It’s graduation day. You impatiently stand in the blistering heat with the other graduates, waiting for the sweet relief of sitting in the shade. To your right is that guy you always got put in group projects with that didn’t really do any work. To your left is the girl with whom your only interactions have been giving that half smile as you pass by on the way to class. You listen to the guest speaker whose empowering speech will be forgotten in about five minutes. You wait through what feels like millions of names being announced, with all of their degrees and honors declared to the crowd. When it’s finally your turn to walk, you face the row of professors you never had, ready to shake your hand, give you a piece of paper, and forget about you forever. You take the paper, sit back down, and wait through another couple million names. And then, that’s it. You’re done.
So now what?
Maybe you already have a job or graduate program lined up, are in a committed relationship, and have your own apartment or house. Or maybe you have no idea what you’re doing with your life after college, are more single than Toby from The Office, and have to move back in with your parents to save money. Regardless of how far along in life we feel we are, we all experience the fears and questions that come with graduating college. Who will I be? Where is my life going? Am I on the right track? Entering adulthood after graduation can be a stressful and confusing time, but if we are willing, it can be a time of discovery and growth as well. Here are some questions that come up as we enter the working world, along with some responses God and the Bible have for us.
What do I want to do with my life?
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6:34 MSG
Like this scripture says, it’s hard not to get worked up about our future. Even if we initially have our career all planned out, changes happen and life takes us along paths we never expected. When I graduated last June, I had committed to a graduate program that would start that August. Nine months later, I now work at a new job in a new field. At first, I felt embarrassed. I felt like the time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life was during college, so I felt behind all of my peers. I saw friends getting job promotions, progressing in their master’s, and pursuing their dream careers. But the more I talked about my minor existential crisis with the people around me, the more I discovered I wasn’t alone. It is common to be undecided on a career path after graduation and even more common to switch career paths once or twice early on. Though I may not know what is ahead for me, I do know that I can trust God to help me along the way.
Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.
Colossians 3:23 TPT
When we pour our heart and soul into everything we do, we actually gain more clarity in what we want to do. Approaching life halfheartedly will hinder our ability to discover what we are passionate about. No one wants to live with regret, wondering if they had tried harder or been more committed, would they have actually enjoyed what they were doing? But when we are wholehearted in everything we do, no matter how mundane, we gain a better understanding of where God is leading us and enjoy the process along the way.
Who will I be?
Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.
Psalm 139:23 VOICE
We are constantly redefining ourselves and discovering who we are. Most of us can be confident in saying that we are very different people than when we graduated high school. Now is a time to keep exploring and figuring out who we are, what or who influences us, and what we believe in. When we let God in on this process by praying and reading scriptures, he can help us dig in places we never would have thought of exploring. When we have a clear understanding of who we are, this clarity can help us make big decisions, like what we want to do with our lives and what we want our relationships to look like. When we have this sense of clarity and confidence no matter what comes our way, we can ask the same question asked at the beginning, but instead of with fear, it can be asked with anticipation and excitement:
To learn more about how to discover who you are and what you are made for, come to our Spring Campus Retreat, “Made for This” on April 6-7.