The reason why I walked away from my nursing career 10 years ago is that I am not called to take that path.
No need to beat around the bush, in case you don’t want to finish reading this blog. But if you have time, here’s a story of another nurse who got swayed with the nursing fad without even asking God first if she’s called to be a nurse.
10 years ago, I quit my job and turned away from a path that promises a greener pasture to pursue my calling – to be a missionary. It was the scariest decision I’ve ever done. It was a decision that goes against the expectation of other people. I left Nursing at the peak of “NURSING FAD”, at the time where you see students in white uniforms in every university and college in the country. I left at the time when every family has a key to the American dream and the American dream was still accessible. I left Nursing at the most impractical time to leave. I left because Nursing is not for me and I pursued it for the wrong reason – greener pasture.
Newly built houses, new cars, families are freed from debts. These are the evidence that convinced me that going with the Nursing Fad is worth setting aside my passion. Anyways, when I become very rich, I can do whatever I want”, I told myself and so I believed. Everyone was talking about how promising a Nursing career is but no one told me that Nursing is a noble calling. You have to pour your whole heart and dedicate yourself to your job or else, people’s lives will be on the line.
I remember dragging my feet to work every morning, convincing myself that it’s worth pursuing. “Endure it a little bit more, soon you will reach the greener pasture”, this was my daily motivation. But it’s hard to pursue a career when you are there for selfish reasons. I feel like every patient I took care of was my stepping stone to that “greener pasture”.
I go to work every day not to take care of my patients but I go to work to complete the required work experience so I can apply to become a nurse in my “dream country”. I stopped being a nurse long before I quit my job. I stopped being a nurse when I treat patients as my stepping to reach my American dream. I was a disgrace to the Nightingale’s clan.
Everyone told me that nursing offers a promising future but no one told me that it will take the life out from me if nursing is not my calling. Every day, I was living with fear. What if I do something stupid? What if I will carry-out the wrong orders? What if I can kill someone? My what-ifs reached rock-bottom when the thought of going to work gives me so much anxiety. The worst was when I had nightmares of the patients who died. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. But everyone seems okay about being a nurse. It seems like everybody is loving what they are doing but me. I was the odd one in the Nursing world. I thought.
I got lost.
In the middle of a 12-hour shift, in between carrying out doctor’s orders and giving proper patient care, I bravely asked God, “am I meant to stay here?”
The fact that I asked that question, I knew that I am called somewhere else. I just can’t let go of my American dream and I don’t think I will ever have the courage to go against the expectations of family and friends, family’s friends, high school teachers, neighbors… Meeting other people’s expectations is who I was, it’s the air I breathed. Turning away from a path that assures me of a successful future is overwhelmingly scary. I gathered all the courage I had to bravely pray and proactively discern. It took me more than a year of seeking God’s will for my life. More than a year of discovering, “ “what does God calling me to do? What on earth am I here for?”
It was ten years ago since I left the path that can lead me to greener pasture, I pursued a road less traveled instead. It has been 10 years since I finally took the leap of faith and offer my life serving God as a lay missionary of Couples for Christ. 10 years of mission work is not a walk in the park. I had mornings when I have to drag my feet to do mission. I had sleepless nights and anxious days. I had days when I asked myself, “why am I still here?”
The difference between being a nurse and a missionary is the certainty that I am called for the latter. Fulfilling my calling in life is worth waking up to in the morning. Waking up in the morning gives me a sense of confidence that “today, I’m going to live my life’s purpose”
There is no formula for happiness but doing what you are called to do gives you a sense of fulfillment, peace, and joy despite difficulties and challenges. How will we know if we are doing what God is calling us to do? When there’s peace, because peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Today marks my 10 years as a Fulltime Pastoral Worker of Couples for Christ. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I did not proactively discern my calling. The journey that I will share with you:
Ask bold Questions
- What am I passionate about?
- What gifts has God given me?
- Where do I have the greatest opportunity to love and glorify God?
God has blessed us with core gifts specifically meant for us. When these gifts are enhanced and utilized, they can bless the world. Where we can fully utilize our core gifts, there lies our purpose. So knowing what we are passionate about, the core gifts that we are blessed with will lead us to where we can give glory to God.
Take time to pray and to listen closely to God.
We cannot fully discover what God wants us to do until we deepen our relationship with Him. When we don’t make time to intimately listen to God, the voice of the world remains louder than God’s voice. IF Moses did not meet God in the “Burning Bush”, he won’t know that he is meant to lead the Israelites to flee from slavery in Egypt and he will definitely won’t lead the people on a journey to the Promised Land. God will reveal what He is calling us to do when we intimately listen to Him.
List down the pros and cons
Whether you decide or not, there will STILL be consequences, so face the pros and cons. Look at the situation with the eyes of faith but with intellect so you won’t fall on the trap of over-spiritualizing things.
Talk to the right people
Who are the people who can help you on your journey? who are the people who can be affected by your decisions? Don’t journey alone. God is moving in each of us, He can use reveal himself through the people around us.
Dare to take risks!
When you are certain that God is calling you somewhere else, dare to take the risk! When we respond to God’s call, it requires moving from the place we are setting our foot, to an unknown ground where He wants us to be. It is a battle between a certain present and an uncertain future. But despite the uncertainties, know that God is already in that unknown territory where He is calling you to be.
I am a missionary and still a missionary after 10 years because of God’s call. I may not achieve my “Greener Pasture Dream” but God led me to a life beyond what my mind can conceive. Tomorrow, if God will call me somewhere else, even if it hurts, I will pursue wherever He will lead me because, from the day I left my promising career, I commit to be at God’s disposal. Pursuing a career you are not called to do is like walking through the day with ill-fitting shoes – it hurts you, can wear you out and slow your pace in walking.
May you truly find what you are called to do. When you find it, may you live in peace, love, and joy with Christ!
May you be where you can best love Him and He can best love you. Enjoy your beautiful adventure with Christ!
A Catholic Lay Missionary who travels the world to share her story with God. She believes that life in Christ is a beautiful adventure.