As of today, I have applied to Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, Texas. I have a visit scheduled for the 10th of January. And yet, I am sitting beside my Duke Divinity acceptance letter offering me a 75% merit scholarship. I’ve done a lot of work in the past few months. A lot of work trying to give things to God, taking them back from God, yelling out to God that I want to follow his lead, and dreaming without thinking about where the Lord could lead me.
Dallas sounds incredible. A new state that I could learn to love. A place to start over. A school where no one I know has gotten an education. A chance to dive into the women’s ministry group that I so desperately want to join. A time for growing and change and glamor. On the other hand, Duke is what I’ve been dreaming of for the last year. My granddad’s favorite team. The college that started in my hometown. Close to home, with familiar faces and new chances and opportunities.
For the past few weeks, I’ve completely dismissed Duke as the place that I’m supposed to be. It wasn’t glamorous enough for me, not enough of an adventure, and it is too close to home. My dream of attending Duke, after touring the Divinity school and feeling like I was at home, became second hand to a dream I have created of a place that I’ve never visited.
Here’s the problem, though: I have always been drawn to “glamorous” things. What I need is a good hit in the head with a book or something, because I’m sure that every single job and opportunity in life has some major downfalls. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” job or school or city. (Although in my eyes, Winston-Salem comes pretty close.) I wanted to be a writer for Southern Living or Garden & Gun so that I could travel all over the south, eat magnificent food, and stay in luxurious bed and breakfasts.
That was before I felt a call from God on my heart to pursue something different. Something so full of him that it could exceed anything I could dream of. John 10:10 says, “I came so that they could have life – indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (CEB). The Lord has promised me that He would give me the most incredible life I could imagine. Although, I have to remind myself that He didn’t promise me a life that I have dreamt about and designed myself. Instead, He has designed a life for me. One that surpasses all the expectations I have put on my own life and includes opportunities in the future for gifts I don’t even know right now that I possess.
For some reason, the past week and a half has been more calming to my heart and mind than the past six months. I have been fighting the sense that I’m supposed to attend Duke, but I know that the Lord is working there and going before me to prepare a way like He always does. I know that I have done nothing but pray, scream, and sing to Him asking Him to walk before me in my next steps. I have committed myself and my soul to the Lord. I have wiped my expectations from the next year and pleaded for God to help me to show up and make the next right step. Psalm 37:5,6 says, “Commit your way to the Lord! Trust him! He will act and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like high noon” (CEB).
I know that the Lord doesn’t want me to fulfill a glamorous life. That’s exactly the opposite of what I know in my heart I want. I want to be beside fellow Christians, breaking bread together and sipping from the same cup. I want to get my hands dirty in community gardens (work that I don’t actually enjoy in the moment), lead a room full of people in worship, and get to know the hearts and stories of an intergenerational community.
Today, I stand confident knowing that as I commit myself to the Lord, that He will shape my future. He will place opportunities, people, and places in my path that will allow me to walk alongside Him. God may not call me to what I think is “glamorous” work. But as long as I continue to love my God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself, I’ll learn that glamorous jobs aren’t the right ones anyways.