So You’ve Graduated— Now What? || Ken Castor
Congratulations! You’ve graduated! But panic sets in as you realize you’re stuck in the “Now what?” category. Don’t worry! There is hope if you want it. Take a look at the following chart:
A person in the “I’ve Graduated— Now What?” category can be anxious. Is this you? Unchecked, worry can begin to control your decisions, emotions, time management, and prayer. Some panic attacks set in as you worry about what to do now. You grow frustrated about your degree, which at this point doesn’t seem to have set you up for success (whether in a romantic relationship or career), but seems like it might even have actually set you back (e.g. painful break-ups or loan-full finances). The outcome looks bleak as you worry about whether you’ll ever move out of your parents’ house or be able to start the kind of life you’d rather have. Perhaps the subtlest danger comes from your growing dependency upon finding the life-security that you think will solve all of your worries, even if for just a moment. Your prayers become reactionary to every stress caused by being worried about what to do now.
A person in the “So What?” category is apathetic. Is this you? Avoid this category at all costs. Unchecked, apathy sedates your passions, proactivity and purpose. You might become a master at Grand Theft Auto V, but your lethargy demotivates you against achievements that might actually help buy you a real car. As “I don’t care” becomes your prevailing coping mechanism, you avoid commitments and personal challenges. Eventually, the “So What?” approach lends itself to a “Big Butt” outcome of unexercised, couch-potato, poor-diet, lazy, anesthetized “living”. In this pattern, comfort becomes your dependency to the point that you shirk anything (or anyone) that makes you uneasy. Your prayers, if existent, become mundane (blah…) just like the rest of your lifestyle (with the occasional exception of a few short-lived bursts of adrenaline-like emotion which prove that you are still a human being).
A person in the “For What?” category is awe-inspired. This person trusts that God is in charge and boldly asks “For what was I created?” If you step into this category, you pursue God’s purpose for your life. You don’t get frustrated by uncertainties as much as you begin to view them as opportunities to figure out what God wants you to do. You celebrate your graduation as a measure-marker that has brought you to this point on the journey (and something of which to be very proud). You understand the way each day is blessed by God’s hands and, as a result, you grow in your appreciation and desire for God’s formation in your life. As a “For What?” person, you also look ahead at the next stage, depending upon God and participating with Him to open those doors. You learn in your decisions to more confidently trust God’s leading and God’s plan in your lifestyle, relationships and career. Each day your prayers become persistent life-giving conversations with the Lord as you share your thoughts with Him and listen to his will for you.
So here is a quick guide to help you move into a “For What?” category following the progression in the chart:
- Question: If you are anxious about anything, pray right now. Ask God to turn your worry about what to do into a bold pursuit of what He created you to do. (It might be helpful to read Philippians 4:6-13 again and again.)
- Attitude: Ask God to inspire you with awe today: Awe for Him as your Creator and awe for the life He created you to lead.
- Prevailing Thought: Trust that God is intentional about your life and then ask Him to begin revealing His plan.
- Outcome: Begin to notice the way God is blessing you. Focus on what is good and right so that you can participate with the leading of God’s Spirit.
- Dependency: In all your ways today, acknowledge God. Ask Him for boldness to get up off the couch and write that resume, or to serve at the young adult ministry, etc. Determine yourself to let God drive your motivations today.
- Prayer Life: If you pursue the five steps above, you’ll be well on your way to a daily saturation of life-giving patterns.
May the Lord Jesus shape you today for what He created you to do.
|Ken Castor is a Professor of Youth Ministry at Crown College, Minnesota. For 20+ years he has been a pastor focused on generational transference of leadership and faith. But if you’re looking for him right now, you might find him on the floor of his house playing Lego with his wife, three kids, and his dog “Smudge”. Connect with him @kencastor.|
|Read more posts by Ken Castor|