My advisor told me yesterday that I was graduating this spring. You would think after longing for this moment my entire life I would have been ecstatic. The thought of the future came rolling in and diminished the excitement I had, replacing it with fear.
From the time we start Kindergarten until we graduate high school, we attend 2353 days of school. For some a little less depending on how good we were at being “sick.” Then the most obvious choice is to attend college. From one school experience to the next and for typically four years we attend more class. We never bat an eye at the future because we know it holds the same thing it has been holding our whole life: school.
But what now?
What do you do when this all too familiar road you have been walking down reaches a dead end and for the first time you have to make the decision about what is to come next? I turn 23 next week. I graduate this May. The question that is a broken record from family, friends, and even casual run-ins is, “what’s next?”
Fear wins too much. I say that because I know countless people in the same boat that I am in. We joke about this question being asked and how frustrated we get when it comes. However, I think when we dig a little deeper it is not the question that frustrates us. It is not having an answer that not only frustrates us but terrifies us. We feel this silence within our minds as we fight to find words to come up with a “good” answer to persevere our self-image and really our comfort. Fear lies to us and tells us we have to have an answer. Faith tells us the unknown is not only okay, but it is safe. The unknown is where you can find The One you have been desperately trying to know.
I want to fight to be okay with the unknown. I want to fight to be okay with not answering the question. I want to fight to sit in the silence. I want to fight and I want you to fight.
We talk about callings like they are the end goal. Once we know what we are called to do then we will know what our life will look like. Your calling is one thing; the way Jesus has you walk out in your calling is another. The method can change. So no, you figuring out what you think Jesus has called you to do will not be the solution to the equation of life.
We individually all have a calling. According to Paul in Ephesians 4:11-13 there are five distinct callings that we all will fall under: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Do not hear me say that callings are not important because they are. But here me say that it is okay to know your calling and not know how it will play out in life. That is where I am right now.
I have passions. I have dreams. I have desires. And I have no idea how they fit together. I have no plan. I have no clear indication of what is next. I do know that I have become so concerned with being obedient to the Lord in the “big” decision of which route to go after college that I have missed the fact that wanting to obedient only in the big things is to actually live in a false persona of obedience.
I don’t want to just be obedient come May when a degree is handed to me along with endless opportunities of what to do and where to go. I want to daily be obedient to what God has for me. My obedience here and now is just as significant months from now when a new chapter starts.
Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33
We avoid the silence but really the silence is exactly where we need to go in order to hear anything. We get so caught up in figuring things out that we start operating in a role that we were never asked to operate in. In this season of life, my job is to be still and to listen. The stillness creates an environment for me to be silent. The silence creates room for Him to speak.
The life Jesus has for me is far better than any life I could choose for myself. Because of that, I will fully submit to not moving until He says Move. I will not settle for saying yes to a job offer just because it has been offered. I will not sacrifice for the sake of comfort. I will not believe the lie that I have to know how it all plays out. I will not make a plan because humans make plans but the Lord establishes steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
I will take steps and they will be steps of obedience. One at a time because one step leads to another and I am confident that eventually, the Lord will lead me exactly in the direction He wants me to go.
Friends, it is not about the big step at the end of college. It is about the little steps you are taking right now.
Dare to brave the unknown ground. Dare to embrace the silence. Dare to wait.
So what’s next? What am I going to do now?
I have no idea but I know that life with Jesus is the most fulfilling and satisfying life there is. For now, I’ll be still. I’ll be silent. And I’ll commit to fully living surrendered, open-handed, and obedient right now. I don’t know what I am doing after college. But I know what I am doing today and tomorrow and all the days to follow……
I will use every chance I get to tell people the same thing I am reminding myself – life with Jesus is the best life. So really, I know the what I just don’t know the where or the how and I am okay with that. It will come.
The canvas is blank but that means there is potential for anything and everything to come to be. We must stay expectant and excited and not sink into doubt and fear.
Tomorrow is not promised. Graduation day is not promised. Don’t waste the here and now by worrying about what is to come.
If you are finding yourself in a similar place, I encourage you to start making Psalm 119:27-37 your prayer. His direction is where we find delight.
Here’s to not knowing much but knowing this…
The best is yet to come.