“Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude” – Therese Martin
Growing up, if I was sure of anything, it was that I wanted to be a doctor. When I was 8, the worries of getting good enough grades, finding money to survive university and slogging through 6 years of study (and then some) were non-existent. All I thought I needed was an uncle who was patient enough to lie down on the couch after Christmas lunch and “say, ‘Ahh’” for me whilst I pushed a pink plastic paddle pop stick down his throat.
When I was 8, the only thing stopping me from being a doctor was time.
But like it does for so many of us – life hit me with a few hard truths that dimmed the hopes and dreams little me had. I was no natural at maths, the costs just to apply for Medicine intimidated me and 6 years of university after 13 years of school sounded like a life-sentence. It seemed like all my flaws were just signs that I wasn’t good enough.
Throughout high school, any hope I had for becoming a doctor gradually dwindled into a “don’t-be-ridiculous” doubt. And eventually, I became ok with this. By 16, I’d decided my dream “wasn’t mean to be” before I’d even had a crack at it.
In discerning our vocation, we can find so much advice if we go looking for it. We can make the pros and cons lists, we can research, attend career days – you name it! They’re all great ways of learning what the world has to offer.
But knowledge of every career in the world won’t help you find your vocation if you don’t fully know yourself. It’s a necessity so simple that we often overlook until we ask the big question:
“What do I want to do with my life?”
And – more importantly – “What does God want me to do with my life?”
If I can say anything with confidence, it’s that putting these two questions together will save a lot of time and worry.
What did I want to do with my life? I wanted to be a doctor.
But none of that mattered if it wasn’t God’s will.
Granted, figuring out what God wants us to do doesn’t become any easy task – but deciding to discover it puts us miles ahead every time.
It was this realisation and a simple question that brought it all together and allowed me to know myself. Whilst sowing crops with my Dad one day, he asked me, “If nothing was holding you back, if you cast all the worries aside – what would you be? What’s your dream?”
Cliché, right? But the answer was on my lips before he could say, “AFL star!”
God doesn’t choose a vocation of pure hardship and disillusionment for us. He has a plan whereby, in facing obstacles and making sacrifices, we come out stronger in the end. He also has a lifestyle designed specifically for every one of us – designed for our enjoyment. Designed to help us thrive and be all we can. Because even when we don’t know ourselves – you can bet the one who made us does!
And so, over the course of a year, I surrendered it all; I worked to earn the money, studied to pass the entrance exam and prayed that if God wanted it to happen – it would.
It was terrifying to know that the day might come when I told people, “Yeh – I wasn’t good enough”.
It was much easier to accept that the day might come when I told people, “Yeh – it wasn’t God’s will.”
The end result? God brought me the grades I needed, He guided me through the pressure of my interview and steered me to where I am now… beginning my first year of Medical school.
The only thing stopping me from being a doctor now – is time.
It’s still intimidating, but it’s in our weaknesses that God is strong.
All He needs of us is to make our will His.
What His will? For us to be all we can through the gifts He’s given us and the dreams He’s inspired in us. In honestly pursuing that, God brings us to our vocation – He doesn’t expect us to find it on our own.
All He needs of us is that confidence a child has in their Father – a confidence that 8 year old me had a better hold of than 18 year old me.
All God needs of us? Is to simply surrender.
Elise is a first year Medical student in Sydney from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she burns water.