Things began to change as I grew up a little (physically, mentally and spiritually), went to college, and experienced some trials. I traveled a bit and remember feeling a little out of place.
I made many mistakes. I took the road that many traveled and left the one that few take. I decided that I knew best. In the end, it was hard to even see my reflection. God brought me to a place of brokenness. A place that ultimately led me into His arms.
Now, you’re graduating. You’re ending a chapter to begin another. Time moves so quickly. So I want to write you a letter to help you begin this new journey. I hope this reaches your heart and you remember it in moments of indecisiveness, trials and failures.
I took the road that many traveled and left the one that few take.
So here are my many lessons that I want to pass down to you. I learned by trial and error, and I hope through sharing this you can avoid some of the errors I made.
You made it! One chapter is ending, and another begins. I know you feel excited and nervous and proud, but let me share some wisdom that I have found. These words I write are not just puffs of smoke, but learned by mistakes and failures that left me feeling broke. I hope this finds you and sticks to you like glue. And you know the most important thing that matters is to always be True.
- You may be graduating, but you do not know it all. There is an entire world out there that you don’t know about. Some roads may be enticing, but if you notice many going that way…stop and pray. For God says, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14.
- That brings me to my second lesson…Ask for advice. In my story, I did not seek the council of believers. I plainly told people what I was going to do and did it. I do not advise this at all! While there are some things that you and God work out together, we are meant for wise council and helping hands. If I had listened to the wisdom around me, I would have avoided much heartache and pain. It says in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” The people that are in your life are there for a reason. God knows what we need, even if it’s not what we want. Trust Him, and trust the biblical wisdom around you.
- Know that difficulties come. But know that it doesn’t have to define you. Joy is a learned action verb. The circumstances of your life do not have to be perfect in order to have joy in each day. I have found that the most pure and beautiful forms of joy in my life come at a time when I am in the thickest battles and deepest wounds. God is our source and when we allow difficulties to bring us closer to Him, our joy can not be stolen or hidden.
- Wait. Love is coming. It may not come when you expected it, but it will come. The biggest mistake I have made in this area was to not wait for God’s timing. Flattery is sweet, but it will not last. Let the time you are waiting be filled with seeking. The best thing I have ever done in this matter was to fill my heart with Jesus and let Him write the story. When I did, it didn’t look the way I thought it would, but it continues to bless my heart and teach me more than I ever imagined. Waiting allows you to see clearly what you want in a future spouse, but it also will allow your heart to draw near to the One who made it if you press in to Him.
- There will be many decisions to make from now until the end. These decisions shape and mold you. They can bring happiness or regret. The best advice I can give you is to stay as close as you can to the Lord. The closer you are to Him, the better your decision making will be. “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether it be to the right or to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21.
- It is ok to mess up. Yes, it is. I’m not saying…go mess up because you’ll be forgiven and all will be ok. No, that is not the way God wants you to live. But there is forgiveness with repentance. If you find yourself in a pit of sin, remember that you have a God with a strong hand ready to pull you out. Don’t dig deeper thinking you will get out of it. The only way to freedom is to release, let go, and surrender it all to the Lord. When you place your mistakes in his hands, he hands you freedom, washes you clean, and gives you a new purpose. I have found in my life that even though I wish mistakes had not been made, they serve a purpose. That purpose can help other people avoid your mistakes or help them through the same failures. So when you do mess up, it’s not the end – but don’t stay there. Walk into freedom.
With these 6 lessons of mine, learn to grow. And remember, God is with you wherever you go. Enjoy the journey and don’t be afraid to dream God-sized dreams.