My wife and I have had the joy of working with thousands of college students and have engaged in countless conversations with them about what they’re going to do as they approach graduation. Up to that point, they had felt safe and secure knowing they were simply coming back to campus for another year of school. But now that they were being kicked out of the nest, they felt a strong need to pray, get counsel, pursue options, and make decisions. As I chat with these twenty-one to twenty-five-year olds, I love to pose an unusual question. “If you could do anything with your life, what would you want to do? Just for a moment, free your mind from school loans or parents’ wishes or boyfriend pressure. Put no constraints or parameters on it. Write down what you would love to do with your life if you got to choose.” There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue those! Most have never allowed their mind or heart to think that broadly or freely. They’ve been conditioned to operate under some set of exterior expectations or self-imposed limitations. A few have sat there so long staring at that blank sheet, I thought they might pass out! They finally get an inspirational thought, and begin enthusiastically scribbling something. They finish with a smile, pass it over to me, and I take a look. Nine out of ten times I pass it back to them, look deep into their eyes and quietly say, “Go do this.” There is a reason they feel so excited about the specific direction, cause, or vocation they wrote down. It’s because God is the One who put it in their heart. “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). “Are you delighting yourself in the Lord?” I ask the graduating senior. “I am certainly seeking to,” they reply. “Well then,” I respond, “you’ve just written down the desires of your heart. So, go for it.” Too simplistic or idealistic? I probably do have a more “wide-open” view of helping a person discover God’s direction for their life, but I believe this exercise strikes at the core of understanding what each of us were designed to do.
Steve Shadrach (The God Ask: A Fresh, Biblical Approach to Personal Support Raising)