As a homeschool teen, I had a problem. The closer I got to graduation, the more pressure I felt from The Question. I could sense it coming from across the room and learned to dodge the overly curious church member or relative. But sometimes I couldn't avoid it. "So," they would say with a big grin, "What do you want to do after high school?"
The simple truth was that I did not know, and I hated to admit it.
There were many fields that I was interested in, but I wasn't ready to commit years of preparation to any of them without knowing for sure. I spent a lot of time in prayer asking for God's direction.
In talking to other homeschoolers, I've found that my problem was not an unusual one. Many of us struggle with what to do after graduation. How do you discover God's will for your life?
Here are some tips that homeschool graduates have found helpful in their search for God's will.
Pursue a Calling, Not Just a Career
Each of us has both a general purpose and an individual purpose in life. Our general purpose is common to all Christians: to glorify God and spread the gospel. How we accomplish this, using our unique talents and gifts, is what makes up our individual purpose.
It is important to remember that as a Christian, there is a difference between your career and your calling. Your career is your chosen profession or occupation, and this can change throughout your life. Your calling in life will probably include your career, but it is much larger than how you make your living. Your calling is your unique burden, your individual goals and accomplishments, the focus of your life.
In his book Finding the Will of God, Bruce Waltke discusses the various methods God uses to reveal his will. Walkte lays out six points believers can use to discover God's will. His steps include: read your Bible, develop a heart for God, seek wise counsel, look for God's providence, "Does this make sense?" and (in rare situations) divine intervention.
The Bible will not specifically tell you which field to choose, but God uses Scripture to speak to us. When I was about fourteen, several verses in Isaiah vividly stood out to me regarding my "calling." For years after God gave me these verses I would evaluate every life decision to see if it fell in line with the burden God had placed on my heart through these verses.
Your parents can also give guidance on the direction of your life. They have known you all your life and are able to identify areas you can pursue. Sit down with your parents and ask them to honestly discuss your particular strengths and weaknesses.
As Kris, a homeschool graduate from California, says, the unique attention his parents gave him through homeschooling helped prepare him for life. "Success isn't so much about finding where you fit as it is knowing your skills and seeing how the world can help you use them to your greatest potential."
Finding God's will for your life includes a very practical assessment of your talents, capacities, personality, and interests. God has blessed you with these aptitudes for a reason. Recognize your passions in life and consider how you can utilize your interests to glorify God.
Garry Friesen dealt with this process in his book Decision Making and the Will of God. Friesen offers the proposition that in non-moral decisions where God has not directly spoken through Scripture - such as choosing one's occupation - the believer is given freedom to chose his own course of action.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Not only does God mold your desires, but He gives you the initial desires that you long to see fulfilled.
If there is an occupation you think you may be interested in, find several role models in that occupation to talk to. Ask them what they like and dislike about their field. This helps you keep realistic expectations and gives you accurate information before you invest too much money or time.
Have faith that God will progressively reveal His calling for your life. In the meantime, as you consider what career to pursue, try working through some of these tips. And the next time you get The Question, you'll have an answer.