By Clara Ruth West
I know I’m not alone when I say there are many things I know I need to hear, but I’m often not quite ready to face reality. As I start to close one chapter in my life and open another, I feel like I’m constantly inundated with these fears, thoughts and panics – many of them true, others not so much.
Regardless of the truth, I started to think that it might be helpful to write these thoughts down, to sit on them and revisit them when I was ready. So, without further ado, here we go!
Dear stressed/busy/faithful CR,
First, don’t panic. The thought of the future is absolutely terrifying, but that’s okay. You are certainly not alone with those feelings, and they’re completely normal. Most college students know what they want to do, but they don’t always have plans nailed down yet. Hear me when I say this: you’ve got time, so don’t start getting grey hairs before it’s actually time to worry.
Second, perfection is unrealistic. You look around and see all these things you wish you had: longer hair, clearer skin, better grades, a newer car. Yes, those things would always be nice to have, but like the saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” There is no guarantee that having those things would make you perfect or make you happy. There will always be something else you long for, so be content with what you have now.
Third, the Lord is good – all the time. I know it might not seem like it, but God hears your prayers. That prayer you prayed last night about the job interview? He heard it. And the one about the family friend who was sick? He heard that, too. God never promised that He would give us the entire “10-Year Game Plan,” but He did promise to be a light unto our path… even if that means just one step at a time. Find peace in knowing that God is at work in your life every second of the way, so there’s no need to doubt Him.
Next, failure is normal. As a one on the Enneagram and a natural achiever, I know it’s hard for you to hear, but that internal bar that you set for yourself is just not possible. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. That graduate school will still think your resumé is incredible. That company will still be blown away by your successes and experiences. Everyone fails – it’s a completely normal part of life. Let yourself fail and learn from those moments. Besides, it’s normally in those moments when you see the Lord’s presence the most.
Lastly, enjoy yourself. Really soak in the last few weeks you have with your friends in college. These are the days you will long for when you’re sitting behind a desk or worrying about “the real world.” Maybe don’t spend as much studying for that exam and give yourself the night off. You deserve to “treat yo self” (as they say). There will be times when you wish you could be back in these moments – all the freedoms of being an adult without all the responsibilities. These four years have been some of the best, but so many more incredible times are ahead. Just live in the moment (and make smart decisions) – you won’t regret it.