college & career

Undecided.

As I walked away from the long line at the register, I sighed a shaky breath. In the Anthropologie stockroom, I started to pull clothes to restock from the holiday madness. My vision blurred from the almost always present feeling of being overwhelmed. As I stared at the the piles of folded sweaters, a few tears turned into a stream. Quietly, I wiped my wet cheeks, pulled myself together, and put some items on a rack. That feeling subsided into the real problem: status of my life. In untidy scrawl, I’ve written the word, “undecided” next to my name.

I have never been undecided in the entirety on my life. The steps for my life had always been planned and I was perfectly fine with that. I just thought that since everything had worked out before, it would after graduation. So there I was with a degree in journalism, but no career aspects. I did the work. I had the experiences and references and a designed resume, but nothing was working according to that picture perfect plan that I saw for myself. I could visualize moving to NYC and being an assistant at a magazine (a la Devil Wears Prada). I wanted that. I craved that. I would have gotten a one way ticket to the big city and would have had a big girl job. I would get paid very little, but would learn so much. I would be happy. Then, it didn’t happen. I am living at home and working in retail. When I would run into friends from high school and college, I didn’t find joy in telling them what I was doing with my life. My voice would be marred with a tinge of sadness. I would joke that “God was humbling me,” but that wasn’t fair to His plan. I was jealous that everyone else were “doing something with their life.” I selfishly thought I wasn’t living up to my potential. I felt I was being left behind. It was as if my foot was stuck in tar. I pulled and pulled, but all I could do was watch everyone else walk by.

Now, I don’t even know what I want. The picture perfect plan is like a tv sizzling with static. It’s fuzzy and almost impossible to see. There are so many different paths to take, and I have no idea how to make the right decision. From all my complaining at first, I like where I’m at. Retail is a tough industry, but it’s so rewarding (from the friends to that discount). My friendships have grown tremendously, and I can’t even imagine leaving that behind. I’ve done some freelance journalism here and there, I’ve started a blog, and gotten the amazing chance to post on this online mag, but that career that I’ve pictured for so long, isn’t exactly happening in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s difficult to make that first step into a “decided” future when there are a few different avenues to take. I’m at a 4-way stop, and I don’t even have a blinker on. I’m just sitting there with my foot on the brake, trying to be still and listen to God. In the end, I start yelling and asking Him to just put His plan for me in my hands. I want to read it cover to cover so I know exactly which steps to take and which roads to avoid altogether. Of course, I know that can’t realistically happen but we all have our weak moments, right?

There is a silver lining to all of this, I promise! I don’t know what I want, but I should be comforted by the fact that there is a plan for me. God has molded me like clay for something beautiful in His name. I just have to trust the Good Father with my future even if I don’t know what it will look like. I need to align my desires with the Lord’s. His plan should become my plan and everything could fall into place. And you may be asking me, “Paige, how on earth do I do that?” Honestly, that’s a great question which I may not have the perfect theologic answer to (and I’ll definitely be preaching to the choir again). All I can say is pray. Even if it’s being still, even if it’s a whisper, or even if you’re yelling in your car at a stop light, be in constant communication with The Holy Trinity. Start a devotion. Read His Word. Talk it through with friends that walk with the Lord. Your worldly desires should shed away like a skin of a snake and God’s desires will take its place. At least, that’s what I’m praying will happen.

words by Paige Burleson and photo by Sarah Mohan

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