Why Aren't Things Happening For Me
Updated: Feb 19
I think a lot of us are on the search of what to do with our lives. According to Borderzine, 80% of college students change their major at least once; the average college student will change their major at least three times over the course of their college career. When in fact, over 40% of graduates take a job outside of their studied field and 20% of graduates dive into a career needless of a degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person will then change their career 5-7 times during their working life leading to 30% of adults changing careers or jobs every 12 months.
We are all seeking our place in this world. I think we may agree that because of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and platforms that give us a "voice", we all have something to say. This has triggered a new wave of activism and many people want to jump on board. We all want to be a part of something bigger than we are and leave our footprint behind. Whether that means being a part of a Fortune 500, a non-profit organization, or serving others at your local Goodwill. We are searching for the next best thing for ourselves so that we intrinsically feel successful in the world and we can find our place. Good news, just by you existing, you're in your place.
You Change The World by Existing
But what happens when we find exactly what we want to do? What happens when the search stops and we are certain of a specific "calling" over our life? What do we do then?
What if I told you that you being right where you are changes the world? Would you believe me? Would you believe that the career you choose, regardless of whether or not you are serving others, actually greatly impacts the world just by you being there? Simply, by you being there. That sounds like a stretch and maybe like something that would be stitched on a pillow, but hang in with me for a second.
Everything Happens For A Reason
I know some of you may not believe in God, but 83% of you (according to an Instagram poll) believe that everything happens for a reason.
-There is a reason why you missed your alarm and sped to work, because if you were to wake up just 15 minutes earlier and catch the bus, you would've been involved in that crash.
-There is a reason you went to a T.G.I. Friday's with your best friend on a lame Tuesday night because that's where you met your future spouse.
-There is a reason you didn't get into your #1 school because no place feels more like home now than school #2.
If we can agree on this, can we also agree on the fact that for this to happen, everything had to have lined up, yes?
For everything to truly happen for a reason, then that needs to be activated in the lives around you, not just your own.
-Your roommate cooking breakfast and accidentally dropping the pan is what woke you up.
-Your best friend saw an advertisement earlier that day for T.G.I. Friday's cheese fries and couldn't resist. Her boyfriend didn't answer her texts, so she asked you to go. Your future spouse got out of work an hour late that Tuesday night so he decided to go and pick up take-out.
-The night before your SAT your little sister wouldn't stop coming into your room due to nightmares, causing you to get no sleep. The only one SAT test you can afford, you take it halfway falling asleep. The score was just a few points off the minimum to get into school #1, fortunately it was just the right score for school #2.
For things to happen in your life, things have to happen in others' lives that causes them to spring to action, and then in turn, impact your life greatly.
The Butterfly Effect
I could go on and on, but isn't this the butterfly effect in its most simple form? That if one event happens in your life, it creates this tremendous ripple effect in the world around you. If one of those variables up there were to have been just one degree different, your whole life would have been changed and so would those around you.
See, without you being in that certain place at that certain time, and without others being in that certain place at that certain time, it offsets an axis. The things you do in your life, little or big, greatly affects the world around you, oftentimes without your recognition. And thankfully, 90% of you believe in the Butterfly Effect.
Now, don't you agree your career does the same? Some of you don't think so. 83% of people believe that everything happens for a reason, 90% believe in the Butterfly Effect, but somehow only 69% believe the career they choose will greatly impact the world (whether or not their career physically serves others). If we can all agree that everything happens for a reason and that the smallest action leads a ripple effect around the world, then why don't we believe that something as big as our "calling" in life will do the same? Why do we all of a sudden shy away from the possibility that our lives change other lives through our career?
We know that if we have a cold, and we sneeze on someone, the germs are then transmitted to that person and they catch that cold. It is scientific fact. But why do a much higher (14-21%) percentage of people believe that their careers and their "calling" in life has no impact whatsoever on the outside world? If just by us standing somewhere we can impact someone's internal health, why can't us living our life for a certain calling impact someone else's full story?
It's For a Much Bigger Reason
I believe that the things we are called to aren't necessarily for ourselves, but rather, the world. (Hang with me.) If we believe that a very small change in initial conditions can create a significantly different outcome, "that a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo which can create a tornado in Chicago", why can't we put that same emphasis on what we do for the rest of our lives? In very simple terms: we can change another's life just by standing close to them -> we change multiple lives by what we choose to devote our life to.
In spiritual terms,
I believe there is a much grander narrative to the story of life than we can comprehend.
Our lives infinitely impact one another due to our actions, our lives match up to others and live in perfect harmony. If you're a Christian, like me (yay Jesus), you most likely believe that God is sovereign and has His hands all over everything, therefore He has a much bigger plan. And because His plan is much bigger than ours, it affects many more people than we could imagine. What we decide may be our career path isn't something that's just for us, but it is given to us, for the world, in this specific time of history.
