I just wrote an email to a friend of mine who is starting his last year of college and all of the uncertainty that goes along with that. This is my story of my final year of college, from where I sit right now:
Last year of college is a hard time. When I started my last year, I kept asking God, “What am I doing this next year? Where’s the plan?” Through His word and prayer and the advice of others, I felt like He was telling my heart to rest and that I was to focus on my final year – my assignments, my friendships, and the last part of this crazy life called college. I felt that He promised He would reveal the next step EXACTLY when He wanted to, and when He needed to. It took me a few months to get in a place where I truly lived this way. It was around November when I got a facebook message (of all things, I thought) from the director of mobilization asking me if I would consider applying for a position with SEND; he said he would be emailing me the application right away. I checked my email and there it was and I wondered what on earth this meant. I replied asking if this was a summer thing, volunteer, support raising, what exactly? He responded quickly with the answer and a written out job description – one that he and others at SEND had been working for for months WITH ME IN MIND. The whole time I was worrying and anxious and didn’t know how to answer the “what are you doing after college?” question, God was planning it out behind the scenes. Once I read the job description, I knew it was for me and I knew it was from God. I literally fell to my knees right there in my dorm room and told God that I’d do it.
But life happens and other opportunities present themselves and doubt sets in. The next semester and a half were tough, trying to finish college AND apply for a mission agency AND discern God’s will. That last part? I decided instead of thinking too much about it, I would just move forward. I took the next step in front of me, filled out the next application they sent me, and did the next assignment (my final master’s paper was on leading a small group of short termers going overseas, how cool?). There were many times I wondered if I should pursue a job in counseling or if I could just quit it all and be a lifeguard. Yet I just took the next step and well, here I am. Over the past year I have had other job offers (and one that I have seriously considered) and yet God keeps me here, on this path. What’s hard right out of college is that to choose one job (or one degree for grad school) you feel like you are shutting so many other doors. And it’s true, in some ways you are. You need to. But as I was just reading in Tim Keller’s Reason for God, it takes sacrifice to find true freedom. By joining SEND, I gave up an opportunity to teach Bible to 7th and 8th graders in Connecticut. Even though that door could always open up again, I gave up the opportunity to teach those students whom I had been working with for 2 months and grown to love with all of my heart. By joining SEND, I gave up the opportunity to be a part of some intentional community that was about to happen at my home church. That PAINED me to not be a part of that adventure, but God had other plans and other lessons for me to learn. All that to say, when you open doors, some doors are closed in the process. But I think that’s part of growing up. And when we trust that God’s leading is truly GOOD, it is easier to do.