What do I do now?
That question came nipping at the heels of my reversion to the Faith. I had handed my life over to God, I was in communion with his church, and I was in a state of grace. But I still wasn’t sure of what exactly I was supposed to be doing.
Oh, sure, I knew that I ought to avoid sin and to love others, but I wanted answers—specific answers—ones that would tell me how I should be spending my time, what kind of career I should be pursuing, what volunteer activities to engage in. In short, I was preoccupied with discovering God’s plan for my life. Of course, at that time, I didn’t really understand what was meant by the term, but I was pretty darn certain that God does have a specific plan for each of us … right?
Searching for Answers
On one level, that’s absolutely true. God does have a plan, and it is good. But my mistake was to imagine that plan as more of a schedule, somehow expecting that, when I gave God my life, he would in turn hand me a step-by-step guide detailing what I was to do and when. I thought that I would prove myself a ‘good’ Christian by carrying out God’s plan with exact precision, but when that crystal-clear outline failed to become manifest, I felt I had no choice but to take it upon myself to find it.
As you might imagine, that became extremely stressful! With so many possible options available at every moment, and all of them morally good, how was I supposed to know what God had in store for me? Did he want me to be a teacher or a youth minister? Would I be better able to witness to him by volunteering at my church or at a local school? How about blogging? Or public speaking? Maybe I should write a book instead!
I felt like I was being spun around in a vortex, and in the chaos, I would ask again and again, “What do you want me to do?!” fearing all the while that I would make the wrong decision and spoil God’s perfect plan for me.
It’s Not Either, but Both
Thankfully, that’s not the way things work. The truth of the matter is, with the exception of mutually exclusive pairings where one option is defined as the absence of the other (such as good versus evil or hot versus cold), God has created this world to operate not on the principle of either/or, but rather, that of both/and. For example, Jesus was neither God nor man, but both in one being. The kingdom of God is both present event and a future occurrence. We are both physical and spiritual beings. The glass is both half-empty and half-full.
In much the same way, God’s plan is both static and dynamic. On the one hand, God’s plan for each and every one of us is our salvation. That will never change, so in the general sense, God’s plan can be said to be static. But God’s plan is also dynamic. Our Lord has blessed each individual with a unique set of traits, abilities, and gifts that can be used in a variety of ways to build the kingdom of God. He is not so much preoccupied with what we do as with why we do it—namely, for love of him.
Fr. Casey Cole outlines this principle nicely in his video entitled, Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
“I don’t think that there is a call from God to a specific career or path, that the only way that I can love God is to be a priest or a doctor or a teacher, and that everything else is against God’s will. This sort of narrow understanding misses the one essential call that we all have, which is to be a disciple of Christ. That is what God wants. That is what God wills.”
God Wants Us to Get Creative
Truly, one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon us is that of our free will. He has given us everything we need to be his disciples, but the specific ways in which we witness are left up to us to decide. It’s as though we are all artists, each with his or her own unique set of paints and brushes, and God, in his infinite love for us, allows us to work on a blank canvas—not a paint-by-number.
God isn’t an exacting taskmaster, but a loving father. As such, he allows us, his children, to present to him a masterpiece of our very own design, a piece of art never before seen and never to be repeated. We are not duty-bound to follow one specific path; no, we are given the divine go-ahead to get creative, to find unique ways to bring Christ to the world.
So relax! There are no wrong ways in which to love and serve the Lord. As long as we are motivated by love and remain open to God’s promptings, any career, any situation, and indeed, any activity can be used to bring glory to God. In the words of St. Paul:
“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”Colossians 3:17
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Isabella Bruno is a Catholic writer, blogger, and speaker who is head-over-heels in love with the Catholic Faith. You can find her online at isabellabruno.ca, where she shares inspirational love stories, highlights people pursuing their passions, and opens up about her own journey to love.