How Do I Know What to Be When I Grow Up?

    Trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be and do as an adult can feel like a big, scary deal. You may even feel a little sick because you have no idea what your future will look like. Here are a few things to consider when you’re trying to decide what steps to take to get ready for the rest of your life.

    1. It’s about what God has designed for you. Yes, you need to prepare for your future, but one of the most important steps is to ask God what He wants you to do. Ask and keep asking Him to open only the doors He wants you to go through. Does He want you to go to college? Which one? Does He want you to be a missionary or to bloom right where He planted you in your hometown? Seek Him often and you’ll start to get a sense of where He wants you to go.

    2. Those who know you the best may be able to help. Ask the people who know you the very best what they picture you doing in the future. They may be able to see things about your skills, knowledge and personality strengths that you don’t. Ask them what job they see you doing, or whether they see you at a big university or a smaller school. Seeing yourself through their eyes can give you new perspective.

    3. Knowing yourself and how you were created is really important. If you don’t know if you’re left-brained or right-brained, an introvert or an extrovert, what your learning style is, what personality type you have, or what your spiritual gifts and love languages are, it’s time to find out. You need to know how God hardwired you. There are fun multiple-choice quizzes online that can enlighten you about yourself.

    4. Try out different jobs by shadowing and interning. A lot of people go all the way through four years of college without knowing what the career they’re studying is really like. Now is the time to find people in the careers you’re interested in and ask them to let you shadow them on the job. Go to court with an attorney, spend a day with an accountant or intern at a local bakery if you want to be a pastry chef.

    5. Everyone should develop at least one marketable skill. Even if you plan on getting a college degree and having a profitable career, it’s a good idea to have at least one skill or trade that you can earn money with anytime. Consider getting a plumbing or electrician certificate, or a license in daycare and CPR. Or hone your talent on the piano or guitar so that you can teach lessons. While these things may not become your career, they can be very helpful in a pinch.

    6. Don’t be afraid to try. If you feel strongly that God has designed a certain path for you, don’t be afraid to try it. After all, planes go both ways. When you walk through a door, you can also turn around and walk back out of it. Get rid of the fear that holds you back. Almost nothing in life is irreversible. If you try a job and hate it, there will be other jobs. If you fail, you will learn from that failure and be stronger for the next challenge.

    While preparing for the rest of your life can seem nerve-racking, it doesn’t have to be. Ask God to fill you with excitement about what lies ahead. When you follow His plan, your future will be a great adventure!

    Natalie Gillespie
    Natalie Gillespie is the mom, stepmom and adoptive mom of nine kids, as well as a best-selling author, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of "Into the Light: My Journey from the Glare of Hollywood to the Glow of God's Love" with Nicole Weider.


    1. I really have no plan for my life. Above all things, I what it to be something that God destined for me to do, but I don’t know if I have found it yet, or if I’m to scared to explore it.
      A good friend of mine says I’m good at finding solutions to problems. My mom wonders why I’m not interested in being a doctor/surgeon/pharmacist. I myself think I’m too much of a perfectionist. Yep, I’m really stumped at what I’m good at.
      Lol, I’ve taken quite a few quizzes about careers and everything involving it. But, I just don’t know because sometimes I see myself in several careers. I like science, so I could see myself as a chemist. I like social studies, so anthropology or sociology or psychology might suit me. I like English, so being a teacher or technical writer might be my thing. I really don’t know. I wish being a highschool student was some kind of ‘paying’ career because I’m sort of good at it. Well, just concerning academics, since I have a rather high rank in my ‘virtual’ class lol.
      I know I’m sort of introverted, but I’m not scared to take a stand whenever it is necessary. Strangely, one of my spiritual is leadership or teaching. I’m interested in leading others, but I’m not sure if I would like to label myself as a teacher.
      I’ve barely been involved in any type of clubs during my high school career. As a junior, its starting to bite back hard at me. However, I would love to join my schools newspaper team. Over the past few months, I’ve found out that I’m passionate about writing, and for these next two years in highschool, I’m going to build that skill as good as I can. A few days ago, I actually found a writing internship that I might consider applying to.
      But overall, I’m tired of having no plan for my life. It gets discouraging every time I realize it and every time I’m reminded by my mom or siblings. I just need God to show me what I need to do in this life. I’m completely lost.

      • We are pressured so often to have a plan for our lives and I know it can be so frustrating when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up! I am a freshman in college studying nursing and I was a very insecure highschooler because I didn’t know myself and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. But honestly, one of the most amazing things is being able to completely trust that God will open the right doors at the right time and He holds my future in His hands. It’s OKAY not to know what you want to do with your life. Try to spend this summer doing some shadowing of different careers that might interest you. Volunteer or get a job where you can be exposed to lots of different kinds of people. And when you start applying to colleges, pick something that you might be interested. If you get to college and realize it’s not for you, that’s okay too. People switch majors all the time. Sometimes you have to get your feet wet a little before you realize something’s not for you. And ultimately, PRAY. Talk to God about your interests, passions, gifts, hopes, dreams. He’ll help you. Sometimes his help is subtle: through a friend, a mentor, a pastor, new opportunities. Just keep your eyes open! God has amazing things planned for you so don’t you worry! 🙂

    2. This is really helpful! I think right now I really want to be a writer. Author and maybe journalist to keep the bills paid. Maybe an English teacher. I also really love history though so I don’t know.

    3. And remember girls, you may think you know what you want to do, then you’ll get to college, and you’ll realize you were missing what God was telling you! I thought I wanted to be a teacher, then a doctor, then a teacher again. I got to college and have seen so many people hurting. I went through a tough year last year with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder, so I can identify with those hurting and searching for hope. I found my hope in Christ. I want to become a therapist with an emphasis in youth studies so I can help young adults. I’m thinking I’m going to find a way to get a Bible certificate or Bible Studies degree so that I could do Christian counseling as well!

    4. Writing is clearly my God-given talent, and there are so many different forms of writing that I do. I want to go to college to become a Professional Creative Writer when I grow up, but I guess the real question is which form of writing does God want me to spread the gospel with! How do I know?

    5. I think this is nice (it reinforces a lot of things I’ve had people telling me).
      I’m a senior in high school with few ideas as to what to do with my life. I love to read, write, sing, listen music, and a lot of other things. I want to be a well-rounded individual who serves the Lord wholeheartedly. I know he has a plan for my life, and even though I don’t know it, I trust he’ll carry me through and guide me along the way. I used to want to be a zoologist but that dream dissipated when biology class brought the idea of dissection to the table (I wrote a paper instead).

    6. Honestly, if you aren’t 100% sure, then that’s probably not what you’re meant to do. We are meant to follow God’s path, but God makes that path perfectly clear if we pay attention. I use to worry all about how much money I would make or how likely it was for me to get a job. When I threw that all behind and realized I wanted to do what God wanted me to do and what would make me happy, it became painfully obvious what I was meant to do in life. I’m not saying that it’ll happen quickly, but there’s no real rush either. I figured it out in college so…. don’t let your high school teachers say you NEED to make a decision before you go to college.

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