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You Can’t Steer a Stagnant Ship

Do you know what it is you are supposed to do with your life? Do you know what degree you’re supposed to pursue right out of high school in order to become who you were destined to become? If you do, that’s great & I’m glad you have it figured out! It’s freeing to know your sense of purpose & which direction you’re supposed to take with the many choices that lay before you. For the other 99.9% of the population, purpose isn’t always that clear. In fact, purpose has been fleeting in every generation. I could list a bunch of stats right here from various educational studies, but I won’t. Just do a quick search on the state of higher education. You’ll be encouraged by the enrollment rates and then just as quickly be stunned by the lack of completion rates year after year. Better yet, do an internal investigation & ask yourself, “Do I feel satisfied with where I am in life? Do I have purpose that drives me each day?” Most people have no idea what to do with their lives. I know I sure didn’t for many years.

Since graduating from high school, I could have a doctorate with the amount of credits I have. I’ve switched my major 5 different times. I had a gifting or a leaning toward each of my studies I pursued, but as those semesters rolled by I realized, “This is not what I want to do with the rest of my life.” I couldn’t picture myself stuck as a graphic designer and only being a graphic designer for the rest of my life. I couldn’t picture being a nurse or a sports physical therapist the rest of my life. Ya, I realize those are pretty diverse subjects. When it boiled down, I didn’t know what I wanted. Then I’d quit. I’d quit school & I’d quit pursuing a degree. I know I wanted more in life. I was so frustrated not knowing what to do & what to pursue. I was spinning my wheels & wasting time & money. Or so I thought.

I needed advice. I needed direction. Thank God He leads you to the right people in your life when you need it the most. I was a freshman at LaRoche College on the North Side of Pittsburgh, PA. I began my first semester as a Graphic Design student. I was an artist. I was good at art. I won many art awards, inducted into the National Art Honor Society, & was named “Best in Show” in my graduating class. My mother, Barbara Grimm, was a freelance artist. You can still see her artwork on display in many galleries.

Image of painting of lake
Image of painting of waterfall

So naturally I thought, “Well I guess I should pursue art. It’s what I’m good at.” I hated every minute of it. I dreaded classes & I dreaded the thought that this is what I would have to do for a living. “I already know how to do this?! What am I doing here?”, were recurring thoughts. After that first semester I came home & didn’t look back. Frustrated, I decided to take a gap year. I ended up in Garden Valley, TX, at an internship for missionaries wanting to make a positive impact on this world. That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I felt passionate about. I wanted to have a positive impact! I discovered my motivation. But I sure didn’t want to be a missionary. I just thought I did. What I was attracted to was this idea that there is a greater purpose beyond me. I wanted to leave a positive lasting impact on people’s lives for eternity. This is what I was drawn to. Needless to say, I didn’t stay more than 8 months. I left & moved back home, but I carried back with me a sense of a greater calling in my life that would influence others for good.

Many things happened here in this journey home that shaped me for the rest of my life & led me to where I am today running a successful, multi-million dollar business. We’ll glean from telling these stories in the future. (Like the time I ran away to Nashville, Tennessee.) But for now, I reconnected with my most recent youth pastor at the time, Carl, & his wife, Norma. They poured wisdom into me time & again over late night meals at Denny’s or even at their home when I’m sure they’d rather be in bed. Sometimes I listened & other times I acted on my impulses only to wind up in the same position. Frustrated. They realized I needed direction. The best thing they did for me was guide the ship that wouldn’t stop moving. Sometimes you don’t know the direction you’re headed in life & that’s ok. You don’t always have to have it all figured out. The worst thing you can do is give up & stop moving. You can’t steer a stagnant ship. What good is a vessel if it doesn’t take you anywhere. But I also learned quickly that all of life cannot be an unplanned adventure. It’s careless, dangerous, wasteful, & hurts the ones you love the most. I had to quickly learn how to take control of the helm instead of driving aimlessly. I may not have had it all together. I may not have had a 5 year plan. But one thing I had was a passion for more in life. I was willing to follow that desire to discover more. I was born for something more & I was going to find it!

Every single one of us have that innate desire & longing for the possibilities of what could be in life. Each one of us are born with a desire for something more that will leave a lasting legacy. We want to know that our lives counted for something. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says, “…He has planted eternity in the human heart…” Sometimes we just have to get the ship moving. Make a decision. Take the first step. Do something, even if you can’t picture yourself doing that thing for the rest of your life. Once you’ve got forward motion it’s time to steer the ship & chart the course to your next destination. But how do we get there, & where is the next destination? We’ll discover that together in our next pursuit…