Gilland: Seeing the end before the beginning

Mike Gilland, far right, working as a TV weatherman in 1977.
Mike Gilland, far right, working as a TV weatherman in 1977.
Courtesy of Mike Gilland

Decisions, decisions…we all face them. No one ever said that it was easy to choose the right career, the right spouse, or even the right place to live. No, life is rather complicated, for sure. But it is not impossible.

Like many young college students, I thought my career direction was set. I was going to be an elementary teacher, with an emphasis on teaching math. A good friend of mine had this for a degree, and it seemed like the best fit for me too.

Things went well until the second semester of my freshman year, when I participated in a new class that was aimed at helping college students determine if teaching in the public schools was their true desire. 

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This class allowed me to do something very similar to what was previously only available during student teaching, and that didn’t happen until the student’s senior year. For this class, I was given college credit to “intern” at a public school in our area, and assist in teaching basic concepts. 

Well, for me, the class accomplished its goal. First, I learned that the only available jobs for young teachers would be in large metropolitan cities, and in their urban schools. At that stage of my life, I had no desire to make such a move. 

Second, I had to admit that I didn’t have the desire to do what teachers of that day were having to endure in these schools. While I was grateful for and respected the teachers with whom I worked, I came to realize that it just wasn’t a good fit for me after all.

This put me at a crossroads: What should I do now? That question was a daily headline in my mind until a very special and quite unexpected conversation occurred with my speech professor. 

The course had been required for my teaching major, and it was led by an adjunct professor who was the program director for the CBS affiliate TV station in our area. He talked to me after class, stating that “I don’t think you’re happy in your major.” He was right. 

Mike Gilland in a radio studio in 1987.
Courtesy of Mike Gilland Mike Gilland in a radio studio in 1987.

“You should consider broadcasting, changing your major to communications,” he told me. 

That discussion opened up a path that I had never considered. But as I looked into it, and prayed over this decision, my heart was put at peace. Doors began to open, and I found myself on a rather fast track into the world of broadcasting.

I would stay with that path as a full-time career for the next 11 years—until the next interruption occurred. That was call into ministry. And during all of my 36 years of ministry, I maintained a connection with broadcasting through voiceover work and occasional part-time jobs for fun and extra income. 

Now, for the last four years, I find myself back in the radio industry. I could never have imagined the future bumps and turns in the road back during that first conversation with my professor. None of us can see the end from the beginning.

In Proverbs 3:5-6, we read:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

What amazing advice from the Lord to us all. We can trust the Lord to lead us down the path that will become our life’s journey.

Mike Gilland in the Shepherd Radio Network studios.
Courtesy of Mike Gilland Mike Gilland in the Shepherd Radio Network studios.

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