“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Last month, I was asked to share some words of encouragement at a beautiful young woman’s super sweet sixteen party. These words were shared with her, her friends and family but I hope that they can bring encouragement to many young people which is why I decided to share them here.
Advice to Grads
Change is Inevitable:
You are entering a new phase in your life and the next few years are going to fly by very fast. So take a lot of pictures and make a lot of memories. Soon enough you will be applying to colleges, picking majors and interviewing for internships and jobs. You may even meet your future spouse.
Many things are going to change during this time. In life, change is inevitable.
- Your teachers and professors will change
- Your schedules will change
- Your circle of friends will change
But one thing will remain the same, JESUS.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever“
The Independent You:
You are walking into adulthood and independence. It is important that you remain steadfast, unwavering in your faith. Though at times you may feel invincible, storms will come and test you. It is your roots in your faith that will help you weather all of life’s storms.
It is important that in your newly found indepence, you find mentors who walk in integrity and allow them to speak into your life. Let them offer hope, encouragement, and correction when needed, because there will be times when you need to be steered in a new direction.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Remember, no matter what changes around you, God remains the same.
A New World of Thoughts:
As you enter this new phase in life, you will start to encounter people and professors who are very passionate about their beliefs. Should you choose to listen, do not be led astray. Use the word of God as a ruler to which you measure all thoughts, ideas and “truths”. Always measure all ideas against the truth of God’s word.
Paul provides us a great reminder to remain focused on the teachings we know and to not be led astray about strange new thoughts.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”
Do Not Lose Sight of Your Identity:
“My son (daughter), do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.”
Regardless of what is going on around you, do not ever forget the word of God and who you are in Him:
- You are a child of God
- You are royalty
- You are chosen
God has gifted you and provided you all that you need to fulfill His purpose for your life. It is inside you, in the deepest recesses of your heart. Allow these God-given passions and desires to stir in your spirit and to push you to step outside of your comfort zone.
Walk confidently knowing that He gives you your true identity. You are defined by Christ and not by:
- Your social media account
- Your circle of friends
- the words of others (good or bad)
- or even your career path
You are a child of God – that is who you are. Do not allow the outside voices or inside voices to say otherwise.
In life there will always be people who question your
Let them question you, but do not question yourself. Do the hard work, believe in God and believe in yourself. Your gifts and talents are from Him so trust your future to Him and trust that He has a future and a hope for your life. Let the words of Proverbs 3 sink deep into your heart. These will give you the wisdom you need for many years to come.