I followed the formula.
I got good grades in High School and got into a good college. I got good grades in college and got into a good law school. I passed the bar. I got a job. I got a better paying job. I opened my own firm.
That is supposed to be the formula for success. The way I was raised, your education was your ticket to a comfortable, reasonably secure life. Get your degree, punch your ticket, do your job, get married, buy a house, have kids… upper middle class, here we come. Someone forgot to tell the marketplace.
There are now seven (7!) law schools in North Carolina alone, pumping out graduates every year, the vast majority of whom want to do what I like to do: try cases. Sure there are aspiring patent attorneys here, an occasional appellate advocate or contract or tax specialist there, but let’s be real: most of us went to law school to try cases like the guys on TV. Supply and demand being what they are, when supply goes up, demand goes down. It suffices to say that a small town trial attorney like me commands less per hour than most tradesmen.
At times, I’ve thought, “I should’ve been an electrician.” Or a plumber, or a mechanic, or a chef. If I can’t make the income I thought I would, at least I would have something of value, a finished product, that I could point to at the end of a job and say, “I made that.”
I do like to cook. That’s my outlet right now. Frankly, with intolerances to gluten, dairy and eggs in my family, they need me to cook. And I end up with a finished product to admire. I follow a recipe, and it turns out like it’s supposed to.
Aaaah… there’s that formula again.
It’s the pride and selfishness of my desire to have control creeping in. I struggle in my life with giving up control to God, surrendering to His purposes, seeking His will and leaving the results to Him.
It’s not necessarily bad to take control in your life. My problem is that I tend to use Him as the escape pod when I steer into the supernova rather than let him pilot the ship. The question is: are you Chekov or are you Kirk (nerdy metaphor alert?) Do you seek His direction before you steer your ship, or do you want to give the orders?
As an attorney and as a Christ-follower, the results of my work are less tangible, but just as real. Since I began to treat my practice of law as a ministry rather than a profession, I’ve begun to have a lot more satisfaction in my work. I worry about the little things like evidence and law and strategy, and the bigger things like my client and their satisfaction and their lives, and leave the issues like new clients or my reputation or my income up to Him. Likewise, when I talk to others about God or life or salvation or afterlife, I try to be satisfied with being genuine, honest, and compassionate, and leave the rest to God.
I just need to remember that doing that produces something of value.