What do I want to do with my life? If I could capture the thirty-somethings in a single sentence, that would be it. Sure, we think about this question from time to time before we’re thirty, but it’s always with an air of optimistic ambition.
Mommy, I want to be a princess! I want to walk on the moon. Maybe I’ll be a doctor. Or a chef. Then college rolls around, and many of us choose a fascinating, but less-than-marketable major. Or we get that accounting degree and realize crunching numbers isn’t as fulfilling as we’d hoped. If somewhere along this journey we also get married, it only becomes more complicated. We may be one of the fortunate few who has found our niche in a field we love, while our spouse is the barista with a humanities degree.
What Does God Want?
One way or another, we find ourselves going through the motions with an irritating sense of dissatisfaction. What do I want to do with my life? The question is no longer dusted with optimism so much as frayed with panic. If you’re a Christian, you may phrase it a little differently: What does God want me to do with my life? We may know the biblical commands: He wants us to be holy, to love Him more than anything else, to make disciples of all nations. But specifically, what does He want me to do? How does He want me to fulfill His commands? As a godly engineer, missionary, piano teacher? How?
So emerge an array of different thirty-something approaches. There are the Plodders, who accept the fact that work and passion may not fit in the same sentence. They work in order to do the things they are passionate about. Then there are the Risk-Takers. They are the start-your-own-business, move-across-the-globe, take-a-year-off-and-write-that-book kind of people, who would rather try and fail than settle for ho-hum. There are the ADD Go-Getters who find a new career calling every thirty days. The In-Transitioners who live in a constant state of waiting—waiting for the kids to get a little older, the savings account to get a little heftier, the right door to swing open.
For the record, my husband and I have tried it all: faithfully plodding along at unexciting jobs, taking a life-changing risk that ended in spectacular failure, getting excited about a different “calling” every five minutes, and of course my least favorite of all—waiting.
Obviously, not every thirty-something has the same experience. There are thirty-somethings who live like fifty-somethings, with an enviable sense of “arrival.” Fulfilling job, comfortable mortgage, deep roots. I will confess, I’ve always longed for such a sense of establishment. To be settled. To be secure. But if you’re in a season of wandering, let me share one comfort I’ve learned to treasure: Wandering can be worshipful.