It’s a bit of a weird/fun thought experiment to pretend what it would be like to have a conversation with the younger version of yourself. For me, it would be a very sobering message full of warning and urgent petitions to think through some of the more regrettable decisions I made in my younger years. You see, I wasn’t like so many of our SLU students who are seeking to be exhaustively intentional with their lives. I didn’t think, dream, and lead at the feet of Jesus. Therefore, the following advice is for all graduates who are now turning their sites towards the next step in their story after high school: college/university, gap year, the military or entering the work force. I know this season is busy with goodbye’s, celebrations, baccalaureate and graduation service, so I’ll keep it short. For all the graduating seniors, and especially those who are part of the Student Leadership University family, here is the advice I would give myself if I were #classof18:
- The next chapter of life isn’t a break from the rest of your life…it’s simply the next step in your pilgrimage towards your heavenly home. Make the most of these formative years to lead yourself well and impact those around you for Christ.
- You can lose yourself in the meaningless…OR become captivated with the source and beauty that is behind, and the cause of all meaning. Look for God in the little details. Whether its catching a sunset on campus or midnight trips to get fast food with your friends, God will give you these little moments to remind you of His grace.
- In addition to studies, social life, and part-time work…generously give yourself away in service to a particular cause or ministry.
- The people you surround yourself with reflect the person you are becoming…so surround yourself with friends that will continually build you up and challenge you to be the best version of yourself
- Most of us have spent a lot of time around people who look, act, worship and think the way we do…so befriend and learn a lot about someone who is a lot different than you. After all, the better you know someone, the better you can love them and thus show them the love of Jesus.
- There isn’t a substitute for the local church…so find one and commit yourself to it (except during spring break, summer break, and Christmas break; during that time go home and see your parents!).
- Don’t take yourself too seriously…so rebel against trying to be a pretend version of yourself that you think everyone will find attractive. In other words, laugh when you trip over nothing while walking to class, chose being kind over being cool, and at the end of the day be the goofball we all like!
There may be no more appropriate words to share with a graduate, a person passing from one chapter of the story to the next, a pilgrim turning down another road making their way to the heaven country, than Numbers 6:24-26:
‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you His favor
and give you His peace.’