To the Graduate, College Student, & Young Adult.... 7 bits Hallmark and everyone else are not telling you

This past weekend my little sister graduated from college. It is crazy how quickly her high school years went by. I think her big moment hit me even harder because my own graduation came right before she started roaming those halls. Being there in my high school gymnasium flooded back memories. It took me back to the moment that I too walked across that orange carpet to receive my diploma. It took me back to the speech I made at graduation and how I though I had all the world figured out. It took me back to the moment that I decided where I was going to college after wrestling for months. It took me back to celebrating with my friends after and knowing that nothing would ever be the same. More than anything though, it reminded me of the girl I WAS.
I was a small girl with BIG dreams. I wanted to be a doctor... an OB-GYN to be exact. I wanted to be a wife and a mom, in ministry to my community, and be a practicing OB by 30. I was determined and no one would stand in my way... and to be honest no one tried to. My family, teachers, and friends  were behind me 100%. Everyone was cheering me on for success. Though I had great intentions and so did many others who spurred me on, I fear that I deceived myself. Looking back on who I was, who I wanted to be, and what I viewed as success I realize that if I had pictured the version of me that I am now... I would have classified my life as failure.
If you're new to my blog and don't know my story the short of it is this... After my 3rd year of college and a year of wrestling with God I gave in and surrendered my life to HIS plan. This led me to not complete my senior year, drop everything, move to DE to work for a church plant, be a nanny, and get married. These last two years have been an amazing journey, but if I had continued chasing "success" and  took the advice of most surrounding me... I would have missed it all.
(You can check out the full story here at My Ministry Journey.)
So all that being said I want to give you my 2 cents. Hopefully your parents or teachers won't be tracking me down to blast me for this post... but I wish someone would have said this to me 5 years ago.
This is complete contradiction to the "set your goals and do whatever it takes to get there" speech. I'm not saying you shouldn't set goals and that you shouldn't aim for success. The Bible does say "whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men" (Col. 3.23). However God also tells us that "many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand" (Pro. 19.21). Don't be so set on your goals that you are unwilling to follow where He leads you.
I guarantee everyone reading this has received at least 1 card that has "Follow your dreams" written on it. If I had followed my "dreams" I would have been a doctor, missionary, songwriter, midwife, author, youth leader, lawyer, senator, teacher, and stay-at-home mom. Get my point? You will have MANY, MANY dreams. God at different times has beautifully woven some of those dreams into my life and I believe some He still will. However many of those were dreams that are not part of my journey and probably never will be. The cool thing is that all of the ones that God has weaved into my life have only been possible by the coordination of the Great Coordinator Himself. He molds your dreams to use you for His glory! Don't miss that!
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." (Ps. 37.4-5)
At the same time the majority of people are asking "so have you met anyone yet?" they're also saying, "Just focus on you. Get your degree, become successful and theing about having a family." This always seemed to baffle me. I did start college with the thought of graduating college and even medical school before starting a family. I'm not saying you shouldn't get a degree before getting married but I'm not saying you should either. I'm saying that as you make decisions as a young adult you should take in consideration if you desire to have a family.
YOUNG WOMEN: If one of your biggest desires is to be a mom and you feel called like many to stay home with your children PLEASE do not go into debt for an education you won't use. Am I saying you sit on your bum and do nothing? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Learn a trade that you can do from your home. Become a nanny and learn more about raising kids. Find godly women in your community and ask them to mentor you. Serve in your church diligently. Learn to cook every meal you can. Clean houses for pay. Save your money! If  you do not feel called to stay at home with you kids then think about jobs that will not take you from your family crazy amounts of time. Pursue something you can do part time. Become a teacher. Research jobs you can do at home or make your own schedule.
YOUNG MEN: SAVE SAVE SAVE! You also should consider a future family in your career making decisions. Many men provide their family with extreme luxury but never invest time in them. Whether you feel led to pursue a degree or start working immediately or join the military, begin making provisions now. I hear my husband say to young, single men so often "save your money."
TO BOTH: Obviously you can't base your whole life plan on hoping to find a wife or husband. However if you do desire to have a family one day it is a crazy selfish philosophy the world has given to just think of yourself.
"Let each of you not only look to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil. 2.4)
While on the topic of family... many will tell you that you will meet your spouse in college. I went off to a small Christian college certain that I would meet my husband there. The common phrase there, like many other schools, was "Ring by Spring." Not only was this crazy pressure to start dating someone but many of my friends who dated in college felt as if this must be the one because it was the perfect love story. I would have never guessed that meeting my husband would have happened the way it did. God is surprising. Don't limit Him.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are MY ways higher than your ways and MY thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Is 55.8)
If you just graduated I'm sure you've heard that "your glory days are over." Don't get me wrong, I LOVED high school and it did hold some of the best days of my life! We had an extremely close friend group and I was involved in everything coming and going. BUT every season is what you make of it. Some of the best days have also been in the last five years... examples: moving into college, leading a dear friend to Christ, my first Sunday at LifeHouse, getting engaged, my wonderful wedding day, and sharing my first Christmas with my husband. I also know there are more "best days" to come.
"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning... say not, 'Why were the former days better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask this." (Eccl 7.8 & 10)
You are unique! God made you that way! Your stories are all different! The world wants to say the "the appropiate plan for everyone is High School, College, job or more college." I have a friend who gave up finishing her degree to be a stay at home mom. Another who didn't feel called to go to college right away so she served as a church intern instead. My husband and his dad both are in the military. I would consider all of these people successful in my book. Don't get tied down to getting a 4 year degree right out of school. Go where God leads you. If that's college great. If it is not... great too!
"You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy." (Ps 16.11)
The message many new grads are fed today is "Live it up! You're only 20 once!" They're right but they're wrong at the same time. You should ENJOY life. Live life! Love life. However what many people are insinuating is "party hard, don't think about consequences, just have fun." Please don't take the next four years as a ticket to live drenched with sin having no regard for your Lord. I promise God will fill you up with joy and you can have many great times without every getting drunk, losing your virginity, or experimenting with sinful desires. Remember that you were "bought with a price" and you are called to live a holy life and there is pleasure in that.
"You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." (Ps. 4.7)
Here's the point... the point of this blog... the point of life... Seek the Lord, Obey the Lord, Enjoy the Lord! Follow the Holy Spirit on whatever crazy adventures He takes you on and don't be bound by any box the world puts you in. I pray and know you'll be blessed in doing that.



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