I like having plans, doesn’t everybody? I like knowing what my next move is and I like being to assume the future. I had a plan. It was a good one (to me), it was simple and dependable.
It took me a year of community college before I decided I would pursue journalism as my career. I started out as a business major thinking it would be stable and safe. With news shifting from print to digital, journalism is definitely not stable or safe. It took a lot of God working in my heart to learn I could lean on Him for that stability and that He would provide for my needs. It’s more important to follow God’s will for my life and that is more freeing than any plan I could dream up.
Even after I started pursuing journalism, I still had tunnel vision. I planned to get my degree and then go work for a daily newspaper or newswire. I would try to gain diverse skills of course, like photography and videography, so that I would be a more versatile journalist, but I could only work for a secular news organization. I initially rejected the idea of working for any Christian organization because I was always taught that it wasn’t “real journalism.” I had a plan and God didn’t get to change that.
Aren’t we funny with our plans?
Someone at a Bible study handed me a VOM newsletter and when I looked at it, I thought: this is a form of journalism. It’s a very different form than I’m used to, but a form nonetheless. A writer had to interview someone and get the story, they had to transcribe the interview and decide the most important parts to write about and then they had to write it.
After seeing the newsletter, it was always in the back of my mind. I could do that, I thought. Wouldn’t it be cool if God used my journalism skillset for something like that? Wait. No, that’s not part of the plan. And there’s no way God would use me in something that cool.
Aren’t we funny with our plans?
I started following VOM on Facebook and one day, they posted about summer internship opportunities. I thought: I have most of those job requirements, that job description looks pretty perfect for me. I should apply just so I won’t kick myself for not applying later on. But, there’s still no way God would use me in something that cool right?
Well, I got the internship and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Oklahoma. I’ve been here for a month and I love working here. During my first few weeks, I was completely ready to stay here if God called me. I love working for an organization that has so many different facets and a clear purpose that everyone is working toward in one way or another using their own gifts. And every time I learned something new about VOM, I loved it even more. But then, through different conversations with my roommate and others, I realized that everyone that works here has something they bring to VOM. They all take their experiences from their lives and past jobs that help them contribute to VOM. Right now, I’m an intern, I’m here to learn and glean from VOM. Right now, I bring very little to the table. Right now, I still have a lot to learn and VOM is helping me learn it.
God has been opening my eyes to the endless possibilities that could be my career path. Every Tuesday we have chapel with a different speaker, each with an amazing story. It’s been at these services where God has opened my eyes the most. I already knew that journalism is not just writing or taking photos. I knew the many other sides of journalism, and I knew how important they all are. But I never saw myself doing any of them. Now I can see God using me in anything with my foundation in journalism. Whether it be in radio or documentary or photography or writing, God can use me for His glory. And that’s exciting.
I see where I need to grow and what I need to learn before I can bring anything significant to the table for any organization. There’s so many areas of skill I should develop and God still has me in school where I can actually do that.
God has a plan for me. Whether it’s to follow a more traditional career path of a journalist or to go work for a Christian organization or something completely different, I should be open and willing to go wherever God leads. The plan for my life is not my own, it’s God’s.
Valerie O. is finishing up her summer internship at The Voice of the Martyrs. This fall she will be a junior at California State University, Long Beach studying journalism. She first heard of VOM through a Bible study when someone handed her a VOM newsletter. Since then, she has felt drawn to VOM and its primary goal and has desired for God to use her skillset to help in reaching that goal.