By the time I was 21, my life was a lot like young Joseph’s.
I was writing my second children’s novel, with ideas for a third coming thick and fast; I frequently exchanged emails with internationally-renowned, award-winning authors for Novel Journey interviews; and, at the small public library which had employed me for four years, I’d been promoted, having earned the director’s respect, to handling a tidy acquisitions budget with complete freedom.
My God-given talents had found their calling—writer and librarian, esteemed by Egyptians, confident of future obeisance from sun, moon and stars.
But, as Andree Seu wrote in a recent WORLD magazine column, “having a talent for something is not the only measure of what it will be.”
Think Joseph, post-Potiphar.
Last year, I felt God leading me toward a temporary leave of absence from my library position, to volunteer with an agency that provides missionary families with short-term nannies. Bookmarking my life as writer and librarian, I flew to my favorite, oft-dreamed of European country. Then—unprecedented customs difficulties, and I was deported, without even meeting the family I’d come to help.
Had I followed the wrong leading? Disconsolate, I returned to my calling. Except, the library position, which I had held for six years, and which had been promised secure upon my return, was “no longer available.”
“God is not perverse,” continues Seu. “He gives gifts for a reason. But don’t be too quick to assume you know the reason.” She offers the example of an actor, for whom the Spirit opens doors all the way to Hollywood, and is there handed a compromising script. What does he do?
““So you say the actor should refuse the plum role and get washed up in his Hollywood career?” someone will object. But the question itself is wrong. It presupposes that the future is a predictable chain reaction in a closed system. The truth is we live in an open system, with God intruding at every point. And God knows how to lift up the humble and bring down the willful.”
Calling, says Seu, is not a function of talent, pure and simple. “His will unfolds in our pinpoint obedience to His minutest redirections of course...”
I eventually served as nanny in another European country, confused but sure of one fact—it was obedience to the next step in a raw, unexpected redirection of my life. I still ache every time I return a library book. But I’m working on my novel again, and opening emails from a few lovely authors; in three months, I’ll begin a new nanny position in California, with a family who desperately needs another set of hands.
What will be? I haven’t the faintest idea. But as Joseph found, and as Robert Frost wrote, “Way leads on to way.”