“What do you want to do when you grow up?” The teacher should have been teaching Spanish, but he decided to give the fifth grade class a special, inspirational, forward-looking session.

One arm in the back of the class shot skyward. A handsome, athletic-looking, young man with neatly woven braids answered quickly. “I want to be a NBA star.”

“NO!” This Spanish teacher wasn’t interested in pipe dreams. “You have less than a one-percent chance of that actually happening. What’s your backup plan?”

“Uh, I guess I’ll play football if basketball doesn’t work out.”

The Spanish teacher rolled his eyes and squelched the ensuing giggles before moving on to the next student.

As an observer in the classroom, I couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy for the poor kid having his dreams publicly stomped out. At the same time, I recognized the truth behind the teachers’ words, particularly considering the student’s height.

We expect young people to make important decisions that will affect their lives. Those who commit to a particular career path early, have an advantage over those who take their time deciding. Still most students have a hard time figuring out how they should devote their time.

This isn’t just children. Many adults readily admit that they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Is there a perfect path in front of each person? If we can just find that path, will we flow into abundance, riches, fame, and success? Probably not. Making important life decisions is hard. Our lives are at stake.

I tend to overthink difficult decisions. But this verse encourages me, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”Acts 15:28. Just as we hope that our children will learn to use their best judgement to make good decisions, so too, I think that God expects each of us to pray and think, but ultimately choose as wisely as we can. If it seems good to the Holy Spirit and good to us, that’s good enough for me.

How do you face tough choices?


Ellen BenefieldEllen spent most of a decade as a missionary in a low-income neighborhood in Mazatlan, Mexico, Now she’s starting a new adventure in Central Illinois. God’s love and grace has guided her through all of life’s crazy ups and downs. She hopes to follow where the Holy Spirit leads and encourage others to do the same. She lives with her husband and three sons in Peoria, Illinois.