By Beth Ann Baus, Crosswalk.com
It’s graduation time! You’ve done it! You’ve survived high school, or your first college degree, or maybe even your second. It’s time to celebrate your accomplishment! Hopefully, you’ve had friends and family gather around you to share in this momentous occasion. Perhaps you’ve had a party thrown in your honor or perhaps you celebrated quietly. Either way, this is intended to be a time of excitement and celebration!
But, as with any celebration, the festivities will end. The congratulatory cards will stop coming and the excitement will subside. Expectations are voiced and for many, this is when the reality of graduation becomes a time of stress, confusion, and fear. Whether you are going off to college, a secondary degree, going into the workforce, or are undecided, change can be difficult.
Friends and family expect you to do something with the knowledge you’ve gained. Everyone desires the best for you and while their congratulations are meant to be encouraging, their expectations can be overwhelming. This is when many grads ask themselves, “What do I do now?”
May the following prayer help guide your own conversations with the Lord as you embark on this new chapter of your life:
Thank you for allowing me the freedom and ability to study and learn. I praise you for your goodness and your faithfulness! You have been with me on the good days when the answers came easy, and on the bad days, when I just couldn’t wait for the day to be done. You have been there with me every step of the way and I thank you.
Remind me, Father, that I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to have all the answers. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing next.” Allow your Spirit to minister to my heart and remind me that I can make plans, but it is you who directs my steps. When I feel lost, remind me that you are guiding me, that you are directing me, and that following your lead will always be better than following the world. While the expectations of others can be overwhelming, remind me that my focus should be on meeting your expectations first.
I trust that you will be with me now as I start this new chapter in my life. I ask that you keep me from being overwhelmed by the opportunities set before me. I ask that your Word would be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path and that, when faced with decisions about my future, I would not look for personal gain but instead, ways to honor and glorify you.
Remind me that I can serve you in the mission field, sitting behind a desk in an office, working in a factory, performing surgery, or while changing the oil in someone’s car. I can and will serve you wherever you choose to place me. Thank you for giving me a unique set of gifts and talents. Thank you for remaining confident in me even on the days when I lose confidence in myself.
I trust you to equip me for whatever work you put before me and I pray that I will always follow Paul’s example of being content in every circumstance, knowing that you are my God and you are holding me in your hands. And while I am growing as an adult, I ask that you would continue to grow me up in my knowledge of you. Give me new eyes to see you working in my life, a better understanding of your Word, and an excitement for the path that you have laid before me.
I know the enemy wants to distract me. I know my own sinful heart will try and deceive me. Keep your Word ready on my tongue that I might be prepared to resist temptations and stay focused on what lies ahead. Remind me that I am always representing you. I am showing the world what I believe by the choices I make, by the company I keep, and by the way I treat those around me.
This is a time in life when parties are more prevalent and experimentation with drugs and alcohol are more likely. I would like to be the person people come to for advice and wisdom, not the person who is known for being the life of the party. Even if it means being an outcast, being made fun of, or losing friends, give me the courage to stand up for what I know is right and to keep my conscience clear before you. I want to be known as a follower of Christ Jesus before anything else.
God, you give good gifts to your children. I ask that you would surround me with friends who are like-minded - friends that I can count on to point me to you and help me stay rooted in your Word. Help me in my moments of success not to be puffed up with pride but to remember that my success is you working through me. Remind me in my moments of failure to lean on your understanding, not my own, and that even in the dark moments you are working through me. Give me wisdom, not just for my studies or for my job, but for life. Grow me up in my knowledge of you, that I might stay in step with your Spirit and not rely on my own efforts.
I praise you, God, for who you are. I praise you for starting a good work in me and that I can trust you to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. I praise you, God, that no matter how successful I am here on earth, eternity with you will be greater than I can even imagine. And, if this new chapter in my life is full of disappointment, I can rest assured that you will give me the strength to carry on.
Father, even though change can be frightening and stepping into the unknown can be challenging, please give me excitement for this new stage of life, and fill me with the joy that only you can give. Fill me with anticipation for the future. Help me to find comfort in knowing that nothing about my future is a surprise to you. You know what’s coming and your plan is perfect! Thank you that I can trust in you and in your plan for me and that I can wake up each morning with a new sense of excitement for what the day will hold! Thank you for being with me then, now, and for all the days of my life!
In Jesus’ name,
Beth Ann Bausis a wife and homeschooling mom of two boys. She is a freelance writer and author of the novel, Sister Sunday. In her writing, Beth often pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression, and OCD. Beth has a heart for women’s ministry and is in the process of becoming a certified Biblical Counselor. She loves serving alongside her husband and pointing couples to the Word for strengthening their marriages and home life. You can find more from her at www.bethannbaus.com.