On Careers

“Choices will continually be necessary and — let us not forget — possible. Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them.”
― Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline

I’m avoiding it – I’m avoiding it with house cleaning, and blog reading, and resume-writing…

In every way, choosing a job feels too permanent. As an idealist who has spent the past 18 years of in school, accepting “a job” sounds so dramatic, so foreign, like it should be met with waving banners and applause. School lets you dream, encouraging your mind to reach into that far corner of life of where you see yourself in 10, 15, 20 years. They don’t often ask: “Where do you see yourself next year?”

Well … until this year.

I’ve been asked that question nearly every day. I’ve answered firmly, decisively and passionately:  I want to serve, advocate for and counsel children with hearing loss and their families. But when it finally comes down to it … when the opportunity has been placed in my lap with glowing compliments and recommendations and delighted joy – the job I’ve spent 2 years imagining for myself is here … I’m frozen in indecision.

Is this what I wanted?

How can I possibly love God, serve Bryan, devote myself to giving children speech, language, & hearing, and keep myself focused and healthy?

“Choose that employment or calling …
in which you may be most serviceable to God.

Choose not that in which you may be most rich or honourable in the world.”
– Richard Baxter

I will tell you now, much of this current indecision deals with financial and emotional concerns rather than career uncertainties.

But, as I’ve mentioned here before, I can’t shake this debate we are faced with: What does it mean to have a career? What does it mean to be a speech-pathologist with a strong career? When will I stop being an idealist?

I’m reminded of my words from almost a year ago:

“I have plans for a career (whatever that means to you) – I’m paying for two years of graduate school and I’m thrilled for my CAREER as a Speech Pathologist. But I’m under no delusion that what I WANT for my life ends in “Speech Pathologist.” I’m certain God’s plan extends beyond that workspace. I’m currently pursuing something that fulfills me, that fills me with JOY. But I’m learning to let that die, realizing it’s not the most important thing about me. And if I ever “give it up,” that doesn’t mean I’m anti-feminist.

Or that I’m a “housewife,”
Or a mysogynist. Or whatever.” (Marriage + Me Woman. Me Powerful)

I don’t have my answer for you today, friends. I just have these thoughts and a paralyzing desire to do the right thing.

Will you be thinking and praying for me?
I PROMISE to let you know once the decision has been made. Bryan and I are talking, thinking, praying, wondering tonight.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
– John 5:30


5 thoughts on “On Careers

  1. Dear Shannon, I appreciate your comments and views on a very thought provoking life situation, However and whatever your decision, it is good to see, that your trust is in the LORD and HIS guidance will be correct for both,
    you & Bryan. May GOD richly bless both of you, for you are now ONE in
    this together. Love, PAPA

  2. Shan,

    Thanks for sharing…I had been wondering what was going on with this. Love the Elisabeth Elliot quote- I haven’t read Discipline but I have read one called “Gods guidance” (I think) and it’s making me want to read some more of her stuff. Anyways, I will definitely be thinking of you and praying, knowing God will do good with your decision and grow you (and Bryan) in the process. I am EXCITED to see what you do “next year” xoxo

    1. Hil – I know, I want to read Discipline now, too. I think reading it would certainly make me a more thoughtful person. Thank you for reading; I know it’s cliche but I do covet your prayers and any words of wisdom you might have. My decision is about moving to DC when Bryan might not yet be there. LOVE YOU MUCH!

  3. Definitely praying for you two! Deciding on a career is tough, especially when we sometimes still feel too young to be making such big decisions, but that’s the best part- we’re still SO young. What you do next year doesn’t define the rest of you life, and as you walk with the Lord, He’ll be placing opportunities for you and Bryan to excel in loving and serving. You’ve got BIG and EXCITING things ahead :)

    1. Em … thank you. I am trusting in Him and learning to even more so how to pray about this. I’ve sought advice from others in my field but I know trusting his will is most important.

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