Decisions, Abiding, and Peace

Early in my professional career, I faced my first significant post-college decision – to leave a known career path in consulting with a Big 4 accounting firm or to choose a far-less-clear path with a relatively young, but fast-growing health insurance company.

The choice was daunting for a mid-twenty-year-old, and I remember struggling with the potential of making a “career-limiting move.”

A Fork In The Road

Like many others, I needed counsel from a trusted confidant and was fortunate to have an older brother from whom to seek advice. I explained my choices and listened carefully for sage advice. His response was simple, but clear: the decision was mine to make. I was at a “fork in the road,” and there would be additional forks in the future.

It was not the advice that I was hoping for, but it was helpful in framing life as a series of decisions. This particular career decision was simply one of many.

Fast forward to my academic career, and I have realized how “spot on” my brother’s advice was – in an academic career, there are lots of potential forks in the road, decisions about which role to serve, where to serve, and, of course, how to best serve, which is a daily decision.

Lean Into My Faith

With the realization that I would face a number of major decisions in my academic career, I have learned to lean into how my faith can shape these decisions.

I have been encouraged by Jeremiah 29:11, which states, “I (God) know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare, not for evil, to give you a future and hope.”

The context of this verse is with Israel in captivity with false prophets giving them advice. Amid this hardship, God encourages Israel by saying He has not forsaken them and has plans for their future.

God’s Desire For Me Is To Rely On Him Daily

This verse and its context have provided me much comfort, in that despite sometimes challenging circumstances, God has a plan for me. My natural “Type A” personality, of course, would like to know all of these plans, but God’s desire for me is to rely on him daily. He desires it, and I need it.

I have also been encouraged by John 15:5, which states, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” This passage has encouraged me that for my life and career to bear fruit, I must abide in Christ. For life decisions, this scripture provides powerful clarity of my need to seek God daily and in working through those daunting decisions.

The Promise of God’s Peace

My abiding in Christ has been heavily focused on prayer to seek God’s wisdom. Philippians 4:6-7 calls me not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. A great blessing of this scripture is the promise of God’s peace if we let our requests be known to God.

Throughout my career, I have faced many decisions and have seen God use friends, mentors, and others as I have sought to abide in him. I have been blessed in the closing and opening of doors clearly and most prominently with God’s peace.

While I still would like to know all the plans that God has for me (my “Type A” personality remains), I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to abide in him and to know God is with me every step of the way.

Benjamin Ayers

Terry College of Business

University of Georgia

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