You’re standing in the light, bedecked in cap and gown, friends and family cheering as they snap pictures and smile about your accomplishments. You walk across the stage with confidence to receive your diploma, but as you walk back to your seat, the excitement is mingled with another sentiment: uncertainty.
Graduation season is one of joy and achievement, but for many graduates it’s also a season of doubt. Those graduating high school may be wondering, “Did I choose the best college? Am I in the right major? What if this choice isn’t a good fit for me?” Those graduating college may wonder, “Will I land a good job? What will this transition from student to full-timer look like?” The fear of the unknown can destroy our joy if we allow it. So how do we face uncertainty with the same confidence it took to walk across the commencement stage?
1. Embrace uncertainty as a stepping stone to faith.
If we received a blueprint for life upon graduation, there would be no surprises, no uncertainty—and absolutely no need for faith. In some ways it’s appealing to imagine a life with no surprises: We could prepare for the financial hiccups, the loss of loved ones and the sudden changes in future plans. But if this were the case, there would be no reason for us to depend on our all-good and all-loving God, who is working in us to “will and to work to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
Uncertainty, while uncomfortable, drives us to a deeper relationship with God Himself. His presence is the “known” within our “unknown”: our point of reference when all else is in doubt.
2. Remember: You are not alone in your doubt!
Feelings of doubt and uncertainty are completely normal both before and after big life transitions. We question our ability, our wisdom and our qualifications. When you feel as if everyone around you knows exactly what major to study in college or what job they’ll have after their bachelor’s degree, remember that no one has life figured out! All of us walk a winding road with changes around each bend. All of us have doubts. The good news: No one is alone!
For every person struggling with uncertainty, there is God graciously reaching down to “lead us in His truth” and “teach us His paths” (Psalm 25:4-5). He knows we don’t have it figured out. He knows our worries and burdens, and He stands ready to lighten the load as we cast our cares on Him (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7).
3. Listen for God’s direction.
God is willing and able to give us direction, but sometimes we don’t hear Him. Our culture puts so much emphasis on success, to be uncertain about the future seems like a sure step toward failure. But where the world makes plans without God, we can make plans around God. Our Creator would not have gone to the trouble of creating us if He didn’t have a plan. He would not have wasted time knitting you together if He didn’t already love you! As we trust His loving direction and diligently ask Him to clarify His plan, we are able to hear “His voice behind us saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:20).
It will be tempting to overwhelm ourselves with busy schedules to bolster our resume, apply for scholarships and get into that fellowship. But these good things won’t bring peace or success. Peace and success come from listening for direction from the One who knew our path before we were old enough to walk it.
So this graduation season, don’t worry about your 10-year plan. Focus instead on drawing near to God, who will direct you into the life most fulfilling for your heart and most glorifying to the gospel.