When Hearing “No” is a Good Thing

My career path has been a winding one thus far. I entered college coming from a small school in the burbs of Atlanta, took a world religion class, and quickly changed my major to religion. I thought I would become a teacher, but it turns out teaching without having studied education is not so easy. After I graduated with my religion degree, I married my high school sweetheart, Ryan, and began teaching. As much as I loved those sweet kids, I grew more and more uncertain about teaching as the year went on. My school was also a hike from where we lived, and I really thought commuting was going to be the death of me. Sometimes I’d turn a corner thinking I was home free, only to see cars lined up at a light that stayed green for 9 about seconds. I’m not kidding when I say sometimes I actually cried upon seeing that. It was a hard year, y'all. I began looking for teaching jobs closer to our home, praying before and after every application and every interview. God answered me with a resounding, “No.” 

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Finding a new job wasn’t working out, so I turned my attention to graduate school. I took a nannying position closer to home and started the process of applying to Georgia State. I had it all mapped out. One year of nannying, then back to school. But this wedding planning idea began to grow and kept growing. I still followed wedding blogs and my own amazing vendors on social media. My mind would swirl with ideas and I found myself truly sad that I didn’t get to pursue any of them. I wanted to plan another wedding, but I’d already had mine!

I had planned Ryan and I’s Atlanta wedding as a college student in Columbia, SC. I’d finished my finals, graduated, moved home to ATL, and got married all within a two week period. You’d think that would be extremely stressful, but I’d loved every minute of it. Why I hadn’t I discovered my desire to be a wedding planner right then and there? 

So after a year of teaching I decided to make a huge switch and go for my wedding planning dream. I researched, watched webinars, played with color palettes, gradients, and mood boards, met other wedding professionals for coffee, peppered them with questions, and did a little work assisting on their weddings. Three incredibly gracious couples even allowed me to practice on their weddings. It has been scary, vulnerable, exciting, tiring, and lots of fun. Wedding planning inspires infinitely more creativity, hard work, and growth in me than teaching ever did. 

If God had given me the teaching jobs I’d asked him for, I never would’ve been able to pursue weddings. He gave me the opportunity to use my talents for the benefit of engaged couples, coming alongside them and lifting the stress of planning right off their shoulders. I get to guide them through the confusing world of 48” rounds, blushers, dupioni linens, cascading bouquets, and chivari chairs (As a bride, I didn’t know what to do with any of those words, either.)

Like a good father, he knows what I need better than I do. This career has challenged me to pray, to seek his wisdom, to remember that my security rests in his hands and not in mine. He did not give me the teaching position I hoped for, but he gave me more of himself. For once in my life I am thankful even for his “no.”