Girlfriends in God - Apr. 16, 2008


April 16, 2008

What in the World Should I Do?

Mary Southerland


Today’s Truth

John 3:27God in heaven appoints each person's work" (NLT).


Friend to Friend

We all want to be successful in our work. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses. It doesn’t really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place. Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the wrong work to begin with!


After my father's death, my mother worked three jobs to support our family while attending nursing school, something she had always wanted to do. Mama passed her nurse's exam and went to work at the local hospital in the small Texas town where we lived. Over time, she worked in several areas of the hospital, but her favorite spot, by far, was the nursery. Eventually, she became the pediatric nurse for her shift.


Mama was wonderful with the babies and seemed to know just what they needed when no one else did. One fussy infant immediately calmed down and went to sleep when mama put a small transistor radio, tuned to soft, classical music, in the bassinet with the baby. She insisted on having rockers in the nursery so the babies could be rocked by volunteers, and the babies were adorable! I decided I wanted to be a nurse just like my mother and promptly enrolled in the Candy Striper program offered by the high school I attended. When I told my mother the good news, she was wise and simply responded, "That’s wonderful, honey. You’ll make a great nurse."


On my first day as a Candy Striper, I eagerly donned the red and white striped uniform and reported for duty. The head nurse welcomed me and explained that I would be checking each patient to make sure they had water to drink, magazines to read and a listening ear. Simple enough! "Oh, and one more thing," she continued. In retrospect, I should have instantly recognized the danger in those words and run for the nearest exit. In my ignorance, I stayed, Nurse Mary in the making. "Since we are short-handed, I may ask you to do just a few things to help the other nurses on duty," she said. “No problem”, I assured her.


At that precise moment, a scream pierced the air! The head nurse calmly looked at me, smiled and said, "Could you check on that, please?" Surely, I had misunderstood her. "Now!" she continued. Taking a deep breath, I headed in the direction of the scream, praying that someone had just won a million dollars! No such luck!


As I neared the room in question, a bedpan flew through the doorway in front of me, landing at my feet. Furthermore, the bedpan was not empty! I decided right then and there that nursing was not for me, turned in my candy cane apron and raced for the elevator. Mama was waiting as I stepped off of the elevator. She smiled, handed me the cars keys and said, "See you at home." Fortunately, I had a wonderful mother who knew me well, understood that I could never be a nurse and encouraged me to be the teacher God had created me to be.


I truly believe many people are living stress-filled lives because they have never sought and discovered God's plan and are trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole. What does fit is God's plan. In Psalm 23:3, David writes, “He leads me in paths of righteousness”. “Righteousness” simply means “right things”. The Shepherd has a plan for His sheep. Unfortunately, so does everyone else. The difference is that God’s plan is filled with the “right things” He shaped and created us to do while the agendas of others service their own purpose instead of God’s. God empowers us to do what He shaped and gifted us to do. However, when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. Soon, we will be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension.


Don’t waste another day just doing the “next” thing. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place, doing what you were created to do in this world.


Let’s Pray

Father God, I want to be exactly where You want me to be and to do the “right things” things you created me to do. Forgive me for sometimes listening to the wrong voices and bowing to the wrong audience. No more! Today, I choose You! I want to please You by living a daily life of obedience to Your plan for my life. Please help me find and do the work You have for me to do. Thank You!

In Jesus’ name,


Now it’s your turn

Over the years, we have often talked with our children about a life plan. One of the things we always tell them is that if they want to be successful and contented in life, they need to discover what they love to do and then find a way to get paid doing it.

  • Take a brutally honest inventory of your natural gifts, talents and abilities, knowing that they are from God and are all part of your life plan.
  • Ask those who know you best for their opinions and perspectives.
  • Make a career choice based on persistent prayer and daily obedience to God.
  • Discover what brings you the most satisfaction and do it.
  • Life here is short. Do not waste it doing something you were not created to do. Choose your work carefully.


More from the Girls

You have probably heard the thought, “I climbed the ladder of success, and when I reached the top, realized it was leaning against the wrong wall”. As my daughter would say, “Not cool!” It certainly isn’t! I do not want to spend my life doing good things and miss the best things God has for me. Not long ago, I came to a crossroads in my life that made me question the path I was taking in ministry. I asked God to either change me and the way I was doing ministry…or change my ministry. He did both! Once again, I realized God wants the highest and best things for my life. That is His plan! Don’t settle for anything less, girlfriend. “Escaping the Stress Trap” will help you sort through the mess of your life to find what is really important and true. And be sure to check out my free online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Blessings!



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Originally published Wednesday, 16 April 2008.