Why You Can’t Be Anything You Want to Be

It’s likely we’ve all heard someone enthusiastically tell us, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!”

This well-meaning advice is usually shared by caring adults, aiming to encourage us to overcome limitations and reach for the stars.

Becoming anything we want to be? That feels empowering. But maybe it’s not totally true.

I recently paused to really think about this phrase—and suddenly realized it’s not exactly in alignment with the Bible.

Surprised? I was, too!

But we can’t be anything we want to be. Here’s why this truth is actually freeing—and not limiting to our future.

You Have Specific Gifts!

God created each of us with purpose, and He gives us specific gifts that we’re meant to put to work (Ps. 139; 1 Cor. 12).

The truth is your gifts are not my gifts. And my gifts are not your gifts. I could dream of becoming an ER surgeon, but when it comes down to it, I just can’t.

Not only is the medical field not where my gifts lie, but I also know I’d drop to the floor on the job. The sight of blood, or even just needles, makes me squeamish. In fact, one time I almost passed out after my husband had a procedure and the doctor was simply talking about the results with me.

Sure, I do have the mental and physical capabilities to potentially learn to work a medical job, but I honestly would be terrible at it! And probably miserable, too. That work simply does not play into any of my God-given talents or strengths.

Curing “Option Paralysis”

The classroom is where I am gifted, though! I taught high school English for six years.

Year after year, concerned students would express their serious worries about their futures. They had been told, like many of you, that they could be whatever they wanted, and it caused what I like to call “option paralysis.”

My students could pursue a degree at a university or a community college, enlist in the military, or get “any job” they wanted. The stress of choosing one path from all these options caused them to shut down and feel like they couldn’t do anything.

Have you ever felt the way my students did?

The truth is God does have a plan for every person’s life—including yours. But it doesn’t include anything and everything in the world! That’s a freeing truth. Because it allows you to focus and pray for God to reveal the path he does have for you, one step at a time.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Prov. 3:5–6).

God has a specific plan for your life if you will trust Him and pursue goals according to your gifts—rather than keeping all your options wide open.

Put Those Gifts to Work!

So where do you start on this journey? Pray that God would help you discover the gifts He’s given to you. Then put those gifts to use! They go wasted if they sit on a shelf.

I’ve always had a heart for teaching. I loved “playing school” when I was small, and in middle and high school, I spent the “job shadow” days shadowing teachers. I was also drawn to English and Spanish; they were my favorite subjects in high school. So I decided to go to college and pursue a degree in teaching Spanish. After two years, I knew that Spanish was not the right choice (another story for another day!) and went with English instead.

I spent six years teaching in the classroom. Then after having my first child, I decided to stay home, and now I teach God’s Truth through ministry.

I tell you this to assure you that God creates each one of us with specific talents and gifts. These usually become more evident as we progress through our teenage years, as we start to discover what we’re drawn to and passionate about.

When you feel overwhelmed about your future and all your options, pray for God to narrow your choices by helping you focus on the areas you are specifically interested in.

Stay on Mission

Don’t get lost or paralyzed by chasing down every opportunity and every potential path.

Trying to choose from everything in the world will only lead to confusion!

But knowing that God wants you to use your gifts for His kingdom will help lead you to accomplish what mission He has for you.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds much better to me!

  • Have you ever felt overwhelmed at the variety of choices available?
  • Have you really assessed what you are good at?
  • What are your specific gifts and talents?

Let us know below!

And check out these related posts from the archives:

About Author

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and founder of the Transformed4More Ministries that she runs with her identical twin sister. It is her desire to reach struggling teenagers and tell them about the transformative power and love of God. Her book, "So, You Think You Are Ready to Date?" released in October 2017.

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  • Bliss

    Great reminder that it’s not “anything and everything” we should be considering or deciding between, but looking for ways to use the gifts, talents and passions God has given us to bring glory to Him.
    Thank you for this post!