I remember sitting in my high school’s college/career room on an outdated computer, taking a personality test that was supposed to match me with my perfect career.
I think a few of my results were counselor, salesman, social worker, and something random like a farmer.
Farmer? I’d never even owned a pet. And I was pretty sure I was allergic to hay.
Quite frankly, I was just hoping “Princess” would show up on the results.
Wondering if my peers felt as confused as I did, I looked around the room blankly hoping the bell would hurry up and ring.
There was a ton of pressure early on to know what you wanted to spend your life doing. The subtle message has always been something along the lines of “find the perfect career for you and you’ll be happy.”
I think there’s a fair amount of truth to that. It’s possible to love what you do, and in that find some happiness.
But lately I’ve been thinking…what the heck is “happiness” anyway?
I’m happy when I eat fro-yo with all the bad toppings (in the moment anyway).
I’m happy when I’m laughing with a friend.
But am I always happy with what I’m doing and where I am? No.
Lots of small moments make me happy. But there’s a difference between happiness and fulfillment, and they don’t always go hand in hand.
There’s this idea that sneaks into my mind that I’ll find “all of me” in my perfect-for-me life plan. I get these thoughts lodged in my mind that are small, but build up over time. And eventually they become a driving force that keeps me expecting to feel like “this is it!” once I’ve got the perfect job figured out, the right relationships in my life, and that ideal community around me.
Whether I realize it or not, I begin to look for fulfillment in the world I invest in, and I’m thrown off each time that “all of me” isn’t found.
Don’t get me wrong; I think friendships, family, jobs, & hobbies are all important aspects of life that are intended to add to our happiness and sense of belonging. They’re a big part of who we are.
But there’s a reason why that empty “there must be something more” feeling settles in at times. It alerts me to the fact that I’ve been placing an expectation on whatever it is that is currently failing me, to be all I need.
I could give farming a shot. Heck, maybe I’m just missing my calling!
But something tells me that even if all my corn popped up in rows, and I made the best pies around town, complete fulfillment would still elude me at times.
If I’m looking to that which is temporary to fulfill me, I’ll be searching forever. We were made for eternity; life with our Creator who designed us for His purposes. Jesus was in the world, but not of the world. As His child, the same becomes true of me.
To be happy is a wonderful thing. I love when I’m happy and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope my life would be full of it. But the notion that happiness can be found at all times, if we try hard enough, because we deserve it, is a brilliant lie.
A lie I don’t want to waste time chasing.
But I do want His purpose for me. And finding exactly what that looks like, seems to be a journey. As I seek it, I believe enough contentment to get me through today can & will be given.
I’d really like to write a letter to the creator of that personality career test I took in high school, and say something like:
“Thank you for your creativity, but a girl who can’t handle earth worms, the odor of livestock, or summer tornado storms, really isn’t cut out for farming. I appreciate your faith in me, but keep trying.”