This is the question that I dread. Every time I catch up with an old friend, or when an older person at church approaches me, or maybe when a visit from a family member is nearing, I know that it’s only a matter of time.
They shuffle over and shiftily look up, not quite making eye contact with me, unsure if they should proceed, but following through regardless.
“So,” they say: “What are you up to now?” I do recognise that my difficulty to answer said question doesn’t negate the fairness of asking it.
*DISCLAIMER: To anyone I know that’s reading this who may have asked in recent weeks or months, I still like you.*
I cringe and brace myself for what comes next.
First, a little background. Along with many of you, I graduated in July, leaving behind the ‘uni bubble’ and the obliviousness to real life that comes with it. Following my time at university, I worked as a Nanny, volunteered at a Christian camp and vacationed a little. Summer was great, busy and great. Once again, I put off real life as I didn’t have time nor the inclination to think about it. I listened to friends talking about the woes of job-searching, without fully understanding how it feels to spend a whole day filling out an application, only to face cold, hard rejection, or worse – radio silence.
It’s hard, really hard, and what I’m realising is that that’s OK – I’m a recovering optimist. I thoroughly enjoyed my course, was a part of a great church, loved the independence and freedom of living away from home and made incredible friends, some of whom I got to live with for three great years. If you enjoyed uni, then moving home will always be hard. Don’t get me wrong – Mum if you’re reading this – I have a wonderfully supportive family and I’m so thankful for that. On days where I spend the duration staring at the computer, willing myself to get a job, feeling overwhelmed by the boxes I must fill, I’m thankful for a loving home and the constant encouragement that comes with that.
But honestly I feel at peace that God has a plan for my life. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t ever worry or that I can be lazy and stop searching, but it does mean that I can hold fast to the truth that He is good through all things at all times. I’m trusting that He will shut the wrong doors and open the right ones for me to walk through. So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s OK if you don’t have the perfect job, or the answer to the impossible: “What next?” question you’re being asked. It’s OK not to know, and sometimes it takes courage and boldness to say I’m not sure what’s next for me, I’m figuring that out right now, but what I do know is that God is good and He is working in my waiting.
So next time we ask someone what’s next? Why don’t we follow that up with saying, I will pray for you that you find something and that you remain optimistic in the meantime. No matter how many times the world tells you that your worth is confined to a box, a tiny box that outlines your occupation, it isn’t true. I’m more and you’re more than a box, we just need to make sure to remember it.