We are well underway in the graduation season of 2015. It is an exciting time for all high schoolers as they get ready to bid farewell to their life in school. As I sit here today thinking about my sister who will graduate in just over a week, I have a flood of thoughts that I want to say to her. I want all graduates to know this, actually.
So here it goes…
Dear Lily (and all high school graduates),
First off, congratulations!!! Wow, I was where you are just a few short years ago. High school really is no joke and it truly is a huge accomplishment graduating. You deserve a round of applause! Know that I am so proud of you and excited to see what will unfold in your life.
Now, you have probably gotten a slew of people telling you the sky’s the limit. You are free to make your own choices now. You can do whatever it is you want. Follow your heart’s desires and you will be happy in life.
But that’s not what I am here to say to you.
Following your heart is the last thing you should do. It is filled with earthly desires and will leave you feeling empty (Jer. 17:9). I know, I sound so droll. But I promise you that there is another option that will fill your new chapter in life with more meaning that you can. Follow the Holy Spirit. Yes, “you can do anything you want to do” sounds like a sweet sentiment, but you won’t be able to understand God’s will if you are focusing on your will; because truthfully, much of the time the two don’t match up. Oftentimes it takes us a little while to 1) know His will and 2) desire His will. There have been plenty of times when God changed my heart’s desire to align with His will. There have also been times when I wanted something and then The Lord said “No, that isn’t My plan for you” and I didn’t like it at first. I had to want God’s will and I had to ask Him to change my heart. We don’t want to understand this because we cannot comprehend the fact that only God can see the whole picture – we only have one puzzle piece. So here’s my challenge to you as you graduate and even far beyond through different seasons of life: ask God for Him to make His will your desire. All of the sudden you will start living in a radically different way. A more fulfilling way.
If we aren’t careful, we will fall into this mindset of thinking that if it is God’s will it will happen easily. That is a lie. God often asks us to walk difficult paths. What we need to do is ask Him to light our way clearly and purpose to stay close by His side through prayer and devotion to His Word. Never back down from a challenge if you know that this is the Lord’s plan. He will be there right beside you the whole time, all you need to do is acknowledge His presence.
Follow God’s path for your life.
Seek His will: I cannot emphasize this enough. Seek. God’s. Will. It is sometimes a very difficult process to go through that takes time and even more waiting, but it is an invaluable part of the Christian walk. After graduating high school you have so many paths available to you. As you know, I took the path that lead me to stay home verses going off to college because that was the Lord’s will for me. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything. The Lord has lead me to do many, many different things that have stretched me and challenged me and I have the freedom to do that because of where God has placed me in this season of life. I wan that for you: freedom because your are in His will. Often I will read books or articles about girls who chose not to go to college and there is utter contempt for college-goers. “College is such a waste of time” is what I hear said frequently. Honestly, I think that is the worst thing they could say. College is a wonderful option – IF it is God’s will for you. There are many career paths that do require a college degree. However, if we really thought about it, many people do go straight to college simply because it is the next expected step. When, in fact, all they are doing is using up priceless years collecting debt and not serving God where He wants to use them. I think college is a waste of time for those who don’t belong there. I think college is also the best place you can be if it is where God is leading you. Always, always, always seek God’s will for your life – which may or may not include a college education.
Lean on Him instead of the opinions of others: I want to impress something on you. Never, ever let the opinion of any human being sit higher in your mind than what God has called you to do. It is absolutely impossible to make everyone you know approve of what you do. It will not happen. You must learn to lean on the Solid Rock and seek His approval rather than any other person, even if it is your best friend or a family member. Pray for guidance. Pray that those who are close to you will encourage and support you. But the most important thing to pray for is that God’s will be done in your life.
Don’t forget that the souls of men and the Word of God is what will last (not money, fame, etc.)
Ultimately, what I want you to understand is that you have the chance to make an impact to further the Kingdom of Heaven. Not that you didn’t in high school or any other stage in your Christian life thus far, because you most certainly did and I hope that you have taken advantage of times to spread God’s love ever since the time of your salvation. But now that you have finished your schooling and are entering a world that will let you do just about anything, I want you to remember that it is even more important now that you hold on to your Bible and God’s teaching. This is the time when you can rest assure twenty different things at any given moment will try to yank you into its (or their) direct and thwart you. A relationship, job, or college opportunity are good things, but only if they are from the Lord. Guard your heart from the temptation to accept any of these things if they are disguised as distractions to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Remember that if anything looks enticing, but goes against God’s Word, you need to flee from it. As followers of Christ our ultimate goal should be to see others come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. Do this by taking every opportunity to tell others about your Heavenly Father and living a life that is so unusual – because it is so full of Joy and Light – that they can’t help but ask what is different about you. Serve the Lord with passion. Rejoice in His name daily. Love others kindly, because by loving them you love the Lord.
I love you! I am so proud of all you have accomplished and I truly cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for you next. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart (Prov. 3:5). Get ready for life after high school – it isn’t what I expected, but it is a wonderful ride when I have Jesus takin’ the wheel. 😉
(To everyone) In closing, dear graduate, I want to tell you how excited I am for you in this ending of one chapter and beginning of another. There are so many emotions that run through us when we graduate – of excitement and worry for the future. Always put your trust in the Lord and you will find the most fulfilling future, even if you don’t understand where it is you are heading at first. If you do know where you are heading next because the Lord has revealed that next step to you, then I am thrilled for you! Do your best and always give everything up to the Lord. Be brave. Be passionate. Be in love with Jesus.
God bless you as you embark on your new adventure!