By Allison Myers
I read something a few days ago that told me that there were periods of time that ask questions, and periods of time that answer them. As I wrap up my last semester of college, I’m noticing that I’m transitioning from a time of answers, into a time questions. About four years ago, I was moving into the time that would ask the questions that these years have answered. Questions like, where will I go to college? What will I study? Will I make friends? Will I have an internship somewhere like my cool college friends? Will I be able to handle the pressures of college? What will the workload be like? Do people really stay awake all night studying? Will I actually graduate someday?
The idea of actually graduating college was such a far off concept four years ago. I thought that maybe only a lucky chosen few were able to do it. Honest. I thought only the best and the smartest made it this far. Now, of course, I see that some real dimwits have done it. I’m not the best or the smartest, but I’m definitely not a dimwit. I think I land somewhere in the middle. Anyway. The end is in sight. I never imagined that graduation from a university would be in my very near future. I honestly did not think I could do it. I didn’t tell people that at first, but over the years I’ve kind of unveiled that irrational fear. I was so.not.ready. I had no idea what college would be like. I didn’t get the lingo. The terminology confused me and I did so much wingin’ it – so much “figuring out as I go” and so much “I guess I’ll just show up and see what happens.” It sounds silly and many have asked me, “Well, why did you sign up in the first place if you never thought you’d make it to the end?” I don’t know. I guess I figured I’d give it my best shot. I guess I thought that either way, it might be a good story. Maybe because it was the next logical step in life that society told me I needed to take. I’m not sure, but for whatever reason, I did it. And it’s worked out so far.
But the good news: I know my purpose – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. To love my neighbor as myself. To do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.
Now it’s time for another step. Except this time, there’s really no visible end goal. There’s no stage, no gown or funny little hat that tells me I’ve made it. There’s no piece of paper that says I sat in a classroom for 120 hours. There are no speeches or little infographics that show me my progress in reaching my goal. If you were to ask me right now if I’m ready for that next step, the answer would be a resounding, “Hell nah.” I’m not ready. I have no idea what to expect. I don’t get the lingo. The terminology confuses me and I am so.not.ready. Déjà vu. The same familiar knotted stomach feeling I had 4 years ago. The same bout of questions except this time with a little more pressure, a little more expectancy.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about my postgrad plans, I probably could’ve paid my tuition. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m probably going to wing it. A lot. I’m probably going to do a lot of “figuring it out as I go.”
That’s kind of scary. But the good news: I know my purpose – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. To love my neighbor as myself. To do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God. To make disciples of all nations. I’ve got the basics covered. And there are things I’m good at and things I’m passionate about – I think that’s my toolbox of sorts that I’ve been given to fulfill my purpose.
I’m not sure where the combination of those things will take me. Maybe they’ll take me across the world. Maybe they’ll take me across the street. Those are all fine options because throughout the process of asking questions, of stepping into the unknown, of working toward an invisible goal, I’ve learned to hold loosely to all that is not eternal. I’ve learned to walk through life with my palms open and upward. So as far as my postgrad plans, I’m going to fix my eyes on Jesus, and I’m going to show up and see what happens.
If you’re a college (or high school) grad, and you’re unsure of your purpose, I’ve got good news: Your purpose is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. To love your neighbor as yourself. To do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. To make disciples of all nations. When the questions and expectations and pressures of society (and of the people you love) begin to crowd you, hold fast to that truth. Fix your eyes on Jesus, show up, and see what happens.
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”