How the Search for God’s Will Led Me To “Mr. Right”

This author details how finding the 'right one' was just a career change away, which she took to search for God's will.
Author’s engagement photo. Photo credit: Van De Steene Photography

I am a lover of to-do lists, of busyness, of full calendars.

I’m a firm believer in the adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” I tend to discount the need for “down time.”

So, when the longing for a spouse and a family filled my soul, you better believe that I was owning the Tinder and Bumble worlds like it was nobody’s business.

In a city of 2.7 million, surely I would find the right person if I went on enough dates.

This was my prayer, my plea, my can-do attitude when the grind of dating would start wearing on me and despair would begin to set in. For all I knew, the man I was looking for was just on the other side of a swipe.

Thus, you can imagine my hesitancy when an out-of-the-blue job offer proposed I take a job in a city with 2.6 million fewer people, far less variety, far fewer restaurants and friends — and not a single rooftop bar.

The voice inside my heart was urging me to give this new opportunity a chance, but I loved my current job, my current bustling big city, my current life. And moving to small town America? More than anything, I was terrified that I would be single for life.

I had always said I was “open to life,” open to God’s will — but taking this leap of faith in my career meant I was also surrendering my well laid out, albeit not-that-successful, plans for my dating life.

Yet, this new job seemed to be where I was called to make a difference. This school and its leadership seemed to have a unique focus that I needed to explore.

One question kept me pondering: Could following my heart on a job opportunity lead to doing God’s will and therefore lead to personal happiness?

Surely, God knew the longings of my heart. Surely, He would not be leading me astray.

With a sometimes forced smile and barely concealed tears, I said goodbye to my former students and former life and greeted my new colleagues and new students. I begged everyone I met to be my friend.

And in this moment of complete surrender, God was able to work. One of those early friends soon became someone to whom I felt a pull, much like a moth to light. Free of the distractions of my big-city former life and more intentional in my interactions, I marveled when that friendship turned into a romance, that romance into a relationship, and that relationship into an engagement.

In a city where I see someone I know every time I leave my house, I could no longer hide behind a veil of anonymity and had to be authentically myself at all times. Finding a rich faith community, I was challenged to grow closer to God. And in this city with far fewer “fish in the sea,” I found the most generous, faith-filled, loving man I could have ever hoped to find.

God’s call is not always so instantly gratifying, I am well aware. God’s timeline in this matter of the heart was light-years slower than the timeline I had outlined when I mapped out my life.

Yet, in my surrender to try to follow God’s will — which at the time seemed paradoxical, confusing, and counterintuitive — only then was I able to find the peace and love that I had tried so diligently to find on my own.
Grotto quote graphic about finding the right one that reads, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." —quote by William Hutchison Murray.

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Annie and Paul were married in the summer of 2018. Listen to the audio below to get a sneak peek of the celebrant’s homily:

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