Anyone who knows me well knows that my life long dream was to be a lawyer.
In 5th grade, I told my classroom’s DARE officer about this dream and, in response, he gave me an outdated version of his rule book (which I actually read a few times). In middle school, I joined drama to work on my presentation and work on hiding my nervousness when I “performed”. In high school, I joined a debate team and competed in the Student Congress category to try to sharpen my on-the-spot debate skills. And when I went to college, I pursued a Political Science [PoliSci] degree on a pre-law track in the hopes to finally start working on my dream.
I should’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
I should’ve attended FIU Law and graduated from that too.
I should’ve moved to an apartment in Brickell.
I should be working on getting my last name on the company sign and becoming a partner.
I should’ve been a lawyer.
I wanted be a lawyer, but God didn’t choose to write my story that way.
I know I just wrote a whole post about not looking at the past, but the death of this dream actually demonstrates an important point; God knows what is best for us, even if we may not think so.
See, I’ve worked at law firms; three, in fact (two big ones and one boutique one). At my first firm, I realized quickly that this dream wasn’t what I thought it was. I did my job (and then some), but the entire time, I couldn’t help but feel I was “working for the bad guys” (we primarily did Insurance Defense law, which basically means we were the attorneys for big companies doing their best not to pay people what was owed to them). I hated it. I had borderline panic attacks thinking about working for the rest of my life for people who were (legally) cheating other people and doing them wrong.
The two other law firms I worked for weren’t as heavily into Insurance Defense as the first one was, but something still didn’t sit right with me. I remember having a conversation with one of the associates at my second firm. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life (he had rightfully assumed I didn’t want to stay a receptionist/administrative assistant for my entire life) and I answered by summing up much of what I have written here.
And I will never forget his response for as long as I live; “The fact that you can see ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in this field means you are too good to be a lawyer“.
I realized something that day. It was not that I was “too good to be a lawyer” (we are all depraved and fall short of the glory of God), but I did realize that one of God’s gifts to me was a burden for justice in this world.
It’s what makes my heart race and my fist clench when I see someone treating another human being as “less than”. It’s why small comments made by Christians who “don’t quite understand grace” make me clench my teeth and can set me off (just read this post called “Grace & The Unplanned Pregnancy” to see that play out). It’s what fills me with anger when yet another black life is taken at the hand of racist men and all Christians choose to say in response is “well, all lives matter, you know!”. It’s what frustrates me when I try to show others where they could improve on social issues, but all I get in response is “you’re a demon worshipping liberal” (or some less dramatic form of that). It’s what makes me sob when I see families being torn apart because of fear-driven policy, yet others are focused on the fact that they entered illegally. It’s that feeling, the only time when I get legitimately angry at someone or something. It’s a fire deep in my soul.
And that fire that burns for justice has been there all along.
It’s what drew me to law in the first place. Through it, I believed I could change people’s lives for the better. Truth is, were I to pursue law now, maybe I still could. Maybe I could become an immigration attorney or a defense attorney and help people. Maybe I could do Intellectual Property law. Maybe I could do Corporate law and help different ministries and non-profits.
Maybe…but I still think God didn’t chose to write my story that way.
Maybe He allowed me to do badly at school so that I wouldn’t waste 7-9 years of my life seeking a career I would end up hating. Maybe, he allowed me to hold a low-risk job at a law firm to give me just enough of a taste to know I wouldn’t like it. Maybe, just maybe, all of that training I did to be a better lawyer was meant for something else entirely (like apologetics, which I also love) and I was never meant to step foot inside of a courtroom.
No, God didn’t choose to write my story that way.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t do all the things I should. There are plenty of protests that I wanted to attend, but didn’t. There are ideas I’ve had (like one for a Christian political roundtable show) that I didn’t try to bring into fruition. Trust me, I may say I have an intense desire for justice in this world, but I also fail all the time at doing anything to bring change. I’ve stayed silent when someone made a racist comment for fear of losing my job (that person had the power to fire me on the spot). I’ve failed to write/call senators, etc. There are times when I did speak up, but there are also times when I haven’t. I have been guilty, more than once, of swinging too far to the other side and not acting Christlike towards brothers and sisters in the faith for their political beliefs.
And I don’t know exactly how any of the gifts God has given me fit into the bigger picture…but maybe, just maybe, it’s not for me to know just yet.
I should’ve been a lawyer, but I’m not…and praise God for that.
Grace & Peace,