I gave this devotion during morning announcements this morning, and wanted to share it:
Seniors, you have 103 days until you are walking across the graduation stage and the world declares you “an adult.” Juniors, fifteen months from now you are in the same boat. Sophomores and freshmen, the time will go quickly.
Joining the adult world is exciting and also a little scary. It is unfamiliar, and the closer you get to that diploma, the more it feels like your decisions in life matter long term, and the potential to make a wrong decision increases. It may feel like a lot of your friends know what they are doing; they’ve picked a college, their choice of major is secure. But you still don’t know what you want to do with your life — and that terrifies you.
I’ve seen the words of God through Jeremiah 29:11 come up numerous times in the past weeks in conversations with seniors. Many of you know them well:
“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.”
Keep in mind God spoke these words to the Israelites in exile; unlike most of you, they didn’t feel like they had their whole lives ahead of them. In fact, things looked pretty bleak, but God encouraged them that he would provide a way out.
This verse may feel like God has your whole life planned out already…but if God wants you to become a doctor and you become a pilot, did you sin and go against the will of God? I had that fear when I was 18, but it’s not a reality.
God knows our path, but God’s plans do not mean there is only one college or one career path or one marriage partner out there for us, and if we screw it up and choose a different one, that we are “wrong.” Instead, it means that while God knows where you will end up, he can use you wherever that is. He can use you at Indiana University, or Ivy Tech, or basic training, or trade school. He can even use you if you’re living in your parents’ basement – but try to avoid that if you can.
Now this doesn’t mean you can just sit around waiting for a revelation to strike you on the road to Damascus. You still should be digging into the Word of God; don’t leave your Bibles at home when you move out. Talk to trusted adults as you make big decisions. Pray. As you choose your future steps, research churches in the area. Contact some pastors, introduce yourself, and plan to attend a service in the first few weeks after you move. This is a wonderful way to get connected and network in a new community. If you’re staying local, learn how to be an adult member of a congregation. It is extremely rewarding, I promise.
Just after verse 11, God continues to tell Israel,
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you week me with all your heart.”
So as you plan for your future, do it seeking God with all your heart. He will use you, and most of the time in ways you never expected or planned for yourself. Your teachers and parents continue to pray this for you. Have a wonderful week.