The holidays are always filled with the unexpected; Grandma’s rolls burned at Christmas dinner, 80 year old Aunt Cleda brought her new boyfriend to the candle light service, and the YETI mug you planned to buy your dad for Christmas sold out. However, as a college student, there is one thing that is always consistent; answering those dreaded "future questions". "What do you want to do with your degree?”, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “Are you dating anyone you’re serious about?", I could go on and on, but if you are/ have been in college, you understand. For whatever reason your relatives think that what you want for Christmas is to feel like you're in an interrogation room forced to correctly answer endless inquiries about your future.
Now, even though your extended family members didn't mean to totally depress you with their desperate attempts to create small talk, you’ve now found yourself emotionally binge-eating your way through the plate of Christmas cookies because you couldn’t answer a single one of their questions confidently. And that obviously means you’re failing at life…. right?
SO PUT DOWN THE COOKIES AND BREATHE.
So what you don’t have your future completely planned out; News Flash: We aren’t suppose to.
Sure, it's great to have passions and dreams. The Lord has given us certain gifts and talents to pursue and use, but we are never going to be 100% sure what tomorrow holds, or even if we will have a tomorrow. The collegiate stage of life can be paralyzingly stressful when we make life seem like a ladder of accomplishments you must climb in order to succeed or some checked boxes on your "Life To-Do List”. The expectations society puts on college students to become successful is an extremely heavy burden to carry, especially to a barely-twenty-something year old.
BUT it doesn't have to be like that.
College can also be a time of abundant growth when we stay open to the opportunities and path Jesus has for us. When we see this young adult stage as an opportunity to freely do the Lord's work with out being tide down to a career or a long-term relationship, it can be such a time of spiritual freedom.
We all have ideal ways in which we think our lives should go and certain goals we set for ourselves, and we all feel the pressure to achieve them. However, the best way to really accomplish anything in this life, is to release your control of it. Yes, you read that right, let your plans go. Being open to the Lord's plan means being able to lay your own aside. Life isn't a Pass or Fail class, it's a process. As the world pushes productivity and efficiency into our heads- the only true demand our life has is obeying God's Great Commission.
So my challenge for you is to embrace not knowing exactly what career path to take yet and to love the freedom in not having your future spouse picked out. Instead, focus your thoughts on what you can do to further Christ's kingdom today, right now. Have the extra cup of coffee with a friend who needs your advice even though you should probably be studying, wake up an extra ten minutes early to do your Bible study (because let's be honest, when you say you'll do it at night, it never actually happens), and ask the girl crying outside of her professor’s office if you can do anything for her. God doesn’t measure our success by our career path, how high our GPA is, or how long it took us to find “the one”. He merely asks us to shine the light of His truth onto a sin-cursed world and there’s no GPA or level of education needed to do that.
So this holiday season, if asked one of the dreaded "future" questions- be confident in replying with "I don't know" or "I'm not sure”; be confident in knowing you’re pursuing Christ’s will for your life and that’s all you can do right now. God’s a gracious professor, who wants to see you succeed and prosper, but we as His students, have to do our part as well. Let go.