The season of graduation is coming to a close this month. Many have no doubt been experiencing all types of emotions over the last few weeks. I truly hurt for so many of the graduates this year who had graduation ceremonies taken from them by the COVID Pandemic, including my own 5th grade graduating son.
If I could offer any words to graduates this time of year at all the different stages of life, it would be the following:
5th Grade Graduates – You’re fighting between the tension of those last moments of being a little kid and becoming a teenager now. It’s true, we all have to eventually become an adult, but we don’t have to lose our childlike wonder. I’m telling you with every fiber of my being right now, DO NOT let the world steal your wonder. Fight for it with everything you have. Very few ever get it back when they allow the world to take their wonder. If you can make it through these next few years with your wonder still in tact, you’ll fall in love with life and it will love you back. You’ll appreciate more because you find more to appreciate. You’ll find that ever elusive, divine truth that few ever find…the miracle of the mundane.
8th Grade Graduates – Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not, thinking you have to fit in to some crowd that doesn’t even exist. Be comfortable in your own skin, personality, and body type. You have value. You matter. God says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Always preach that to yourself…always! Tell yourself that every day when you get up. No one in life will preach more to you about yourself than you. Learn to live by your own convictions. You’ll stand out more by not trying to fit in. I can 100% guarantee you this…the people you think are better or prettier, or stronger than you, have just as many insecurities as you do, perhaps even more. So tell them the same thing you tell yourself, “You have value, you matter, God made you ‘fearfully and wonderfully!’” Knowing who you are is everything.
High School Graduates – This is when you think you must establish your independence and sow your wild oats. But if you try to establish that independence apart from dependence on God, the result will be disastrous. That’s a guarantee. Remember this also, because it’s true for most. The wild oats you try to sow now could very well become the demons of addiction that control you the rest of your life. You are not indestructible. You are always one second from eternity. Live like it. I promise you, you’ll thank yourself for it later.
College Graduates – Don’t think you have to have it all figured out just yet. Just don’t be lazy. Keep moving. It’s more about the journey than the actual destination. Proverbs 16:9 says,“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” If you allow the Lord to determine and direct your steps, you’ll very likely wake up one day and realize that the one thing you’ve been striving or searching for all this time has been right there with you all along. There is a joy in the journey.
One final note for any graduate that the rest of us can still learn from today…don’t get so busy trying to get things done that you get to the end of your life without ever really having lived at all. Refuse to be hurried or worried. People who find the joy in the journey and the art of pausing, aren’t time wasters, they are time users. I’m not advocating extreme procrastination by any means, but one thing I have learned, you’ll always have tasks to do in life. Learn and practice the art of pausing to enjoy the wonder of the mundane around you. It may mean you have to do that task tomorrow instead of today, but in the end, it’s very likely that you’ll get more done, because you’ll live longer!