Congratulations! You have officially worn the hat and turned the tassel. You have closed your locker, walked down the grand staircase in the front lobby, and said goodbye to some people who have impacted your life even more than you even know right now.
You have made it past some drama.
You have been forced into creating time management skills.
You have gone from child to adult in only four short years.
And here you stand. I imagine you are excited to take on this world. I also imagine you are a little terrified as you enter the following chapter. You know what is funny, I just graduated college and I am too. It is a feeling that never really goes away when you are stepping out of a season and into the next, but it is also that feeling that is going to drive you to make moves–and lots of them.
Sister, I tell you this, because you I know you love Jesus with everything in you. I know you want so desperately to do what you can to glorify His name, but you don’t know where the balance between His kingdom and the world coincide. Take heart for His word has given us the answers.
Do not be persuaded by the luring of the world’s success.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him… The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15, 17
For the past four years, both test scores and the dreaded GPA have defined your success. Fashion sense has dictated popularity and friend groups determined invitations. You are going to enter a season where success is defined by paycheck and possessions. You will look at other people and be able to guess what they are doing with their own lives. You will fear that they will look at you. That they will see right through you. That they will question your choices. You will be pressured to find the perfect answer when someone asks, “so what do you want to do with that?”
Your major might sound great now, but you will be done with school before you know it. You may walk into the sweetest of jobs, but one day you will retire. You may make more money than you can even fathom, but you can’t take it with you.
Begin resisting the temptations and desires of this world now.
Don’t allow your success to be defined by the number of activities you can take place in because that will lead to believing your life is defined by a tax bracket. Define your life by relationships, yes with people, but more importantly, with Jesus.
Beloved, it is so much easier to resist desire for the world before you are in love with it than to push it away afterward. This time is integral. Use it to foster desires that matter, that place others before yourself, and that impact the kingdom of God.
No one has their life together–no matter how it looks.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
I don’t think anyone would have been able to convince me of this one when I was a freshman in college. When you are young, everything seems so much bigger and better than what you have now. College seniors are about to start their lives. Many are planning for marriage, some even have their own dog.
Hear me. If you do not have a family or career plan by the time you think you should–and you are seeking The Lord–you are not behind. The girl who gets married right out of college (or during if you’re me) is just as clueless about the next step as anyone else. Your friend who has internships every summer still worries about her competitive career realm.
Do not fix your eyes on a person you want to be like. Fix your eyes on Jesus: the Founder and Finisher of our Faith.
Fix your eyes on the one who made you, fearfully and wonderfully.
Walk in His ways, and He will give you His desires. He will make His will the only thing you want to run toward. The comparisons will diminish. His word and way will endure. The anxieties about the next step will fade because you will know that He is holding you. You will rest in His timing alone.
Create goals and implement discipline.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
As young adults, our brains are entering into the final stage of development. This is our last chance to take advantage of that sweet gift God has given us: the gift of easily developing habits. I have never, never spoken to a mature Christian who did not encourage getting into scripture and prayer regularly as a teenager or young adult.
Here’s an example.
It took me absolutely zero time in school to develop a habit of drinking coffee. I don’t even have to think about getting up in the morning and brewing a cup. I developed the habit of going to the gym in the early morning when I was preparing for my wedding. I developed the habit of turning on Netflix before I go to bed and calling my boyfriend (now husband) when I was frustrated and all kinds of things.
It was easy. It was easy because everything is new, so why not this?
Set goals. Yes, goals for your career and grades and logistical things. But first set goals for your relationship with Jesus. Set goals for your time with Him. Commit to reading scripture more than you read for class. Memorize a verse before you have your morning coffee. Pray for twenty minutes before bed instead of watching Gossip Girl.
You may regret your discipline in drinking coffee. You will very likely regret hours binge-watching TV. I can promise you, however, you will not regret spending time with Jesus. He promises to bless that time. He promises that those blessings will be eternal.
Know that the best is yet to come.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Finally, do not be swayed by the voices that tell you that this is it. That this is the last time you have in life to have fun. That these days will be the greatest.
Remind yourself, over and over, that the best and greatest of days have not been reserved for this earth. They are on the other side of eternity. They will be known for harmony. There won’t be compatition or comparison–only worship.
We were placed in this time and in this generation so specifically by our God. Not so that we can make the most money or even make the most difference, but so that we can proclaim His name in this place. Sister, in this place, in this time, you have been set apart by God. He knows the names of the people you will encounter. He knows the organizations you will take part in. He knows the sin you will struggle with. He knows the moments you will choose Him as well as the moments you will stray.
Dive head first into these years, but do it because you know that they will make an eternal mark on this place. Know that you are here to share the Gospel and everything else is just a stepping stone to that.
You may change your major 10 times.
You may struggle to find the right friend group.
You will probably have to re-learn how to eat healthy your sophomore year.
You will change. You will grow. It won’t be a walk in the park.
Make every decision, not for convenience, but for the Kingdom of God. Share your testimony with the one who struggles. Teach yourself about His word. Be disciplined by someone who will walk you through the struggles. Do it because you know that there is a world that will be far better than this one. Do it because you do not want to make a home here for it is only temporary. Be present where you are for the sake of Jesus–not worldly success.
I pray that this time is the most life-giving, joyous experience of your life. And I also pray that the next is greater. I pray it’s better because you love Him more and know Him better.
I pray you fall in love with your Bible.
I pray you can’t talk about Him enough.
I pray that He gives you strength to stay up later studying because you just couldn’t stop telling Him about your day.
I pray that others might know Him because they knew you.