What is God calling me to do? 

“So, what are you doing after high school?” You’ve probably been asked this question dozens of times if you’re graduating this year. Some of you have known the answer to this question since you were seven years old. Maybe you’ve always known you were going to be a teacher, a builder, a nurse, or a mechanic. But many of you have no idea what you’re going to do. Maybe you don’t even know where to begin to figure that out. 

My goal in this article is not to tell you exactly what you should do with your life, but to give you a resource to help you discover where the Lord is calling you. I’ve compiled a list of principles to help guide you as you answer the big question, “What is God calling me to do with the rest of my life?”  

First and foremost, the decision you make must be guided by God. When we face tough decisions, our first resort should be to go to the One who holds the world in his hands. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us to pray about everything in Philippians 4:6–7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The words “every thing” in this passage most definitely apply to your future. Asking the Lord, “What are you calling me to pursue?” will change your perspective dramatically. Once your heart is oriented in the right way, once you prayerfully seek his will over your own, you will be able to see how you can serve the Lord in the best possible way. He will gently reveal his will for your life and guide you where he wants you to go, even if that takes some time. If you are scared to make a decision in case it’s the “wrong” one, be comforted to know that God will lead you away from that and direct you to where he wants you to be. If the Lord is calling you to something, he will lead you there. Seek his will over your own.  

Examine your gifts and interests. If you are academically capable, consider going to college. Look for a major that matches your interests so you will be motivated to work hard and apply yourself in the classes you take. Talk to an academic advisor who can suggest and help you examine additional options beyond the common majors of business, nursing, teaching, and accounting (although these are great majors to pursue!). If you are a motivated and skilled athlete, consider schools with good athletic scholarships. If you enjoy talking to people, consider real estate, sales, or customer service. If you are gifted with your hands, consider the trades. If you enjoy hard work, a job in manual labor might be for you. These occupations are in no way “less” than a job that requires a degree. I’ve had conversations with people who tell me they’re “just working” and not going to college. I always tell them, don’t say “just”! Your job has purpose, you are using your gifts, and God has you there for a reason. Romans 12:6–8 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” Our heavenly Father did not make us all the same; we all have different gifts and abilities. Identify your talents, thank God for them, and put them to good use.  

Listen to the people who God puts in your life. No one is placed in your life by accident. Now, don’t hear me say that you should listen to what every person around you thinks you should do. More than likely, they’re all going to have a different idea (and there is such a thing as bad advice). However, the people who have been in your life the longest and spend a good amount of time with you often know you the best. Your parents, grandparents, and teachers are older and wiser than you, and they know you very well. They probably know what you are gifted at, what field you are likely to succeed in, and whether you have it in you to complete a college degree. Your friends and siblings know your personality, gifts, and interests as well. They, too, will likely have helpful insights and commentary as to what they think you’d be good at. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” The people in your life have helpful wisdom to share with you. Listen to them, ask yourself if what they’ve told you is God-honoring counsel, and prayerfully consider their advice.  

Take your time. This is a life-altering decision. I don’t say that to add more stress to the process, but to encourage you to slow down. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision just so you have something to tell people at your open house or just to get your career counselor off your back. It really is okay if you don’t know which career you’re going to pursue right after you get your diploma. If you have to take a year and work while you figure out which direction God is calling you, that’s okay. If it takes longer than a year to figure it out, that’s okay too. But on the other hand, don’t just sit around and expect an answer to come from the sky. In this season of searching, be active. Pursue multiple opportunities to job shadow. Look into college programs. Think outside the box. Talk to the people in your life. Pray often. Don’t rush the process—rather, enjoy it! God will lead you to your calling in his time. It’s an exciting thing, having a world full of possibilities right in front of you! And you have the most loving Friend to hold your hand as you navigate it.  

Whatever you do, glorify God in it. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” As you consider an occupation, ask yourself, “Does this path allow me to support a family and contribute to kingdom causes? Am I using the gifts God has given me? Am I doing a job that allows me to give him glory?” If you are struggling between two very good careers, be comforted to know that sometimes, there isn’t one “right” answer. No matter what you do, you live and work for the glory of a loving Father. Every morning when you wake up, you are called to reflect him and his love to the world, working to the best of your ability and for his glory, and that is the most important thing.  

Finally, remember that the Lord is with you wherever you go. He will lead you to the calling he has for you, and he will be with you every step of the way. So, friend, do not fear the future! Rather, boldly step out into it, holding the Savior’s hand.  

Ally works as a paraprofessional for the special education program at Heritage Christian School and is pursuing a degree in elementary and special education through Western Governor’s University. She is a member of Zion Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, MI.