“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This is graduation week for many high school seniors, including my niece. The excitement mixed with trepidation over the future fills graduates with expectation, hope, and nervous energy. They have finally reached adulthood! They finally get to make their own choices! They finally get to step out and see what they can do in this big, wide world!
No matter their choice of college, technical school, gap year, or straight into the workforce, they now get to be the master of their own destiny. Some will soar off to great heights, some will hunker down at home, some will cautiously step forward and test the waters before choosing a direction. But all will make a choice. Even those who feel they have no choice in their future will make a choice.
Do what is expected, do what is right, do what feels good, do what you think you have to do. Or don’t. Don’t do the expected, don’t follow the right path, don’t do what feels right to you, don’t do what you feel cornered into doing. The choice is yours to make.
With so many choices and so many options to choose from, how can the older generation of adults help this graduating class make wise decisions that are right for them? Sometimes the seemingly wise decision is not the right decision for everyone. And sometimes what is right for one person is all wrong for another.
Only God knows our future. Only He knows what individual path each of us should take. Only He can lead us into the future He planned for us. Yes, many of us stumble upon it, but we could also have saved ourselves a lot of heartache and setbacks if we hadn’t gone off exploring territory that was never meant for us.
How do we counsel our young loved ones? We point them to Jesus. We give what advice we can give, then direct them to seek the final word from our Father above. He’s the only one who can see far enough ahead to direct us without fail.
Encourage your young graduate to step out in faith. Applaud them as they make the hard decisions about schools, majors, and careers. Help them out when you see them making potentially harmful choices. But unless that choice is undeniably harmful or detrimental to their future, let them make their choices. Love them when they mess up, help them recover their balance, then trust them to learn the lesson, and give them the courage to try again.
Isn’t that what Jesus did with His disciples? How many times did He ask them why they had so little faith? How often did He have to repeat His lessons? And yet, He sent them out two by two into the villages to figure out life on their own. And then He left them with a great commission after they had all stumbled and fallen.
Graduates, you don’t know everything. Listen to your loved ones, they want what is best for you and often speak from the well of wisdom dug by experienced hands. But know this, the decisions you make are your own. Your decisions are your responsibility no matter who talked you into or out of something. So when your heart cries out one thing, your counselors advise otherwise, and you don’t know what to do, turn to God. Listen for His voice and His alone. He will not lead you astray.
When God says “Go” then go. When God says “No” then don’t. When God says “Wait” then wait. You can trust Him completely. You’ll never graduate from God’s academy. Learning to listen to His voice is a lifelong journey. It is a grand adventure that will lead you to unexpected, glorious heights. God may also take you through the darkest valleys, but He’ll never leave you alone, and He’ll always lead you back to the mountaintop where you can see the wealth of treasure unearthed along the way.
Adulthood will not be what you think it will be. It will be harder and more complex than you believe. It will be filled with blessings and doubt, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat. But it will be worth the journey. So enjoy each moment along the way. You’ll look back later and be thankful for the lessons you learned, the wisdom you gained, and the maturity you developed.
God bless you graduates. God bless you parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and extended family. May we never stop our continuing education as students of the Holy Spirit.
Follow Jesus to the next adventure!
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.