Learning to Adult: Difficult Decisions

I’ve always been pretty independent. So, like most young and inexperienced teenagers, I jumped at the chance to start making my own real life decisions the moment I finished high school.

The funny thing, though, is that for the first time in a long time I’m faced with a decision that I don’t think I have the answer to. I used to think I knew what was best for me. I used to think that if I wanted something bad enough it was something that I needed to do. But now I’m learning that being an adult and making adult decisions is hard, and I don’t always have the right answer.

I’m also learning that sometimes there might not even be a right answer. Or, if there is, it might not be clear what that answer is right now. Let me present you with my decision-making problem to try to make a little bit more sense:

I’ve been saying for a while now that I am planning on moving to England. I have a place in the Master’s program at the University of Essex, and the original plan was for me to move there this autumn.

But sometimes plans change. Well, kind of. I know I’m going to England. I know that I want to go to Essex. I know that I will work my way there eventually. But right now I’m kind of questioning my decision to leave this year.

I have student loans to pay off. I have a personal loan from Oxford that, small as it is compared to my other loans, needs to be paid off soon. I have medical bills that need to be taken care of before I leave the U.S. I’m not worried about paying these things off, but I am concerned about how much of them I can take care of in less than one year.

I am so blessed to have two jobs right now, but my question now is this: Do I work this year and save up just enough money to get through one year of grad school, or do I stay home another year so that I can be a bit more financially stable when I do move to England?

I know that I can pay off what I need to pay off in loans and have enough money for one year in England by time September rolls around. The problem, however, is that I will only have enough money saved to live in England for one year.

So what happens at the end of that year? Will I have to come back home? Will I be able to get a job and support myself while I wait to start working towards my PhD?

These are the questions that I’m wrestling with right now that I think I need to think about them carefully, but there are other questions that make the whole decision-making process even harder: is fear of financial insecurity just a crutch to stay home longer? I want to move to England, but is there a part of me that is still afraid of making such a life-changing decision? Is it foolish of me to want to move to England without knowing for sure that I can afford to stay there past the length of my initial program?

And of course, the question so many people keep asking me: am I trusting God with this decision?

I do trust God. I know he has a plan. But how do I know I’m following that plan? Going to England this year feels right, but does it feel that way for the right reason? And the same question applies to waiting one more year for grad school.

Both options, quite honestly, have reasons tied to my own selfishness and desire to have control. I want to take charge and move to England and go to grad school to prove to myself and the world that I can survive. But I also want to do it with a sense of financial security. Why, though? I’ve never been financially secure in my life. Is it irresponsible to hope and pray that I’ll figure out later how to afford living on my own in another country? Part of me says yes, but part of me says “I know I can do it.” But can I?

I know these are all questions that can’t really be answered right now. Or if they can, I’m not looking at the right thing to find that answer.

I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I do know that I’m going to pray and trust that God has the answer. He has been teaching me a lot about patience and waiting the last couple of years, and I’m hoping that I can continue to trust him while I wait for the right answer.

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