03 May What Every Graduating Senior Needs to Know
To the class of 2016:
What a privilege to walk beside you these years. Watching you grow, listening to your questions, your dreams, your hurts, seeing your hearts has made me more. I have grown because of you. And I am grateful. There are no words I could write that matter more than the ones that have already been written. But, if I could put my heart into text and share with you how much He loves you, and encourages you to make your life about more than just you, this is what I would say.
Graduates, you’re getting jobs, you’re going to college. But no matter where you go, it’s these things I hope you learn.
1. You matter.
God made only one of you, on purpose for a purpose.
You matter, and your right now matters in a big eternal way.
Your routine everyday
Your hopes and dreams
In the middle of decisions, questions, temptations, struggles, and trials God is with you.
But this life isn’t about you.
It’s about the One who holds you.
It’s choosing to seek Him in your everyday routine, it’s about asking Him to guide you.
It’s leveraging your words to bring life and light into the darkness.
It’s hoping with expectancy for the Kingdom, and dreaming dreams of heavenly change.
It’s an understanding that life is a pursuit of God’s best. And that He is more than any temporary pleasure.
It’s taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.
It’s living every moment for Him, acting like you believe He’s real, that He’s worth fearing, worth obeying and resting in the knowledge, that no matter what, He loves you.
2. Every Joshua Needs a Caleb, and the World Needs Both.
A wise someone once said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
You’re in a battle.
Remember who you’re fighting and the power you have.
Who will stand with you in the fight?
Will you be a courageous leader of truth and change?
Or will you be the bold follower who stands under truth and leads with action and faithfulness?
The battle you fight is one for your own heart, and the hearts of the world.
Stand firm, because Jesus already won the war and you fight from a place of victory.
Surround yourself with warriors.
Be a friend who is ready to go to battle everyday and find friends who will stand ready with you.
3. People of Gratitude and Humility are Made, Let God Make You.
Life works best when we’re grateful for what we have.
You don’t deserve better or more in this life, God’s already given you eternal life.
Stop expecting and start asking God what His expectations are for you.
Appreciate every moment, because through the challenge and the victory God wants to use you, teach you, and help you.
When you’re lonely (you will be),
Remember the One who is always with you. Thank Him.
When it feels easy and happy,
Praise God, and look for the one who needs to know His presence.
When you’re afraid,
Lean on the One who has the power to raise the dead to life, and breathe out stars. Rest in Him.
When you don’t know what to do,
Open up the Love Letter full of wisdom, encouragement, and light. Trust Him.
When you’re driven by competition and rivalry,
Stop comparing and competing. God made you to be unified, encouragers who can change the world with His good news. Follow Him.
When you’ve fallen short (you will),
Know His grace is enough; for your past sins, for your future sins, and for the right now. Jesus is enough. Believe Him.
4. There is TRUTH that Never Changes, TRUTH Worth Believing and Building a Life.
They’re going to tell you, “the best is yet to come”, and they’re right.
But, the best to come isn’t college,
It’s not your career, your someday family, future income, a house, stuff or acts of service.
It’s heaven. Trust that it’s real, that it’s waiting for you, and crave it.
They’re going to tell you, “to follow your heart.”
But, your heart is easily deceived.
And your feelings aren’t always true.
Follow the WORD because, unlike your heart, God’s truth never changes.
It’s not an ancient manuscript, it’s a living active sword that will destroy the lies and give life.
They’re going to say, “if God is love then…and the God I know just wouldn’t…”
But, you know true LOVE isn’t letting you get your own way, it’s laying down your life for the ones you love.
You know a good Father disciplines His children, and God is ALWAYS good.
You know perseverance will make you complete, and God is with you in the trials.
Remember the God you know, and trust that He never changes.
They’re going to say, “you’ve just closed a chapter,” and you have.
But, it’s a tiny chapter in a small book titled “In the Life of ______________”.
The length is unknown, but no matter how long, no matter how short, your story matters, and it has influence.
God gave it to you, and it’s for His glory.
So graduate, what will be written next?
How will you use your story?
Be the generation that remains faithful. Love the God who loved you first. And love others; the hurting, the confused, the angry, the unlovable, the indignant, the proud, the needy and the lost. Be sure of who you are because you know whose you are. Remain in Him.
About the author: Jamie Gunn is a high school small group leader at the Overland Park campus. She is madly in love with her Savior, busy raising warriors, and wife-ing times 12 years. She writes about doing right – not just good things – on her blog, reflected.me.