we may pray and ask the Lord to tell us clearly what we ought to do with our lives, God doesn’t always give us a clear “calling”.
Was I crystal clear that it was God’s will for me to pursue a diploma in law? Certainly not at the beginning. Law was recommended to me on the simple basis that I was always a strong advocate of right and wrong. As I continued to grow in my relationship with the Lord and through my studies, God showed me—through conversations with other believers and my internship experiences—that I was suited for this area of work, and that my knowledge of the law could indeed be used for His kingdom. That’s when I continued to pursue a degree in law as well.
Am I now crystal clear that it is God’s will for me to become a lawyer? Certainly not either. While I know that I want to serve in the field of law, and have been working hard to ensure that my understanding of the law will be useful for His Kingdom work, I do not have full assurance that God wants me to become a lawyer for the rest of my working life. There are many things beyond my foresight and control which may lead me to reconsider the very question I started this article with: what am I to do with my life?
So, what am I actually clear about? Did I bring you around in circles just to tell you that we can never have clarity about how to live our lives?
No, certainly not. There is one thing I am crystal clear about and it’s this: my life ought to be spent in full seeking God’s kingdom first and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). While I may not be so sure about my “what”, I am sure about my “why”.
The world operates on a system that convinces us that our identity rests in what we do as a lawyer, an athlete, a pastor, etc. But I believe the true answer can be found if we are clear about who Jesus is and who we are. When Christ forms the core of our identity, we have the greatest reassurance of who we are and why we walk this earth. Our identity lies in being God’s children, and not in what we do.
To clarify, I am not advocating a nonchalant and lazy approach of merely waiting for opportunities and “signs” to drop from heaven. To a large extent, we still have to seek opportunities and put ourselves in places where we can understand more about ourselves. What I’m saying is this: the fear of not knowing what to do with our lives need not cripple us. In fact, our scramble to have everything in complete order may come from a heart that is seeking to wrestle with God for absolute control over our lives. That mad dash for grades, internships and other things in our “to-do” list may suggest that our actions are motivated by fears and desires instead of whole-hearted trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I may not be crystal clear about what I will do or how I will do it, but I am crystal clear about why I will do whatever God calls me to do. As long as I’m seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, I know that all these things shall be given to me (Matthew 6:33). So, fellow believers, may I encourage you not to fear seasons of uncertainty, for we surrender our lives (and our future) into the safe and trustworthy hands of God.