Dear Graduating Senior,
I write to you as one who is now a 30-year post-high-school graduate. One thing I can say is: hold on—oh, what adventure and joy lay ahead for you!
Sweet graduate, you stand on the brink of the most amazing journey there is: the gift of young-adult living. Like a present given to you that you just cannot wait to unwrap, the days before you are ripe with discovery. I encourage you to grab hold of them and allow yourself to be filled with the pursuit of adventure. As you embark on attaining independence may you also be aware of what it means to attain a healthy balance of interdependence with the community around you and God-Himself. For just as a butterfly emerges from the cocoon to boldly emerge and take flight, it is now time for you to spread those wings. It is time to fly into the great blue yonder and the grand discovery of great things.
No doubt you have already found that life has its share of ups and downs, highs and lows. Truth be told, this will continue to remain true. There will be gusts of wind that will threaten to make you fall from your flight pattern. However, this is when you will need to dig deep into yourself, and your faith, to find the determination to take one faith step after another in perseverance.
Graduate: Get Out There!
It often takes greater strength than we have within ourselves to fight against the energy of the circumstantial wind that can swirl around us at any given moment. Rest assured, though, that such wind will shift, change and die down. It is within these experienced moments that I find whispers of wisdom worth asserting. Sharing from the perspective of someone that yearns to guide, protect, encourage, and uplift as you embark on this amazing journey, I long to see you spread your wings, taking flight with confidence into this life you have been gifted.
As one speaking from experience, I would encourage you to get on out there and step out of your comfort zone as often as you can. In doing so, you will find some of the greatest adventure, growth, challenge, and joy. Likewise, let yourself spend dedicated time dreaming, taking into consideration what is important to you. Challenge yourself to experience many of the exciting things this world has to offer, within the scope of your own personal values and morals.
If you have the opportunity to study abroad, seize it. If you have a chance to volunteer and give some of your time serving others in greater need than yourself; do it. Unwrap another’s story and find ways to share joy, peace, love, and kindness with those around you. Along the way, you just may discover a way to live out a dream. If you do, grab hold of the opportunity and be intentional in making it happen. Be sure to listen to that still small voice within, while striving to drown out all the loud voices clamoring for attention around you. In the same way, be direct and intentional in telling fear to take a back seat. Live from a place of embracing life to the fullest, with a heart full of gratitude and thankfulness.
“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”Jim Elliot
Graduate: Live With Intention
As you spread your wings and fly you may discover many beautiful things about yourself. There may be many things that you cannot wait to enjoy and pursue. Some you may be able to pursue immediately, yet other times you may find yourself praying and patiently waiting for God’s timing. As you embrace it all I encourage you to figure out what is most important to you. Then, follow it with great intention. Dear one, it takes courage to live from your true self, your inner compass.
Make those intentional decisions that will steer you in the direction you would most like to go. When up against turmoil, strife, or unexpected circumstances, find a time and a place to recenter and regain focus. Fight for what is of value to you. Stand firm in your convictions. I would also encourage you to follow hard after God, allowing Him to pour His strength, love, and wisdom into you as you persevere.
“Life is an adventure, for we do not know how
God will direct us from where we stand now.
We need only to trust Him to show the way
and He will reveal it in love day by day.”Author Unknown
Graduate: Have Faith and Discover Yourself
In and through it all, I would encourage you to discover the unique purpose, gifting, and passion God is growing within you. Hold onto the truth that you are His unique and individual creation, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). Seek Him when yearning to uncover who you are. Likewise, when life gets confusing, and you cannot tell up from down, right from left, wrong from right, rest in the truth that He is your anchor (Hebrews 6:19). He will be faithful to provide clarity. Trust that God will help you uncover purpose and identity. He will always be there to walk with you.
Live in faith, knowing that with each day God is busy unfolding your story. He will bring people into your life, and take them out, all for the purposes of growing, encouraging, teaching, refining, and molding you. He will allow circumstances to open for all the same reasons, and more. His ways are not our ways, yet He longs to build our character and love us unconditionally through it all.
Receive His grace.
In addition, extend grace to yourself. Especially in the moments when you mess up. Goodness, we all mess up! Keep in mind that mistakes are nothing more than amazing teachable moments where we can learn and grow. Failures may happen at some point in life. Allow the experience to open your eyes to distinct differences. Ask yourself these questions to help encourage learning from the failure:
- How could things have been approached/completed/executed differently to bring out desired results?
- How can I respond to this failure?
- What has it taught me?
- Are there actions I see now that I should take to resolve the issue?
All in all, don’t give up. Continue to persevere, especially in those areas that you feel are the will of God.
Share Your Story (Okay, really, call your mom)
Graduate, also have the confidence that others will desire to hear your story, failures and all. Live out your life with an understanding of how incredibly important relationships are. No matter if you lean more toward being an introvert or extrovert, understand that fellowship and community are vital to all of us as human beings. It simply comes down to how much is too much and finding a good balance of time with others in relation to time alone. All in all, value others as you would value yourself and live in confidence that others desire to get to know you as much as you may wish to get to know them. They wish to hear about your experiences, listen to your story, and walk alongside you through all the highs and lows.
Also, don’t forget to call your mom.
She, the one who gave you life, will always long to hear your story, know more about your adventures, and be a faithful friend.
Allow me to close this letter with a Bible verse and prayer over and for your life.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”Ephesians 3:16-19, NLT
If nothing else, as you embark into your young adult life, go forward, knowing that you are never alone. God is always with you. As life unfolds, I pray you will also embrace these words from Bible-study-author and Christian writer Kelly Minter:
“Life is a Person. Not a career path, attentive husband, enlightenment, or religious experiment. Life is Jesus…my prayer is that Jesus, as the Word of Life, the very expression of life, will pierce the reality you’re living in, awakening your heart and soul to abundant living in Him. Jesus makes this possible.”
It is now time for you to spread your wings. Those beautiful butterfly wings, my dear one, flutter and fly with confidence, hope, joy, excitement, and energy.
A Graduate Who Cares, 30 Years Later
PS: Graduate, go ahead and check out these other great articles for wisdom, encouragement, and support along life’s journey:
- Living Out Her Legacy: Five Life Lessons My Grandma Taught Me, by Holly Johnson
- My Thoughts On Navigating Change, Endings, & New Beginnings, by Aubree Monares
- The Benefit Of Trying New Things, by Dawn Miller
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.