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Myth-busting Advice for my Graduating Seniors–Myth 1: “You Can be Anything You Want to Be”

As a child, I’d often sit, big-eyed and leaning in, as my grandmother would tell me "You can be anything you want to be." Turns out grandma was wrong. You can’t be anything you want to be. And trust me–you don’t want to settle for that anyway.

As a child, I’d often sit, big-eyed and leaning in, as my grandmother would tell me "You can be anything you want to be." Turns out grandma was wrong. You can’t be anything you want to be. And trust me–you don’t want to settle for that anyway.

LIke you’re about to do, I graduated high school, packed my stuff and headed off to college. I also packed up my myths, including Grandma’s advice, and took it with me. She said I could be anything I wanted to be, so I was. I loved business, wanted to be a business person, and so I went to business school. Since I’d decided when I was 7 that I wanted to be CEO of IBM, I weighed majors that would be good for a CEO. I chose to double major in International Business (anticipating a flat world) and Finance (because I knew I wasn’t analytical enough and wanted practice being logical.) I graduated and went off into the business world.

Now, you know me as your teacher, not as the CEO of IBM. What happened? In short, God. After I got saved, He turned my life upside down. I started figuring out what I was good at and what I wasn’t. Subjects I didn’t study in college fascinated me, and I found my life shifting. Over time, I got it through my skull: God, my Creator, had wired me specifically for His purpose and His glory. 

The classic retort to the "you can be anything you want" is that if you’re 5’2", you’re probably not going to be in the NBA. If you’re colorblind, you’re not going to be an Air Force pilot. If you’ve never taken ballet, you’re not going to be the Prima Ballerina in the Royal Danish Ballet company. There are certain things you may want to do that you don’t have the ability to do–you just weren’t created for.

For those of us who know Jesus, and have been adopted into His family, it goes far beyond that. There will be many things that you’re capable of doing, but you shouldn’t settle for anyway. God has created you on purpose, giving you a unique combination of traits so that you can fulfill your destiny. To do anything else would be settling. 

Your talents and your struggles, your preferences and your dreams all give clues to God’s calling in your life. He created and prepared each of you for a grand adventure that exists at the center of His will. Doing the one thing He’s created you to do will be more fun, more successful, more significant and more effortless than those "anything you want to be" lives. Doing that one thing will also be harder, riskier and take every ounce of commitment. Depending on what He’s called you to, it may not pay well or be glamourous. It may not be what you expected or dreamed. But it’s worth it. Being smack-dab in the center of God’s will is where the joy is.

I don’t know what God has wired you to do. I have my guesses, but part of the fun is figuring it out. I am praying for each of you, and can’t wait to see where God leads. There’s a big
adventure out there for each of you, and it’s in the center of God’s
will. 

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Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton’s passion is the transformation that happens when women get access to God’s Word and God’s Word gets access to women. She was twenty-five when her life was turned upside down by an encounter with Jesus Christ. With an insatiable thirst for scripture and theology, she soon headed to Dallas Theological Seminary to learn more about Jesus, and left with a Th.M. with an emphasis in Media Arts. She, along with two friends from DTS, travel the nation filming the independent documentary Looking for God in America. She loves speaking and teaching and is the author of Insight for Living Ministry’s Meeting God in Familiar Places and hundreds of ads, which pay the bills. Her big strong hubby Paul is a former combat medic, which is handy since Laura’s almost died twice already. She loves photography, travel and her two pugs.

2 Comments

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    Anonymous

    My mom told me the same thing with a twist
    After I messed up the kitchen really bad when I was a kid… I still remembered my mom pulled me aside and told me that I can be anything I want to be when I grow up… Just don’t become a cook.

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