Recalculating Recalculating Recalculating
January 27, 2016
You are driving down the road and opt to turn a different direction than the GPS voice is instructing you. She goes into a panic and starts shouting “recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.”
She may drive you crazy, but she’s got a great point. When our plans are altered, by choice or totally against our will, it’s important to slow down, take a good look at our circumstances and recalculate both where we are headed and how we intend to get there.
I first learned this life lesson in college. For as long as I can remember I’d wanted to be a doctor. I did well in high school, I got accepted to a great college with a science major and I was “pre-med,” baby. There was only one problem that became abundantly clear by my second year of college: I was miserable. I’d fallen in love with the idea of practicing medicine, but it turns out I wasn’t super keen on the idea of spending my undergraduate years in a basement laboratory.
I remember countless phone conversations with my dad about what other options I had with almost two years of a biology degree under my belt. My grandfather had been a pharmacist – maybe that would be interesting. I worked hard to get a pharmacy internship. Not so much.
It was time to seriously recalculate my destination and my route. My dad would ask questions like “What are your skills? What are your strengths?” At 19 years old I wasn’t yet super self-aware but slowly the murkiness started to clear. I loved my political science classes and my rhetoric classes. I loved writing, and public speaking and my intro to drama elective. You see where this is going now right? Law school! We had no lawyers in the family and I didn’t even really know anyone who practiced law. I just had a sense that my skills seemed to apply. So I changed my major, I took the LSAT and headed to law school.
I had finally decided “what I wanted to be when I grew up” and I was on my way. Turns out law school was hard. And there were lots of smart people there. But I persevered and did what I needed to get through. I did well despite my lack of love for the process. I’d been told by several lawyers by this time to just stick out – that law school was nothing like law practice and it would get better.
And then there was the pure joy of the California Bar Exam. NOT! A 3-day exam after 2 months of studying about 8-12 hours a day. I was determined to only take it once.
In a tight economy in 1995, I was thrilled to get a paid job as a lawyer. I was finally doing it. I was grown up. I had a career. And… this wasn’t it either. I was working for an insurance defense firm doing litigation. I liked the area of law – construction – but I wasn’t thrilled with the adversarial nature of the day to day tasks. It didn’t suit my “can’t we all just get along” personality. Time to recalculate again.
By 1997 the economy was turning and many law firms were hiring. I had a great opportunity to return to my hometown and practice on the transactional side of the law – mostly helping people with their business issues. Although I loved helping my clients, I didn’t love the law firm practice and the billable hour thing was rough. Now married and thinking about starting a family, I knew this job was not going to allow me to be home with my kids when the time came. So I walked away from my law practice. This was a complete “trust in God and take a leap of faith.” No one understood our decision at the time, most especially the partners in my firm. I wasn’t pregnant yet but my husband and I were certain it was time to move in a new direction. Recalculating again…
Less than two months later I learned I was pregnant. A few weeks after that I found out I was having twins. For now the destination was clear – I was going to be a mom. After 7 years of school and 7 years of law practice, and nearly 4 years of infertility struggles, surgeries and procedures, I was home full time with two babies. And I couldn’t have been happier. More rested, maybe.
Being a new mom, times two babies, was by far the hardest job I’d ever had. It was harder than organic chemistry, it was harder than fighting in a courtroom with opposing counsel, and it was harder than billable hours. But the rewards were sweeter than anything I’d ever known. I’d reached my destination…for the time being.
After another 7 years went by that voice was directing me to recalculate again…
Are you on the right road? Do you have a clear destination in mind? When you come to that “Y” in the road, or find yourself on a rural route with no idea where you are going, reach for the “GPS” and recalculate. For me that means seeking God. What is His will for my life, at this time? Pray. Listen. Soon you will hear the voice of God “recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.” God knows where He wants you to go. And if you take the time to “pull over” and listen, He’ll direct your path.