If you’re reading this, and you’re not a recent grad, I hope you can still gleam wisdom from these stories, but I also hope you’ll share this article with recent grads you know too!
For many of you, you’ve had at least a few weeks to let that word “graduate” sink in right?! Whether you’re graduating high school, college, grad school, or anything similar in between, I hope you find the words in this post encouraging, comforting and even a tad bit challenging too.
Here’s the thing – I’ve been where you stand now, many times in fact. The excitement of finally making it to graduation!! And then the slow fad into panic and “is this real life?!?!” moments. I get it, it’s tough to work SO hard for something and then get to the point where you’re wondering if all the wonderful things our parents, teachers, friends, professors and society told us would happen?! What about the cool job? The travel & adventure? The money? The car & house? Etc.
There are no perfect answers I can give you, we’ve all had to sit through the tension in this season of “whats next”, but the best thing I can say – trust God. He’s a big, awesome God that’s got more planned for you than you can imagine! Read on for a few more pieces of advice I wish I had heard during this awkward transition stage of the first few months post-grad.
#1 – Everyone is pretty much just winging it!
I hear SO many of my friends and families in their teens and twenties just racking their brains, staying up all night with anxiety and calming said anxiety about life with bad habits, all because they “don’t have things figured out yet!” And it’s the end of the world right? No! Y’all, truly, everyone has things that take leaps of faith, or things we have no idea how God is going to work it out, but guess what? He always does! I’ve never yet met a problem God didn’t come through on. And often he does so in way so wonderful it’s often taken me by surprise! But seriously, this is something our teachers & families rarely talk about, I know mine didn’t! But it’s often true, there are many times in life where we’re all going to have to take scary leaps of faith, it’s just a fact of life. Livin’ on a prayer – for real!
#2 – You have a brain and a body – steward them well, or else…
This is a tough one! We often live in a culture that’s kinda 50% junk food and 50% diets and fad health trends. But true health is kinda hard to find. And having people discuss brain health – aka mental health is even more rare!! Yet, our mental health is easily the most important kind of health!
You have a brain right? (You are reading this after all…) You have a body right? …Darling, you are in CHARGE of those. Forever, for your whole time on this precious earth! Take care of them! You may never have tough health challenges, either physical or mental, and that’s fantastic! But most of us DO at times. And just because you don’t have depression or some other diagnosis doesn’t mean you don’t have to work on your mental health. You have a brain, you have neurotransmitters in that brain (and your whole body too) those are under your stewardship by the crazy biological design God has given us. You MUST take this seriously and take care of your body so you can live well on this beautiful earth and serve well for the time God gives you!!
#3 – The quarter life crisis is real, but God’s got a plan for it!
Story time: My quarter life crisis lasted literally almost 10 years. My husbands on the other hand, only a few years! But, all of us go through some sort of “growing pains” in our late teens, sometimes all the way until our 30th birthday could be considered the dreaded “quarter life crisis”. Often in this season we need to work through the mess to find our purpose & calling. And beyond that, figuring out what we stand for, and what we definitely don’t stand for. Figuring out why we’re here, what we want out of this life we’ve been given by our good, good Father, and a few other “tantrums” may be thrown in there as well! 😉
It’s normal, and it’s even good!! This is the season to really dig deep, spend a lot of time talking with God, and even a few trusted mentors too. Dig deep & explore.
But a word of caution – do not talk to too many people about things, often the things God has called us to do don’t make sense to most people, and even well meaning people will try to talk you out of following God in full. Don’t let that happen! To help myself with the tendency to run to people for answers – I remind myself of a quote I read once – Gaze at God and glance at the world!
#4 – You have a calling, find it & live it to the best of your ability!
But also – here’s the trick, your vocation, or work is a BIG part of that “calling” or “purpose” for your life, but it isn’t everything. Let me repeat that, your work isn’t your entire calling!! It’s an important part because we all have a role to play in serving others and obviously need to make a living on this earth! However, our work will change & evolve over our lives for 99.9% of us. The average job/career shifting every 7 years in the US. That doesn’t mean you’re broken, it means you’re human! Remember that. But also remember it’s just part of your entire calling you were put on this earth for.
You were also put on this earth to love a specific group of people (your family) and also your friends & community. You were called to serve those people with the same passion you bring to the work part of your calling. You were wired to live & work in certain ways, and all this is by God’s creative design for you. Your brother may love running marathons, while you love hiking with your dog. Your sister may be called into medicine or the mission field, but God has called you to write your heart out and reach people through your little laptop. Meanwhile your mom was called to be a chef!
He’s not a God of living in boxes & bound by rules. He’s put you here with some pretty specific purposes in mind, people to love & serve well, creative career paths that will definitely surprise you at times, and “plot twists” on this road called life that he will use to take your breath away (in a good way if you let them!) But do NOT let go of the search for your calling & living in alignment with where God is calling you to. That is essential! Remember: “only dead fish go with the flow…” Fight for that intentionality to live the way God has wired you, even if it looks very different from those around you!
Personal story on this one: I was called to business & entrepreneurship at a very young age, and yet I still tried to do both the calling God has wired me for, and working traditionally like it was expected of me. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well at all! THEN I finally took the leap to do what I was called to do (full-time at least, not trying to do both just out of fear of what others thought) and yet again, I got sucked into all the “formulas” of the “correct” way to do business…again didn’t go over well. The business that I had making good money (on the side, while also working a job no less!) suddenly tanked and I was miserable! Things got pretty bad until I started seeking God’s wisdom for the way I was specifically wired to do business!
I do not do business like other people do business, and that is FINALLY fine by me. For years it has eaten at me because I felt I was “doing it all wrong” and would surely fail. Turns out – doing things God’s way actually IS best! (Romans 8:28, among many others!)
I’m praying for you love! As hard as it is sometimes, trusting our good, good Father is the best way to go in this season of transition, and all seasons for that matter!
Remember: You were made with a purpose, for a purpose!
with love & blessings,