Friday, May 1, 2015

To the Class of 2015

     If you are like most people, high school was a mixed bag. Some days were good, some days were bad. You have memories that you will cherish and some that you will want to forget. You had teachers that inspired you and others that made you … well, let’s just say that they weren’t quite as inspiring. Whether you loved high school or couldn’t wait to get out, one thing is true – after you graduate, it is over. It’s in the past; you can’t go back and change it. 

     It is not uncommon for high school students to be told by their elders, “enjoy your time in school, these will be the best days of your life.” Let me tell you now…it’s not true. Follow that line of thinking and you are well on the way to becoming Uncle Rico; selling Nupont fiber woven bowls and buying time machines on-line. I can’t think of anything more depressing than to think that your best days are behind you before the age of twenty.

     As you celebrate this memorable time in your life know this, your best days are not behind you – they are still before you. There will be joy and sorrow, laughter and tears but never allow yourself to believe that tomorrow cannot be better. I graduated over thirty years ago and although I enjoyed high school, I would never want to go back. Life is not longing for yesterday, it is living today and pursuing tomorrow. As the apostle Paul wrote, “…one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14) 

     As you are already well aware, life cannot be summed up in a few simple rules. That being said, I would like to share with you a few things that might help you as you begin the next chapter in this book that is your life. I’ll try to be brief.

     First – intentionally pursue your relationship with Jesus. Make Him your first priority. Life after high school is definitely less structured, you have more freedom to schedule your time as you desire. Of course, the problem is life moves a lot faster and you have a lot more to do. It is easy to let things fall by the wayside. Don’t let Jesus be one of those things. Purposefully set time aside for Him. Jealously guard that time and resist the temptation to let other priorities infringe on your time with Christ. Allow Him to guide you steps, influence you decisions and direct your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be right.

     Second – don’t just follow your heart. I’m not sure where we came up with the idea that this was ever a good idea. I’m sure you know some classmates who have really bad decisions because they were following their heart. According to Scripture, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, And is desperately sick…” (Jer 17:9) I’m not saying don’t pursue your passions, just don’t make life altering decisions based on the whims of your heart. That is a recipe for disaster. If you are intentional about your relationship with Jesus, He will prove to be a much better guide for you than your heart.

    Third – don’t take yourself too seriously. The fate of the world doesn’t rest on your shoulders. You are going to make mistakes and it will be okay (unless you are holding nuclear launch codes). You need to be able to laugh at yourself and give others permission to laugh with you. Laughter is one of God’s great gifts, use it as much as you can. There will be plenty of opportunities to cry, don’t miss your chances to laugh and do it loudly. If that causes other people to think that you are a little strange – that’s good, you don’t need to stress about their opinions anyway.

     Welcome, to the next chapter in your life. Remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. You are here for a reason. Your existence has purpose – His purpose. The LORD will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden; and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11).

In His Service,