Written By Robyn Scott, USA
If we rewind to my high school years, my dream was to be a military pilot. It was a dream planted in me by my father. He wasn’t a pilot or even in the military, but we shared so many common interests, and watching planes was one of them.
For me, it was the extreme adventure. It was the opportunity to see places I’d never been and to go against the grain as a woman that excited me about this potential career.
I was on track as I went off to college and enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and majoring in Meteorology, my other passion.
I lasted one year in ROTC before dropping it.
Maybe it was the culture shock, homesickness, or the boyfriend back home, but I found myself wanting the opposite of what had me drawn to military life in the first place. I longed for familiarity. Being in ROTC required participation on weekends and evenings, while I just wanted to travel back home whenever I had the chance.
As my college years came to an end, my hopes for a career as a pilot or meteorologist were dwindling.
It seemed impossible to land an entry-level job in the Meteorology field. I decided in my last semester to give the pilot dream one last shot. I applied for Officer Training School with the Air Force. In the meantime, I moved back home.
Officer training school didn’t end up working out and I needed a job, so I started with a temporary hiring service. I found myself working with the Department of Social Services—exactly the opposite of where I thought I’d ever be.
I had always been a “behind the scenes person,” so working directly with people, indoors, and in a cubicle was a recipe for dissatisfaction.
I loathed my job. It wasn’t even that the job itself was that bad, but I had so much resentment and bitterness about all I had missed out on. My adventurous spirit that loved the outdoors and had a passion for weather felt like a distant memory.
I scrambled to find any job I could that was even remotely related to my college degree, but unfortunately was not successful in landing one.
I got married and stayed at my job in Social Services, but just couldn’t seem to find happiness in life.
After several years, I finally became so depressed that it affected my ability to work. One day, when I just couldn’t seem to take it any longer, I found a book in the backseat of my car that a coworker had given me. This book helped me realize that my resentment was holding me captive, but that Jesus actually means for me to enjoy life abundantly, and through His sacrifice, has freed me to do that (John 10:10).
I immediately prayed and started the process of giving God all my dissatisfactions regarding my career. I told Him all the things I felt like I’d missed out on in life.
He didn’t drop a fantastic new career in my lap, but He showed me how I could pray to Him when I was having a bad day at work and He would give me the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7) to endure.
Slowly, God began to show me areas that I was passionate about that I didn’t even realize before.
I was able to dig into these areas and find a new satisfaction. I always had loved to write, but God began to give me platforms to write that could be used for His kingdom, like newsletters for church. He showed me ways I could still tap into my adventurous side in the life I live now by hiking with family and friends. He also gave me a precious family, with whom I love spending time.
Now, I look back sometimes and know that had I taken the other route, the military pilot traveling the world, I would probably be wanting what I have now—a family, a place to call home, and stability.
Although I’m still working the same job that I never saw myself doing, God has blessed me and those I work with so much.
When I think back on the early years of my Social Services career, one prayer that I poured out to God was, “God, I don’t want a lot of money or a fancy title, I just want to work in a job that I’m passionate about.” At the time, I felt like I was asking for the right reasons and couldn’t understand why God didn’t answer my prayer the way I’d hoped.
I eventually learned that although I had genuine desires, I wasn’t praying for God’s purpose for my life. I was asking for a job to serve my own desires. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for the desires of our heart. But, the beauty of our omniscient God is that He tailors His provisions to each of us individually and in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
I realize now that I had been hinging my life’s happiness too much on earthly circumstances and not on God. If we seek happiness in a spouse, a job, or a house, we have to understand that those things can be lost. Relationships aren’t perfect, a job can change, and a house can be swept away. I needed to learn that true joy comes from God (Romans 14:17).
Had I gotten my dream job right after college, it may have enabled me to continue pursuing earthly joy rather than God’s eternal joy.
I still have moments of longing and dissatisfaction. I sometimes envision glimpses of “what could have been.” When those feelings begin to set in, I turn to the Scripture: “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4).
This verse reminds me that when I’m feeling dissatisfied, I should go to Him first and seek joy that comes from Him.
Not only will give me desires that He has placed in my heart, He’ll give me a platform to make those desires real in ways I couldn’t have imagined on my own. Because for me, satisfaction with my life didn’t come with a dream career, but came through having my eyes opened to see the goodness of where God has placed me right now, right where I am.