These days it seems like the academic world contradicts the spiritual world. Following Jesus and getting your degree doesn’t exactly seem to coincide. You want to advance in society and be successful but you don’t want to deny your faith. So what’s a girl to do? Unless you are attending a Christian university and/or pursuing a ministry based degree, charting the waters of choosing a college major can feel like a point of contention between your earthly desires and your spiritual calling. You don’t want to choose the wrong major and end up spending more time and money on your school than you have to. But you also don’t want to forfeit an education just because you might have to digest educational principles that don’t jive with your beliefs. I get it. When I began college 3 years ago I had a strong sense of truth and righteousness (probably too strong if you ask those who had to interact with me). Pouring myself into the attributes of truth and righteousness made choosing a double major in criminal justice and psychology an easy decision. I firmly believed that God loved justice and he would smile on my decision to pursue a career with the FBI. Despite my confidence in my initial choice of major, I dropped criminal justice within a year of my studies and decided to solely focus my energies on psychology. I was terrified to abandon criminal justice. I worried that God would no longer bless my future pursuits and I felt inadequate when people reacted negatively to my change in plans.
“I worried that God would no longer bless my future pursuits and I felt inadequate when people reacted negatively to my change in plans”
My worries were rooted in the fact that psychology is a godless science. Sometimes I feel like the point of psychology is to provide an excuse as to why we don’t need God…but that’s beside the point! After bowing out of my second degree, feelings of inadequacy bubbled up and produced anxiety in my everyday life. My angst over dropping my second major was a product of my lack of faith in God’s plan for my future. I lacked the trust that God requires us to relinquish in order to fulfill his purpose for our life. Once I embraced my change in plans and submitted my future to God’s will for my life, my outlook on my major began to change. I realized that God could use any major that I pursued.
God uses teachers, nurses, firefighters, baristas, retail managers, and every occupation in-between to advance his kingdom. So why should we stress about choosing a college degree? Your degree should absolutely inspire and excite you, but you don’t have to choose a specific major in order to enter the job scene. Sure it helps to study medicine if you’re going into the medical field BUT you are not limited to the medical field just because you studied medicine. The point I am trying to make is that God can use you in any form, with any major, in any field of work!
All of that said…How do I align my major with my faith!?
Know You’re Spiritual Gifts
Did you know that God gifts each of us uniquely? Gifts like leadership, encouragement, and hospitality all flow from the love of Christ and his unique calling on your life. Knowing your spiritual gifts is essential to your success in life. My spiritual gifts have opened and closed many doors in my path. For example, hospitality is low on my gifts scale. Because I am not naturally inclined to be the hospitable type becoming a nurse was out of the question. Which is why I decided not to be a nursing major! Similarly, I am not a naturally compassionate person (working on that though!). I do not possess the gift of mercy so I chose not to use my psychology degree to become a counselor. Your spiritual gifts don’t have to determine which career path you will take but taking your gifts into consideration when choosing a major will help!
Consider a Strengths Assessment…
Strengths assessment, aptitude test, personality inventory, blah blah bla…they all seem to promise the same thing and leave you in a state of identity crisis, but they are helpful! Pairing your spiritual gifts with a strengths assessment will give you both a heavenly and worldly perspective on your temperament and skills set. Taking an aptitude test majorly cleared the field for me when I was about sixteen. I was incredibly uncertain about where my love of English and History would take me. Here I am six years later going into the Human Resource field! The very field my aptitude test told me I was geared for.
Seek Wise Counsel
Once you know your gifts, you have taken an aptitude test or strengths finder (or both), it is time to seek some wise counsel. Wise counsel is usually found in a person who is older than you and has known you for a good deal of time. Your mom could be your source of wise counsel, or dad, pastor, neighbor, a trusted teacher, or bible study leader, maybe even a spouse. No matter who your designated wise counsel is, someone who knows you well should have some speak into as to where you might be suited for the workforce or for advancing God’s kingdom.
Good luck in your search for a college major that melds your dreams, desires, gifts, and strengths! I hope I have not overwhelmed you with information. Remember that my advice isn’t a fire-proof remedy for your frustrations but it absolutely will get you going in the right direction, and maybe even the final destination! Please let me know how this post has impacted you. I would also love to hear what your college major is and why you chose it.
Image: Jonathan Daniels