Not so long ago, thinking of my future would make me panic.
While I knew that I wanted to help people by being a pediatrician, I didn’t know the steps to get there: Where am I going to college? What happens if I get rejected by my top school? What if I never become a pediatrician? How far away from my family am I going to be?
These questions kept running through my head as I started my college application process. I was filled with so many doubts that I put off applying to college for as long as possible. I didn’t feel like dealing with the anxiety that came with trying to figure out what my next step was. I prayed to God, hoping to get a response, or at least to get reassurance from him, but it felt like I was talking to a wall. No matter how many times I talked to him, I wasn’t getting any answers. I knew he had a plan for my future, but I was getting frustrated with not knowing what it was.
Over Christmas break, I was letting myself be distracted by these thoughts to the point where I would zone out during Mass. During a time when I was supposed to be joyful over the birth of Jesus, I was, instead, troubled about my future. I decided to go to confession to get some clarity, hopefully. I went in and explained how I had been struggling with not knowing my future and how I also felt like I hadn’t heard God’s voice in a while. The priest told me about a time when he had also struggled in waiting for God’s plan. In the end, though, God’s solution was better than anything he could have planned for. This gave me hope. It served as my reminder to keep going and wait for him to be ready to reveal everything to me.
The priest then proceeded to tell me how Mother Teresa spent nearly 50 years without feeling God’s presence, but she continued to do what she felt he had called her to do. I was shocked. While it had only been a couple of weeks since I had last heard his voice, I still found myself in despair. I couldn’t imagine 50 years without feeling his presence.
After leaving confession, I realized that God talked to me through the priest. While I didn’t necessarily get any answers about my future, my mind was at ease. I had been so worried that not hearing God’s voice was something to be ashamed of that I wasn’t allowing myself to focus on anything else. I kept stressing because I thought that I would be content if I knew his plan for me. Had I learned his plan for me, I would not have worked as hard on my applications. In wanting to know my future, I looked for an easy way out that ensured that my future was what I wanted it to be.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that whatever happens will be for the best. His plan for me is better than the plan I have for myself.
While I am still nervous about what’s to come, I am also really excited to start this next chapter in my life. No matter where I go or what I do, I know that he will always be there for me. As it says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
He is going on this journey with me, and that’s the best thing I could ask for. In the future, if I ever struggle with feeling God’s presence again, I will remind myself of the advice Father Joseph Neuner gave Mother Teresa when she opened up about her “darkness”: There is no human remedy for it; therefore, I am not responsible, feeling Jesus is not the only proof of his being there, and the craving I feel for God during his silence is a sign that he is still in my life. His advice is reassuring that God has been and will continue to be there for me as I figure out what’s next.
Laritza Chena is a senior at Searcy High School. She attends St. James Church in Searcy.
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