Timing Is Essential
For this all to be held up as true and factual, we must agree that timing is essential, but it is not something we can plan. Most events that cause greatest impact in our lives are not events we planned ourselves. Missing that alarm, going to TGI Friday's when we didn't want to, getting rejected from that school... most of these things feel small in the moment but are rather large in comparison to what could have been. If we take something as intricate as our "calling" on our lives (what we choose to do for our career) we must believe the same, timing is essential.
I have been talking to a lot of friends lately who recently graduated high school and they're beginning their journey in college. A lot of them are lost, conducting the search on what they should devote their lives to. And while I remember this being possibly one of the most stressful times of my life, I don't believe it is the most difficult. I believe the most difficult thing would be to recognize your "calling" and wait.
It Is The Timing That's Most Meaningful
Have you ever felt so strongly about something, say a career, and interview after interview you get denied? Or I'll take acting, hundreds of rejection to receive a couple yes's here and there. Or perhaps even a date. You ask them out for years, and they keep you in that friendzone? Or motherhood, you try to conceive a child for years and that pregnancy test returns negative time and time again. It may not be the "thing" we are pursuing that is the most difficult, but rather the time it takes us to achieve it.
Once we acknowledge the one thing we are to do for our lives, the rest of the world has to catch up.
When we know what we are meant to do for the rest of our lives, it isn't just dependent on us. Sometimes all the hard-work and "grinding" in the world that we can do, won't get us to where we want to be quick enough. The timing of things coming into fruition isn't based on us. There, I said it.
If we believe that everything happens for a reason which is, in turn, the butterfly effect, and we acknowledge that timing of all the lives around us is essential for this to work, then we much face that fact that working on our own timeline will guarantee no success.
If the lives of others greatly impact our individual life, then that only means that our individual life greatly impacts the lives of others. In continuing to discuss the importance of our "calling" and the grand stature that holds in our lives, we must choose to look at how our "calling", our career, is actually not solely for us, rather, an alteration to the lives around us.
Why Haven't Things Happened For Me Yet
It is the most difficult thing to realize what you want for your life, and in every direction you try, doors are locked. But I encourage you to look at it from a different direction. If you think you are a failure, (which you're not) I would like to give you the hand to look at it this way: the world isn't ready yet.
So many things have to happen for one thing to take place. Things have to align, so to speak. And for you to step out into that calling, it will happen at the exact time when the world needs it. We play such a big role in the grand narrative. If we are really living out our calling, we will impact the world. But the world has to be ready too.
It took Jesus, JESUS, 26 years to begin ministry. 26 years of waiting. The world wasn't ready yet.
Martin Luther King Jr. didn't write the "I Have a Dream" speech until he was 34 years old. 34 years of waiting for his great impact to reach the world. The world wasn't ready yet.
Thomas Edison was 32 when he filed the patent for the lightbulb. Testing over 3,000 different designs beforehand, two full years of work and waiting after the initial idea. The world wasn't ready yet.
Rosa Parks was 42 when she said "No." The world wasn't ready yet.
Stan Lee didn't create his first comic until he was 39-years old. The world wasn't ready yet.
Vera Wang didn't go into the fashion industry until 40 years old. She actually had dreams of becoming an Olympic figure skater, after years and years of hard-work, she didn't quite make it, thus bringing her into fashion. 40 years of waiting for her true calling. The world wasn't ready yet.
Something that may stand out is the influence each of these people have, and will always hold. We know them all by name, by career, and by story. By them living out their calling, they have impacted our lives in ways we couldn't begin to grasp. Something that seems to be a thread here: the bigger the call, the longer the wait.
If you are truly stepping out into that unique calling crafted for yourself, it will take years of work, of trying new designs, years of rejection, to reach the point where you are meant to be.
My friend said this in a way that truly made sense: "the longer you wait, the longer the ideas and things are building inside of you to prepare you to change the world. People are shaping you in order for you to be prepared to change the world to the best of your ability."
The next time you are discouraged about the wait in figuring out what to do for the rest of your life, or the more difficult... the wait for the calling to be achieved, remind yourself that if you truly believe that everything happens for a reason, the butterfly effect, and because of this, timing is essential, then your time will come. Because of who you are, the only you there will ever be, to pursue the unique calling given to you in this specific time in history, you will without a doubt impact the world. But the world has to be ready first.
Thank you to my good friend Kendall Kramer for inspiring this blog post through a deep conversation that lasted many hours and multiple talks (whether she knows it or not). Kendall not only inspired me but carefully reviewed this post to help it to make sense and to stop me from making laps around my own words. She gave me words to say when my brain was lacking and gave her time to help a friend in need of some good constructive criticism. Thank you Kendall!