My entire life I have been known to be a huge planner. My senior year of high school I had a ten year plan that was flawless. I was going to go to John Carroll University to pursue Marketing and live happily ever after in my perfect home in Cleveland with a big corporate job, husband, 2.5 kids, and probably a dog. Well, that plan was wrecked before I even graduated.
When you are an undergraduate student there is immense pressure to have the perfect summer internship experience to build up your resume (otherwise you are never going to get a job and end up living with your parents forever). This summer I had an internship lined up in Louisville, Kentucky serving Jesus in the front lines of southern education reform. Ministry and education in a new place with new people, what could be better? But the Lord quickly and clearly shut those doors.
For the past few months I have avidly been looking into traveling the world as a missionary for several months after graduation. Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, the works. But every time I open my bible, every conversation with someone I trust, and every google search on the particular organization makes it a clear no.
So if you can’t tell where this is going, I’ve been pretty stubborn to give into God’s plans for my life for a while now. I would be lying if I said there has been an endless amount of FOMO in each of those lessons. But, closed door after closed door, have ultimately led me to a place in my life where I have never been more full of joy. God loves the stubborn people of this world too.
My nature simply craves new experiences. I always just want to go go go, experience the unknown, dive deep, and do something that terrifies me. My biggest fear is that by living safe, I am missing out on my twenties. But, I have humbly been reminded over and over again this summer that we can’t miss out on God’s ultimate plan for our lives, one way or another he will get us there.
When John Carroll didn’t work out, Grove City did. As I enter my senior year I can’t even imagine the person I would be today if it weren’t for the professors that pushed me, friends that loved me, and every single person over the course of my past three years there that encouraged me in my relationship with Christ. School #1 definitely would have been a different lifestyle and I am so confident that it is only by God’s perfect plan that I am where I am today. You can’t make this stuff up. I’m getting my Masters in Social Work (far from corporate America) and I’m not married with 2.5 kids and a dog. I would encourage you to be so patient and prayerful in that decision and figure out who you are first before you bring another human being into your beautiful hot mess. When the rest of your friends are getting engaged and married, breathe, trust in His timing, and rejoice in their happiness alongside them.
When my Kentucky internship didn’t work out, the Lord opened up an opportunity for ministry in my hometown. For years, I have constantly been trying to run away from this area and been blinded in my pursuit of ministry here. But, the Lord has opened my eyes wide and allowed me to teach dozens of children about Jesus every single week. I’ve had the opportunity to go into the schools in the city and talk about Jesus with kids who have never heard of him before. I’ve made connections with my old school district in an effort to bring an ounce of Jesus there. I have had conversations with and started reading the Bible with friends I’ve been praying for almost a decade. I have spent more time with my family than I ever have before. As much as I thought this was the last place I wanted to be this summer, it is so clear in hindsight that this is where God had planned for me to be. My FOMO of Kentucky living would have stopped me from serving God and having countless Christ-centered conversations back at home.
When my research didn’t measure up for my yearlong gap year mission trip I found peace in the truth that there is mission to be done at home. People need Jesus all around us. If/when the Lord calls me to the mission field for however long that may be it will be where and when He has in store. But for now, I have found comfort in the knowledge that I am not missing out on God’s plan for my life just because I’m not moving to Thailand.
Friends, the fear of missing out on things behind our closed doors is real. All I have to say is thank you Lord for not allowing my stubbornness and FOMO from interfering with your 10,000x better plan for my life. I want to encourage you today, if God closes a door in our life to trust that you aren’t missing out but he has something so much better in the next open door.