What’s Next? A Few Thoughts For Graduating Seniors
You are no accident. You are a person of significance and meaning. When God made you, He was really showing off. Look at what Colossians 1:16 (msg) says about you, “Everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”
The key word here is everything! Everything excludes nothing. That means you are included in the everything!
To God, everything about you matters—your goals, aspirations, weaknesses, challenges, desires, ambitions, choices, relationships, past, present, and future. It all matters to Him.
Stacey, a senior in high school, approached me after I finished speaking at an event recently to say, “I’m really freaked about next year. I know God has a plan for me, but I’m nervous about figuring it all out.” I encouraged Stacey to really work at enjoying the ride during her senior year. I told her that the questions and uncertainties she has about the what’s next after high school are a normal experience. And God wants to teach her to trust Him during all of this because she matters to Him.
You need to know this too! The ending of the high school years and the beginning of the rest of your life can be scary and intimidating. But know this: you do not face it alone. And no matter where you have been or what you have experienced, your past does not dictate your future with God. Psalm 139:16 (hcsb) says, “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” This verse is proof that God will do what He desires to do with you. You have a purpose. It’s a God-given purpose, and He wants to help you fulfill your purpose because you matter to Him.
I have seen in my own life that Satan often spins his web of lies during times of transition. Be ready! He will try to use this transitional period in your life to confuse and misguide you. He knows the next four years of your life are pivotal to the next many years, and he will work overtime trying to discourage you and convince you that you don’t need to take God or His Word into the next chapter of your life.
Prayer must be an integral part of your life going forward. Pray for protection. Pray for focus. Pray, keep pursuing God’s truths, and let Him remind you of His love, plan, and purpose.
Read what Mason wrote me to say:
“I’m seventeen and graduating from high school in a few months. I don’t have a “horror stories” past. I really like my parents. I’m into my church. I’ve never had a drink or gone all the way with a girl. I guess you could say I do most things really well, and that’s the truth. But what keeps grinding me is that I can’t say I feel really close to God right now. I mean, I know Him and love Him, but I don’t really feel like I’m connecting with Him. Help?”
I hear this story a lot from teens, and adults. My response to Mason, and to anyone who shares a similar story, is always the same: “How much time are you spending with God in the Word and in prayer?”
Think about this question. How much time can you say you have spent with God in the last year of your life? Are you satisfied with the amount of time that you give God each month? Each week? Each day? It could be that if you can relate to what Mason said about your connection to God, then you, too, need to take a look at the amount of time you’re giving God each day.
The more time you spend with Him, the more you get to know Him, His love, and His will for your life. It is impossible—let me say it again, impossible—to know and do God’s will if you are not spending time with Him.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Where will you be working? What kind of car will you drive? What city will you live in? Who will you marry? What house will you buy? What investments will you make? What church will you serve in? How will you use your finances to support a family, give to church and charities, and save for retirement? These questions are just a few of the many big ones you will be asking in the next five years of your life.
So, do you have all the answers now? No, of course you don’t. But guess who does? God could choose to give you the answers to all of your big questions today. But what fun would there be in that? There’d be no adventure, no surprises, and for sure no need for God if you knew it all ahead of time. This is why time with God matters.
There are countless passages in Scripture that give us proof that spending time with God works. Look at Psalm 119:104-105 (hcsb): “I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”
Want to know the answers to the biggest questions about the rest of your life? A professor can’t give you that. Neither can your parents, your friends, your dates, or even Wikipedia. But God’s Word can. Psalm 119 makes it clear that by spending time in the Word you’ll gain knowledge and understanding about what really matters most.
If you haven’t made time with God a priority, don’t give up. It’s never too late to start doing what is right. The important thing is that you commit now to making this happen. If you don’t begin giving God time each day, you’ll never know Him as He desires you to know Him. I love what Matthew 6:30-33 in The Message says:
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
In short, seek Him first. Giving God first priority in your life begins with giving Him your time.
With the potential of a new address, a new school, a new schedule, a new job, and new friends, your calendar may be a work in progress until you lock in your new rhythm. For a while, you may have to adjust your God-time each day. But the more you work to make a habit of it now, the more you will desire to spend time with Him.
Remember this: the key to knowing God more is being intentional. And repetition plays an important role here. Not so much in your approach, but in being intentional about spending time each day with God.
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