Moving into the workforce can be daunting for those fresh out of university. You go from most senior to most junior – with colleagues possibly much older than you – and there’s a whole set of rules and must-knows that might not have been covered (or seen as important) in school.
For example, what’s the protocol for corporate emails? What is the appropriate amount of time to take a break? Can I leave the office before my boss does?
For those of us who have been working for some time, these may seem like instinctive things we’ve long adapted to and figured out. If you’re still in school, maybe they’ll sound like petty considerations.
Well, I didn’t think they were of much consequence either – not until I found myself in several uncomfortable situations. Have you ever accidentally “replied all” in a mass office email?
We think we’re “getting there” by “getting more” – more pay, more clout, more accolades – until we realise there’s been no actual destination all along.
When I first started working, I found myself wishing that I was more experienced. Older. In a higher position. And to get there faster. I assumed that having a more credible position and certain number of years under my belt would make me feel better – more worthy.
But the road of “not enough” is a winding and endless one. Trudging along, we think we’re “getting there” by “getting more” – more pay, more clout, more accolades – then the road suddenly takes a turn and we realise there’s been no actual destination all along.
Stepping out of the nagging voice of “you’re too young” and into the destiny that God has for you starts today, whatever your age. Here are 3 simple ways to calibrate your coordinates to walk in His way.
3 DIRECTIVES FOR DESTINY
1. We need to be in the right heart space
Pull the brakes for a second and take a really good look at the road you’re on. I’m not talking about a physical place, but the condition of your heart. If all you’re feeling is “not enough”, this is safely not the road God means for you to take.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
He has knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. Our strengths and weaknesses, unique personalities – God has dreams for who we are meant to be as individuals, as a community and as His Church. And His purpose for you can only flow in a space of right identity: We must know who we are in Him.
And as His children, we are always enough to Him; handmade to perfection.
2. See yourself through God’s eyes
When Samuel saw Eliab, Jesse’s eldest son who had an impressive build, he thought that surely this man must be the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 16:6). That’s when God reminded Samuel that the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
At the heart. Not at your bank account, your age or family background, how academically inclined you are, whether or not you’ve got nice abs, or the number of followers you have on Instagram. God looks right into you and sees what’s in your heart.
Even Jesse, David’s own father, didn’t regard him as someone worth mentioning. To his dad, David was merely the “youngest” who was out “keeping the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:11), but it was precisely David whom God chose as His next king (1 Samuel 16:12).
And maybe that’s how others having been defining you – they’ve put you in a category they deem fit. Just one of the youngest. Doing a mundane, junior job. Maybe that’s how even you define yourself.
But God’s measure is different.
“But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)
3. Respond with a heart of obedience
Those who want to walk in their destinies must be wrapped up in obedience. Not in wanting more for yourself, but in expecting more from God.
If He calls you to speak confidently to your boss, or to give up a more profitable project for another, or prompts you to excuse yourself from gossip-filled conversations – you will. His promise is that He will always deliver you, and that your job is to simply take heart, be strong and courageous, and choose Him in every situation.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
My prayer for myself and all of us is that we will no longer say “I am too young”. That we will no longer let these feelings of inadequacy or inexperience stop us from claiming God’s destiny for us right where we are.
I pray that you will grow to be sensitive to the Spirit, to recognise His voice and to respond with a heart of obedience. I pray that you will take time to grow deeper in the Word, that the truth of who God is and who He says you are will set you free.
Shereen is currently 24 and working in a nursing home as a communications executive.