When I decided to return to college rather late in life surrounded by students much younger than I was, I must admit I felt a little foolish sitting in the classroom. I used to joke and say I wasn’t your average college kid. But it took me a good while to decide to walk into my calling and fulfill the very purpose that I knew God had created me for. I wasted a good deal of time dancing to the beat of my own drummer. How many of you know what that’s like?
While I was out there in the world doing my own thing and the people that I’d grown up with had already earned degrees and forged careers, I’m sure I appeared like quite the loser to many. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up or if I wanted to grow up so I wore a lot of different hats, trying them on for size until I found one or two that fit. Most of my comrades always knew what their place in the world was and I admire them for that. It’s not that I didn’t have some idea; it’s just that I was extremely resistant and lacked the self-confidence to step out in faith.
I look back now and I don’t feel as if I wasted a lot of time. I learned which things I didn’t want to do. I gained a lot of life experience that my friends missed out on while they were doing the daily grind. I don’t have many regrets to be quite honest. When I decided to go back to school and had to pay for it myself, I feel as if I got a lot more out of it because it cost me so much more. I had more skin in the game later in life.
I had no doubts that I was filling my calling and I was totally committed to the process. I had worn enough different hats to know that I didn’t like hats. I prefer the feel of the breeze in my hair; I don’t want my head confined. I now dance to the beat of a different drummer, not my own. I know that a lot of people didn’t understand the path that I had taken; perhaps they were never meant to because it wasn’t their journey.
I don’t judge the paths they took, so I don’t put a lot of weight in the judgments they have made about mine. We get one life to live and only one. I’ve dedicated the last 20+ years to living for Jesus and I believe that He is well pleased with me. There’s a song that says “He picked me up, spun me around, and put my feet on solid ground.” I have no doubts that this is absolutely true in my life.
Don’t worry if people don’t understand your life and the choices that you’ve made either. The only one whose opinion matters is the Lord’s. It is He who directs our paths and orders our steps. Not all babies learn to walk at the same age but eventually they do walk. Some of us are just late bloomers; that doesn’t mean that we should be judged. Wildflowers are every bit as lovely as potted plants. Enjoy your journey and don’t let the opinion of others cause you to veer of course.