For as long as I can remember, I have walked a steady path towards a career in medicine, holding onto the belief that my destiny lies within the scientific world. From dressing up as a doctor for Halloween in elementary school, taking Advanced Placement Biology the moment it became available to me in high school, and, most recently, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, science has been the center of my academic and professional goals. However, this past semester of my junior year at Wake Forest University, this passion has been shrinking, and in its place, a desire to explore God’s world and people has been growing. Ultimately though, with these fledgling feelings comes a number of new challenges and stepping away from the carefully crafted world that I created for myself is terrifying, and going off the beaten path is something that most explorers and adventurers would warn against. But what if that brief moment of wandering from the trail, submitting to our faith in God, and relinquishing our fear, would result in stumbling across a new, well-defined path laid out by God?
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8)
For whatever reason I have always separated my faith in God from my faith in academics. I have always attributed academic success to my talents alone, neglecting to give glory to God for the gifts he has given me because, after all, I was the one who had taken the organic chemistry exam, written the essay on 19th-century French art, and given the presentation on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. But just this past semester, through a series of unavoidable shortcomings and failures, I’ve slowly been coming to the conclusion that my previous successes have never been the result of my talents, but instead can only be attributed to God and his desire to watch me succeed. With these conclusions in mind, I have realized that basing my self-worth and academic success on worldly values is unsustainable, and that the only true measure of success is one derived from God. I have also realized that assuming my destiny lies in one thing alone will ultimately result in disappointment. Jesus was flexible, serving his people in a number of different ways, so why should I not take on similar characteristics? What is holding me back from living the life Jesus gave himself for? The answer is simple: it’s me.
“Set you mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)
But in the midst of confronting this unknown, there is great hope because now, I am no longer confined to my own trail that will inevitably be plagued by failure, disappointment, and hurt. Instead, the God of the universe has defined an alternate path, just like he has for every other human that has existed. The only obstacle I face is whether or not I choose to begin my walk.