Dear Renita,
I'm 24 years old, and I'm still struggling with the question of what career I should focus on and how to get a job in the career once I've figured it out. I'm in the same dead-end job I started out in as a college graduate, and I'm not happy with where I am. I've prayed about my situation constantly. Every five minutes, it seems, I'm sending out a new prayer: Please, God, guide me to what you'd have me do. Do you have any advice on how I should focus on receiving His answer? I've tried studying the Bible and meditation. Nothing really seems to work. Or is it just that I'm too busy looking for what I want my answer to be, that I've forgotten to listen to the answer God has already sent me? Any advice or suggestions for a broke sister ready to move out of her Mama's house?
Thanks, Alfrieda

Dear Afrieda,
Take it from me: Things tend to look worse than they really are when you're in your 20s.

Feeling adrift in a dead-end job, living with your mom because you can't afford a place of your own, and not knowing for sure whether you're getting through to God or whether God's getting through to you-all three together can leave you feeling emotionally unsure and spiritually paralyzed. But if you look closer you may uncover evidence that God has been at work in your circumstances all along.

First, be grateful to God that you have a Mom who loves you enough to let you come back and live at home while you search for a job you relish and one that pays enough for you to live on your own.

Second, don't confuse what you do with who you are, Alfrieda. Just because you're working on a job right now that feels dead-end (and believe me, we all have punched in time on dead-end jobs) doesn't mean that your life is at a dead end. Perhaps God is giving you the opportunity at 24 years old when you're not spending all your life energy on a job (even a fabulous one) to learn how to find meaning in life and not just in working. Find some hobbies, make new friends, use this time to get to know your mom and let her get to know you as an adult. Develop a deeper prayer life.

Third, and finally, you learn to recognize God's voice by staying open to the possibility that God "speaks" in a variety of ways. Sometimes God speaks in a loud, booming voice: "Hey, Alfrieda, get over here; here's the job I have for you." More often, God speaks in a still small voice: "Pssst, Alfrieda, over here. Get a life before you get on the treadmill of making a living."


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