Congratulations to the class of 2035!
Yall, Grey had his preschool graduation, and this was on the last page of a scrapbook his teachers made for him.
I’m not crying; you’re crying.
All over town there are yard signs indicating students graduating from high school and college. It’s hard not to be reminded of my own graduation, delivering a speech to all of my peers, friends, and family. It’s one of those memories where the sounds and smells evoked are the same, but I can see more of the trajectory now that I couldn’t see then.
Graduation feels like such an ending, but it is really a beginning.
I grew up in a place where I literally knew everyone in the town. I went to school with the exact same people from preschool through 12th grade. And, lucky for me, I even got to go to college with my very best friends, too. I played sports and went to church with the same group of people my entire life up to that point.
Then I entered the real world. I had no idea how things worked outside of our little bubble, so I walked onto college campus like Pollyanna.
I remember trying on dresses in St. Simons before I started school and having a conversation with the cashier. She was an older lady whose daughter had already graduated from my new alma mater. Her words haunted me throughout my time in college.
“Make sure you find a church when you get there, or you’ll never get back into it.”
To be honest, I was offended. I mean I was doing all of the things at home, so it only made sense to me that I would continue that in college.
I was wrong. No, I didn’t abandon my faith or go off the rails. But I sorta adopted a “take it or leave it” attitude when it came to my relationship with Jesus.
We went to Bible studies sometimes. We went to worship services on Tuesday nights sometimes. We read our devotions and I sang to Him on my long drives home for holidays.
But when I got back to campus, I feel like I would put Jesus in my purse and just pull him out sporadically. If He came up in conversation, I’d chime in if I had something to say. However, if I was hanging out with people who I didn’t necessarily know believed in Christ or not, I would say to Jesus, “Hey, I’m just going to run in here real quick and be back later. Actually, you might want to crack the windows out here because I might be a while.” I know yall have stayed in the car while your mama ran into the store and you tried not to melt until she got back. Also, no, I do not leave my kids in the car.
It got easier and easier to leave Jesus tucked away somewhere. I was making good grades and good friends. I didn’t really need him. Things were working themselves out. The culture around me said that I was doing it.
But I wonder how much time I spent worrying over pointless things and how much searching for contentment I did without having Jesus as the forefront of my life?
I want to tell all of these graduates that, yes, you guys are doing it, but also, don’t forget the One who allows you to do it. Don’t get so caught up in being awesome that you don’t need Jesus.
Easier said than done.
The Bible tells us that God hates this kind if lukewarm attitude. I get it. I kinda hate people that are lukewarm, too.
“Yea, we can hang out…unless I get a better offer.”
“Sure, I’d love to help, but that’s not something I’m passionate about right now.”
Really, though. How many friendships or relationships have fallen by the wayside in your life because one or both of you were just kinda…eh. You enjoy the time you spend together but are equally fine not putting in the effort. They soon fizzle out.
If we do not actively seek God, we will ourselves fizzle out. We will be unfulfilled and unable to rightly do the things we are called to do. Whether that is being a student, mom, spouse, worker, whatever. We won’t be doing it well and we certainly won’t find the joy that comes only through Jesus as our Savior.
I’m thankful for a God who is constantly inviting me to spend time with him. From sunrise to sunset, He creates beauty. It is all around us if we are paying attention. When we learn to leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hands in everything.
So, what I’m really trying to say is dedicate the time it takes to keep your relationship with Jesus. Keep doing your devotion books and going to worship services. Keep surrounding yourself with people who are on the same page as you about your faith.
Whether you are graduating from high school and beginning your college journey or whether you are graduating from a season of your life that has tested you physically, spiritually, and emotionally, remember what’s important. God works all things together for the good of those who love him. Even the parts we don’t like. Even the times we fall short and mess it up.
It may feel like you should have it all figured out by now. You may feel pressured to know what you want to do with your life or that you should be further along in your career. But I’ve found that God is in the business of taking his time. He cultivates a reliance on him through many different seasons, and His blessings come always at the right time.
Ben and I were talking this week about where we thought our careers and lives would be when we were graduating college. I recalled sitting outside at one of our favorite restaurants and planning where we’d move and how our lives would play out.
Ha! Not one single thing on that list came to pass in the way that we thought it would. But how much sweeter it has been knowing that Jesus has been leading us the whole time. That the things we thought we’d find the most joy in ended up not being where we were meant to be.
I took a job out of college that was supposed to be “until something came up”. I didn’t know that the job I “settled” for would actually end up being my dream job. We didn’t know that the prayers we prayed at 20-something would not be answered until we were 30-something.
Let God use you and your passion. If it is important to you and something that you’re good at, ask God to use it for his glory. I tell yall all the time, but I did not ever plan on doing Salty but Sweet. I tiptoed into it and am now coming up on a whole year of writing about God’s love for us. And even when I think some of the posts are lacking, I know that no breath is wasted when you speak about the goodness of the Lord. Don’t say no to something, just because it’s different.
Enjoy the season you’re in. The beginning. The middle. The end. Trust God to lead you to what comes next. Somebody somewhere is depending on you to do what God has called you to do.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
1 Corinthians 10”31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”