As a college graduate I thought I would have my life figured out. When I was a little girl I dreamed “someday” I would be a prima ballerina. In high school I dreamed “someday” I’d have a fast-paced career in politics complete with a name plate on my desk in the capitol. When I got to college and involved with the Navigators I thought maybe “someday” I’d join EDGE Corps, marry a Nav guy and we’d direct a campus together (and show off our cute babies at Nav Nights, of course). Well, “someday” is here. I’m a 21-year-old alumnae of Florida State University. But today doesn’t quite match up with any of my “someday” fantasies. For the first time the next step of my life has not been planned out for me by education. And for the first time I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
I feel the pressure to be perfect more than ever as a fresh graduate, and that’s coming from a people-pleasing perfectionist. I feel the pressure to have my life tied up in a neat package, with a step-by-step plan to achieve the American Dream in my back pocket, ready to be implemented. The voices of wisdom and realism in my life seem to have tolerated my weird priorities in college: meeting one-on-one with younger women, leading Bible studies and going to Summer Training Programs, but now, they hint, it’s time for me to move on to grown-up life.
But when the fifty-first person asks me, “So, what’s next for you?” and writes me off as an aimless slacker based on my, “Uhh, well, I don’t really know,” answer, I think about Emily, Sam, Victoria and Nicki. These are some of the women who have poured into me over my college years. They’re ladies I have admired, learned from and imitated. I would be overjoyed to be a woman like any of them someday. But I don’t admire them because they’re perfect or because they never question or mourn or mess up or struggle. In fact, as I have seen each of them walk through death’s shadow, seen their own plans and dreams fall apart, and heard them share their hearts: the raw, real, sticky, tangled mess of lives wrecked by sin but redeemed through Christ, I’ve seen what trusting God really looks like. These women who have shepherded me didn’t always have everything together. In their moments of weakness, though, Christ’s strength was displayed most powerfully. These women brought me to Jesus, not to themselves and not to some amazing be-the-best-you-can-be life plan. He was, and is, more than enough.
One minute I’m tossing around the idea of teaching English overseas, the next I’m considering staying at my university for grad school. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say I fill out a different application every other day. It feels like my whole life is up in the air. It feels like I don’t know anything for sure. It’s hard for me to feel like I have much to offer in this season of life. But I’ve realized that I do know some things for sure…
I have a dream and a hope: the return of my King. The redemption of the whole world.
I have a job: I’m a laborer. Job description? Make disciples.
I have a Counselor: “I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
I know I’ve been called to know Christ and make Him known. True, it’s going to look different than it did in college. It might take more than free pizza to motivate people to come to a Bible study. I’ll have to learn what intentional friendships look like when I can’t just knock on doors down the hall of my dorm. But I know that God loves me and leads me and I’m just going to have to trust him with the details. He’s holding my hand along the way.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”