We owe it to the world and to ourselves to follow our dreams.
|Follow Your Dreams
By Marilyn Mackenzie
"There has never been another you. With no effort n your part you were born to be something very special and set apart. What you are going to do in appreciation of that gift is a decision only you can make." Dan Zadra
There has never been another me? Some who have known and loved me are probably thrilled at that statement.
I often wish that God had revealed to me as a child what I was supposed to be when I grew up, what I was supposed to make of my life. I never really had a calling, a longing in my heart to be something special for the world. I was always envious of others who knew from their early years just what they wanted to do and then pursued the education and experience to become what they desired.
I do remember wanting to be a teacher. I loved learning. And in spite of my shyness and inability to speak up in class, I wanted to share my love of learning with others. I loved reading too, and through the years I had some kind and encouraging words from teacher whom I wanted to copy. But alas, I was discouraged from pursuing a teaching career. Counselors told me that I was much too shy for that career. Still, as I entered college, I took classes that would benefit me if I ever felt brave enough to go against their wise counseling. I took child psychology right along with my business classes. I always thought there was a chance that I’d become a teacher one day.
In junior high, I took my turn at the podium in our youth group, giving a mini-sermon or devotional that I’d developed (with God’s guidance). Amazingly – to me and to my friends and leaders – God gave me the courage to do speak for Him and to enjoy doing so. I showed an interest in youth ministry. Alas, I was told that was a career for men. At the time, that was a correct statement. Most youth directors were men in the midst of seminary. They had no desire to be career youth leaders. It was just something they did on the way to becoming pastors. I always thought that was wrong. They had no particular interest in teens, and I wondered why it couldn’t be that the position of youth director could be one’s actual career goal, not just a stepping stone.
Perhaps if it had existed at the time, the position of children’s ministry leader might have been something to which a woman might have aspired. But back then, few moms worked outside the home, and they were recruited to work in children’s ministry as volunteers. We didn’t know then that soon most moms would work outside the home and wouldn’t be available to volunteer their time. We never imagined the world becoming as it exists today.
I wrote poetry and stories as a child and vocational tests showed skills in these areas. Alas, counselors told me that newspapers and TV and radio stations used mostly men as journalists and reporters. They told me that very few best selling authors were women. And they advised that if I enjoyed writing that I should continue writing as a hobby, but not pursue that as a viable income-producing career.
Looking back, I wonder why I wasn’t encouraged to study at least one of my interests or passions. After all, I wasn’t expected to really make a name for myself or to have a lifetime career. Back then, I was expected to attend college to look for a mate. I was expected to marry and have lots of babies.
God knew my interests and passions and gifts, though. Eventually, I was able to work as a sales trainer. I could teach and loved it! I wrote and developed all the training materials I used in my group. I loved preparing newsletters for my districts and region, and the sales representatives loved them as well. My writing skills and creativity were appreciated.
God has also allowed me to speak for Him as a speaker in the church. On a few occasions, I’ve asked to speak for pastors when they’ve had to be away. Numerous times I’ve been asked to give a children’s sermon, something I dearly love doing. And although I’ve not held paid ministry positions, I have gladly served as Christian education director, vacation Bible school director, Sunday school superintendent, even children’s choir director. I’ve worked side-by-side with several youth directors during my son’s teen years. Once in a while, I’ve bemoaned the fact that I wasn’t encouraged to pursue a career in one of these areas. But in days when I was supposed to be discovering career opportunities, none of us had a vision of what the world was to become – that women would be chosen as youth directors, or that they’d even become full time pastors.
Just a few years ago, I rediscovered my love of writing. I’ve sold articles to magazines and e-zines. And I’ve written articles for web sites that can’t afford to pay – sites on women’s issues, home schooling issues, parenting issues. God has allowed me to use my passions and my gifts in service to Him.
Today, I advise young people not to wait until they are 40 or 50 to find and pursue their passions. The world’s view about needing to study something that will earn us the largest fortune are wrong. People can be happy in their careers, and that’s a message I relate to young people quite often.
Each of us was born to be something special and we owe it to ourselves and to the world to discover early on where our gifts and passions lie. And we owe it to the world and to ourselves to follow our dreams.