Faith vs. Finance/Family

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Since it’s graduation season, I thought this is a perfect time to make this post.

With Preston’s graduation being this past weekend, I can’t help but feel an array of feelings. I can’t help but be amazed by how well the deans, professors and administrators spoke of him. I can’t help but be in dismay by the university honors and awards he won in the fields of diversity and sociology. I can’t help but be set back by the news of what his fellow classmates are going to do post grad; job offers in D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. Talks of Graduate school acceptance letters from Stanford, Columbia and Harvard, Fulbright scholarships and study abroad opportunities galore. I can’t help but lowkey feel like trash as I compare my accomplishments to there’s. What makes things worse is that I struggle with three variables: where I want to be, where GOD wants me to be and where MY PARENTS want me to be.

I want to be where they are, in a mist of prestigious job offers and endless opportunities to excel. My parents want me to be where the glory is, with highly respected labels and abbreviations by my name. And for God, well I’m not really sure where He wants me to be yet. But the inner me hopes it’s a pleasant mix of the other two, to have a list of accomplishments read out about me, to be able to look at the world and say “ok let’s go”. Is that too much to ask for? Is wanting to prosper too much to expect? No, of course not. But it is too much to ask for someone else’s success since prosperity looks different on everyone.
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Feeling like trash (though understood) is unacceptable. To compare my beginning to someone else’s middle is ridiculous. To think that God wants what’s best for them and not me is preposterous. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. But what happens if you believe God’s plans for you puts you at a place where it’s hard to pay the bills? What if God’s plans for you don’t come with the titles and recognition that gives your family the opportunity to boast among their peers? What happens if God’s plans for you puts you in an area where YOU are SOMEONE ELSE’S only chance at a better life? What happens then? Which variable would we then choose to add to our equation?

Well for me, I can finally say that I choose to go down the path less traveled. I choose to live the life that faith has brought me to. I choose to stand on the scriptures that portray God as the good father, the fortress and refuge in times of trouble. Though it might sound crazy, I somehow find solace in the hands of He who created the heavens and the earth. I choose to put my trust in He who moves people from glory to glory. I choose to recognize that there was a point where I used to pray for the things that I have now. I choose to believe in the unbelievable and I want you to do the same too. But trust me, this mindset didn’t appear overnight. I’ve ignored God’s plans for me for a long time, but now i’ve seen with my own two eyes, what putting your plans in God’s hands can do.

I want you to look at the accomplishments of others as a glimpse of God’s goodness and be excited for what He has planned FOR YOU. I want you to dream the impossible, write it down and take it to the presence of God. I want you to get out of the boat and discover that the water is sturdier than you thought. I want you to believe again and to choose the will of your creator, the one who knew you before you were born, the one who set you apart and made a special path FOR YOU. I want you to walk it but not in the darkness, for the bible says that “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).” I want you to be comforted in knowing that no matter what people say, God is sovereign, His plans for you will come to pass and you will be recorded as Great. Who’s definition of Great you might ask? Not yours, not your mom’s, not your advisor’s, not your boss’ but HIS. No matter how much mommy and daddy invested in your education, sports equipment, dance recitals, etc, if God wants you to go a different direction, guess what, YOU’RE GOING TO END UP GOING IN THAT DIRECTION. No matter how much we try to push his plans for us aside trying to please others, HIS GRACE WILL EVENTUALLY BRING US TO THE PROMISE LAND, where we’ll be able to see the promises that he made to us manifest. Whether we want to delay our progress by ignoring His plans or not is up to us.

The topic of faith vs. finance/ family is a very relevant one. As new graduates, “what to do next” is your question. As people in the workforce, “am I where I am supposed to be” is probably your question. But despite whether you graduated yesterday, last year or five years ago; the struggle of faith vs. finance/family will always be a relevant one. But which of these variables currently has a big part in your life? How do we know that God’s plans for us won’t bring about the same results desired by the other two? We won’t really know unless we give it a chance and that in itself is a test of faith. But as you make the extremely difficult decision of whose plans to follow, remember this, like the clothes you wear on your body, success looks different on everyone. Just pray about which direction to follow and be open and willing to hear the answer.