I recently graduated from college and am entering a new and scary place: the work force. There are so many things coming at me that I don’t know what to do and sometimes I’d just really like someone to tell me. Since I’m new on the scene, I’ve been soaking up advice like a sponge, hoping that any words of wisdom will help me navigate the strange place of the real world.
I received a book for graduation called The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives, by Katie Couric. Mainly, it’s just snidbits of advice from tons of different celebrities or people who’ve “made it” about courage, tenacity, perseverance, contribution, etc. It’s a cliche graduation gift, but I have definitely enjoyed it (anytime I can get advice from Beyoncé, I’m sold).
One theme I noticed throughout the advice was, “Do what you want” and, “Follow your heart.” While I agree with that to some degree, I was amazed at how many people had that mentality as the foundation of their thought processes. Sure, go on, dream big, change the world, you can do it, believing is achieving, never say never, carpe diem, blah, blah, blah, but for Christians there has to be a line there.
As Christians, we kind of forfeit our right to do whatever we want. We submit to a God that has plans for our lives that are often not ideal in our minds. When I am resistant to where God is leading me because it’s not what I want to do, I remember what Jesus prayed in Gethsemane: “‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.’” Crucifixion wasn’t Jesus’ first choice, but check out the next sentence: “Yet not as I will, but as you will,” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus didn’t follow his heart and just do what he wanted; instead he was obedient and “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Obedience is hard, and I am so far from being submissive to Christ, it’s embarrassing, but in the end selfless obedience leads us to the greatest joy.
Now, I’m not trying to kill your dreams. You want to make it big, set a lofty goal, or change the world? Go for it! Just make sure your plans are matching up with God’s. So here’s some advice to…well, myself, and you, if you want it (no pressure, though): Don’t follow your heart. Because there is a loving and wise God that has much better plans for us than what we want or what our hearts desire.