As I was sitting in the USF Bookstore on Thursday, I thought back to what my life was like three years ago as a freshman. I remembered sitting in this exact spot, on the edge of the cafe and the shop, watching people walk by from all walks of life. I remembered thinking how oddly some of them dressed, how interestingly some carried themselves, and how funny some of their stories were. But in this reminiscing state, nothing made me smile more than when I thought about how different my life is now than when I started…
I know many of you have read this a thousand times, but bear with me. There’s a point to it all.
As a freshman, I was set on becoming a medical doctor…Dr. David Gaviria, sports medicine physician. I was going to be running my own private practice in North Carolina, working with professional athletes, have two kids, a beautiful wife, and a modern craftsman home on 2 acres in the mountains. I was going to drive my kids to school in a white Ford F-150 then pick them up for soccer practice in my grey Chevy Camaro. I had it all planned out, and I was assured life was going to be perfect.
Of course, like many college students, I realized I didn’t really like medicine and changed my major. So, a new dream came about…I was now a registered dietitian making 1/5 the salary of a sports medicine physician. I still lived in North Carolina with my wife and two kids, but I had a quarter-acre one-story fixer-upper craftsman and drove a used Toyota Tacoma in whatever color was the cheapest.
Again, that changed too, and now my future’s a little up in the air even though I graduate in a year. I’d even venture to say that I’m more confused now than when I started college. But, the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather be lost than doing something with my life that I don’t enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had a plan, but I know it’ll be okay. God has a plan for me, even if I don’t know exactly what it is yet.
I posted a quote on Facebook this Tuesday that definitely sums this up…
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
It’s so true. Life never really works out the way we want it to, but there’s a key phrase there…”it works out”. No matter what the situation is, no matter how bad life can get, it will always work itself out. I like to think that these challenges serve to teach us in one way or another. Sometimes, they teach us what not to do and other times they teach us what to do. Some might reveal a novel characteristic about ourselves and others may show us what traits we need to work on. Regardless, these hardships serve a purpose. They happen for a reason.
In those times, I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is listen to God, follow His cues, and make the next right decision. That is the formula for success because it doesn’t matter what I want in life…it matters what God put me on this earth to do. If I follow that formula, I’m sure I’ll figure out what that is. Most importantly, I’ll end up doing what I love because it’s what was intended for me. It’s what I was created to do.
It’s also important to realize that our purpose can change. God can use us for different reasons throughout life, and I think that’s important for everyone to remember, especially older adults. Maybe you are losing interest at work. It used to be your passion, but now you feel stagnant. Your interests have changed and you no longer feel purposeful in your position. Maybe that’s a sign you’ve served your purpose in that role, and it’s time to take your talents elsewhere.
I’ve found that whenever something major changes in our lives, we have a tendency to feel our previous works were in vain. We might say, “That was a waste of 3 years!” or “What a waste of time!” But was it? I’d venture to say that we always gain something from every chapter we move through. More often than not, those benefits might not become clear for several years, but they are there regardless.
Take me as an example. I took courses like organic chemistry and biochemistry because I was planning on becoming a dietitian. I even took public speaking because it was a prerequisite for certain programs. Going into psychology, I don’t need any of those courses or countless others that I took, but each one taught me something. In organic chemistry and biochemistry, I learned what truly difficult classes were like as well as how capable I am of succeeding if I lead with my heart and soul. Public speaking taught me how to speak to audiences effectively. I’d even say that it played a role in me starting this blog. But none of that was evident to me at the time. It took semesters to figure it out.
See, there’s always a diamond in the rough. Sometimes, we just need to dig deep to find it.
Here are our takeaways:
- Life is never going to go according to plan.
- The only person that knows where we’re going is God, so all we can do is listen to His cues and trust in Him.
- Life will change, but that doesn’t mean our past was in vain. It might take a little while for us to see the benefits.
- Rest assured, no matter where we are at, God will provide.
“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you now because you would not be able to live them.. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”