Today is my graduation day.
Today is the day that I receive the piece of paper that I worked four years to get.
Today is the day that I slept in.
Today is the day that I didn’t walk the stage.
Today is the day that I rolled over and snuggled in closer with my husband.
It’s surreal to think that after four – physically, mentally and emotionally draining – years, I will get my undergraduate diploma. This piece of paper tells the world that I am a competent and diligent student, and understand what public relations is – or should understand what it is:P
I feel there is a high expectation that once we get to this point in our life – the metaphorical standing on the stage about to receive a piece of paper that says “you’re smart” – we should know what we are doing. That if we’ve made it this far, we know our direction, we know our purpose, we know how to “adult.”
Well, that expectation is wrong. Not everyone knows what they want. Yes, I don’t fall into that category, because I have known for some time what I want to do. But, I am at a standstill – legally speaking. But, God led me here and I know that He ultimately has a plan for my life. I also know that Public Relations is my career, passion and life mission field.
Since I cannot work in the USA – due to visa and paperwork – I now do not know what to do with my life. I do not know where God will lead me. I do not know how to be an actual adult – despite being married for one month – yay! God is really using this time to teach me to relax, listen to Him and take time for other things that I missed out on while in university – mainly hanging out with friends. I have learned so much in these two months of living in complete silence. Granted Zach would not consider any of the things I’ve done silence – planning murder mystery parties, cooking, shopping, etc. But, it’s silence in my own way.
In this time, I have had several conversations with other graduates who shared in the “down” time right after graduation. They shared with me their blank expressions and terror of the unknown future and waiting to get hired. Now I am not scared about my future. But, this time – filled with many unknowns – set off my stress levels about once a week. However, these graduates provide comfort in knowing that my unknowns of “adulting” are perfectly normal.
My friends and husband shared with me the struggles and life questions that they all pondered in the months after graduation, while they waited for jobs. If you find yourself in the transition from student to young professional, take hope, the jobs will come. Be patient and pray for the Lord to use you where you are. Get connected in your community and use your skills now. One thing I have seen is God using my passions for PR in my personal life and helping the community with them too. God prepares you in your past for your future, so this time of silence – although worrisome, stressful and dragging on – there is a purpose. Seek the Lord and He will give you what you need. Trust Him and He will lead you through this time and provide more than what you thought.
These fellow graduates also warned me that university does not prepare you for the “real world.” (I put real world in quotes, because I feel like we are always living in the real world. Once you graduate, yes, you are exposed to more responsibilities but you have been growing and adjusting into the real world ever since you started to make your own decisions). Now in some cases I agree, universities don’t always share information about what we as young professionals need to do in order to get the right job in our field. They teach us applicable skills, but those are only valid once we have a job. Similarly, they don’t give us the experience we need in order to get hired. However, that may be true for some universities, but not all. I am very thankful for my small school in Halifax that had a co-operative education program in which they gave us three mandatory work terms throughout our four year degree. We, in the professional studies competed against other students and interviewed for jobs so to build our resumes. In this time I figured that it was similar to the “real world.” These competitive interviews and real four month paying jobs, taught me a lot about myself, my work ethic and determination, and it showed me the same of other students in my degree.
I learned a lot about giving all I had to my employer, but also that God gave me employers and opportunities that were in my passions. This made it easier for me to grow, work harder and overcome challenges because I loved my job. Not only did I get to work for two great organizations, I also was able to strengthen my understanding of working for the Kingdom, not the Earth. We as Christians are called to serve, and “obey our earthly masters with respect and fear and with sincerity of heart, just as [I] would obey Christ.” – Ephesians 6:5 – NIV. Wow. We are called to serve those in authority above us as we would serve Jesus. Do you do that? Do you speak love and respect towards your boss? Do you give them respect and honour even when you feel they don’t deserve it? That’s a tall order, but we are called to live like Christ, not of this world (John 17:16, John 18:36). We are to focus on the coming of our Lord’s Kingdom. Our work on this earth should reflect that. I pray that you are able to focus on pleasing God more in your job – or waiting for your job.
The Bible shares many verses on serving our masters – now I know that we likely do not have a salve/ master relationship, but the closest thing is our employers. We are called to work on this Earth. God gave Adam the responsibility to care for the land and work on it (Genesis 2:15). We therefore are supposed to follow in that path. We are not supposed to take work lightly, no, it is our role to honour God in these positions and use our skills to glorify Him and share the Kingdom to others. I want to challenge myself that in this time or unemployment and silence, to pray over my future job and that I will work at it in a way that is pleasing to God. I challenge you to also see what God is doing in your role at work, or like me, in the silence and praise Him for giving you your job. But also look towards your boss with the respect we are commanded to give.
Paul also says in Colossians “whatever you do, whether word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). Now this verse can be applied to EVERY area of our lives, and it should. But let’s look at it in regards to our season of silence and waiting. Whatever you find yourself doing to pass the time, let it be glorifying God. Let it be for Him and by Him. Use this time of silence to share Him, work on growing His Name within your friend group and allowing His Spirit to lead you further in His direction for your life.
Even if you don’t feel prepared for the next chapter, pray with expectancy that God will use you for His greatness. It is after all His power that lives in us and gives us the strength we need to do His will. We are merely vessels for Him. In my time of silence before I enter the “real world” and adult properly, I want to enjoy this time and know that I am pleasing my Father even as I clean the house, make dinner for Zach and I and meet up with new friends.
Something that stuck with me from the sermon at church this week, that I feel fits into this time of silence. It’s from Luke 19:1-10 where Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’s house. This passage says that Jesus’s trip to Zacchaeus’ house was not planned (to earthly knowledge) – as He was passing through Jericho (vs. 1). Jesus interrupted His trip to Jerusalem (where He was going to die) to stop and have dinner with sinners. Stop and think about that. Jesus, walking to be crucified, willingly paused His plan to touch people’s lives. What stood out most about this was that we are called to do the same. We are supposed to take the distractions and use them for God’s purpose. This period of silence is FOR GOD. USE IT! Don’t sit by and wallow in the unknown’s. No. Take the opportunities that God placed in you and go.
Graduation isn’t about looking back on all that you’ve accomplished and boosting your ego. No, it is looking forward, humbling ourselves and waiting for God to open the right path for us. It is walking forward in faith – especially in the silence – trusting God that He has the perfect plan and giving Him the glory along the way. Our opportunities that are knocking are always God giving us chances to share Him. I want my time of silence to be used for Him. I see this time as a chance to grow closer to my Father and with my diploma I have an area that I am qualified to go into and preach Jesus.
I pray that you are able to enjoy the distractions that God places. I pray that if you are struggling in this silence, you are able to focus in on Him and find great people to minister to. Just because our life isn’t going the way that we want it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t going the way God wants.
I hope that your season of silence proves to be filled with many God-opportunities. I pray for open ears, open hearts and a willingness to share our Beloved. Remember, “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” Proverbs 19:21