Upon graduating from college, I felt lots of pressure to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I stumbled around for a few years, working at temporary jobs, until I applied to law school in an attempt to do something respectable. I wasn't accepted.
Two years later, I was rejected by another law school. I felt like a failure, especially because my friends were getting graduate degrees and working in amazing jobs. Then, soon after I landed a good job, my husband and I moved overseas, and everything changed.
I couldn't get a work permit in our new country, which made me feel even more adrift. It seemed there wasn't a place for me, or a job for me, or a plan for me. I was miserable.
I wholeheartedly turned to God, praying that He would tell me what my place and direction were, and what He wanted me to do.
I've learned that praying for a specific outcome is not a good way to pray. Instead, better results follow from my prayers that affirm God's goodness, presence, and love. Because, after all, another name for God is Love, and this loving God wouldn't give me anything to do that wasn't perfectly suited to me and my specific abilities.
Mary Baker Eddy, in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," wrote: "God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend?" (page 2).
As I prayed for a sense of satisfaction and right activity, I became more peaceful. One day, I realized I was no longer miserable. In fact, I enjoyed not working at a traditional job. I was busy volunteering at my church, writing freelance pieces, and taking time to study deeply the Bible and Science and Health. I truly felt satisfied, complete, and content. I was no longer looking to a job or some other outside influence to define me or make me complete.
A few months later, a little intuition urged me to look into the master of business administration program at a local school. The application deadline had passed several months before. But the message was persistent. So I called to see if there was a waiting list and learned that there was an unexpected opening in the upcoming class. I was told to apply within 48 hours.
In those two days, I managed to write an entire application, get two recommendations, and obtain transcripts from schools. It was a Herculean effort. I also got a student visa in two days - record time.
During those busy days, this verse from the Bible kept going through my head: "And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly" (II Chron. 29:36).
There couldn't have been a more fitting quotation. I realized God had been preparing me for this step for months. Actually, He'd been preparing me for years. My past work experiences were spot-on with the requirements for the program - something I'd been unaware of while doing those jobs. The program was better suited to my interests and strengths than other graduate programs.
Most important, I was spiritually ready. I'd stopped outlining what would be best for me and had yielded completely to God's plan. In that yielding, I'd found peace and satisfaction. I was ready. And so my next step was "done suddenly."
Happily, I was accepted to the MBA program. My gratitude is deepest, though, for the lesson learned that God is always caring for each one of us, no matter what we might think or fear. Ten years ago, I never would have dreamed of taking this step. But I see now that the past 10 years prepared me perfectly. It's come together so simply and quickly that I know it's God's doing.
I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me,
and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me,
and find me,
when ye shall search for me
with all your heart.