What do I do when I don’t want to be where I am?

“What do I do when I don’t want to be where I am? This has been a constant struggle for me the past two years of college. Don’t get my wrong, I absolutely LOVE college, but I have a constant nagging my heart and longing for something else. My dream i stop work internationally, supporting kids in the mission field. When I start thinking about those plans, I lose sight of my present and only wish for the next chapter of life to start. I want to enjoy these college years but I struggle feeling like I’m not doing what I was made to do. How do I develop my dreams at the same time as I fully invest in the present?”
First of all, you’re amazing. The fact that you know what you want to do post-college is more rare than you think. A lot of us wander aimlessly towards graduation day with no defined ambitions.  So, though your ambitions cause you to struggle today, remind yourself that it’s a gift you know what you want to do with your life! Now, I know when you have ambitions to change the world, pour into others, serve selflessly, and so on, it can make the here-and-now (in your case: comfortable, fun, easy going college times) seem like a waste.  But, I’m here to tell you, nothing is ever a waste with God.  He always has intentionality and purpose in everything we do. One of my favorite quotes from Charles Swindoll (Esther: A Woman of Dignity & Strength, p. 38):
Whether you see Him or not, He is at work in your life this very moment. God specializes in turning the mundane into the meaningful. God not only moves in unusual ways, He also moves on uneventful days. He is just as involved in the mundane events as He is in the miraculous. One of my longtime friends, Howie Stevenson, often says with a smile, “God moves among the casseroles.”
There are times in my life that I have clung to those words, because, let’s be honest, a lot of life is more like a casserole than a 9-course, decadent, gourmet meal.  Do we get to experience those decadent meals at times? Absolutely.  I am a huge adventure-seeker and risk taker. I want every day to be filled with rich meaning and to feel like I have done something significant every day.  And I do get those days, but a lot more of my days are casseroles.  Nothing special or extraordinary on the outside, but God is still using every moment in the those days—to make me more like Him, to work in other people’s lives, and more. A friend reminded me recently of a man who lived this out extraordinarily well. Like you, Jim Elliot knew what he was born to do.  (If you haven’t read Shadow of the Almighty, about Jim Elliot’s life, written by his wife, you MUST read it.)  Before he even went to college, he knew he desired to preach the gospel in places that had never heard the name Jesus.  And just like you, sometimes being at college or spending the summer at home to be with family, seemed like a waste but he knew that God had a purpose even in those times.  He was determined to stay focused and intentional in the present, fully believing that those casseroles had eternal significance. I think one of the biggest lies we buy into is that we are somehow “missing it.”  That when it doesn’t feel like we are living a life of significance, we are outside of God’s great plan for our lives, or we are just wasting time.  I fall for this all the time.  But it’s just not true.  Our God is way bigger, way greater than that. He is always intentional, always moving, always carrying out His plans. So, take heart. Write a note on your mirror to remind yourself daily.  These next two years of college for you aren’t a waste, or just a block of time you need to get through to finally start living out God’s plan for your life.  You are in the midst of it right now.  He has plans for you today.

4 thoughts on “What do I do when I don’t want to be where I am?”

  1. Robert A. Welch

    I know this is for college girls … but … Hanna … your wisdom is reaching far beyond that. Keep ministering. You are meeting needs of so many.

    1. Kristi, I’m so glad! I was just talking to a friend about how often I desire to rest in the Lord, but actually don’t do it. He may give me the space and ability to do so, and yet I keep spinning my wheels and don’t accept the rest. Not sure if that resonates with you, but I’ll be praying for you!

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