‘Tis the season to celebrate graduations. Young people from your friends and relatives, and maybe even one of your own children, are advancing from one phase of education on to the next exciting season of their lives.
Much advice could be given to young people launching on a new phase of life, but here are three key practices that will get them off to a strong start as adults.
It’s been twelve years since I graduated from homeschooling, and now I can look back and see that this advice, which was given to me at my graduation, and which permeates the book of Proverbs, still rings true.
1. Be diligent.
At this point in your life, it may seem like everyone is asking “what are you doing next?” You face some huge decisions, and it can seem overwhelming. But it’s just as important to be diligent, be faithful, and do your best at whatever is in front of you.
Moving forward into your adult life is a lot like driving a car. It’s important to steer carefully, so you don’t get off the road or crash, but the best steering won’t get you anywhere if you don’t push the gas pedal and move forward.
Balance is required. By all means, be discerning and make wise decisions about your life direction (more on that in the next point), but remember that the best decision making must be coupled with diligent action, or you won’t go anywhere.
Learn and practice real, valuable skills that you can use to serve others. The more diligent and skilled you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to be a blessing to others. You’ll be more valuable to potential employers and customers. God will open doors that you never imagined. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” Prov. 22:29
2. Be teachable.
How would you like to have more wisdom? Gain greater intelligence? Would you like to see your plans succeed? Achieve safety and victory? Proverbs says all these things and more are the result of listening to advice and seeking wise counsel. Your success in life, the quality of your relationships, and even the strength of your faith will largely depend on whether you are willing to learn from others or not. Consider what Steve Farrar says in his book, How To Ruin Your Life by 30:
“Are you able to hear good advice when it comes from some mouth other than your own and may even contradict your preconceived ideas? Are you willing to admit “I didn’t think of that” or “I see your point”? If no one has ever heard you change your mind about something, then you are either a god or you have mistaken yourself for one.”
Your willingness to seek wise counsel, together with a readiness to study God’s Word and pray for His guidance, make a reliable “decision-making toolbox” that will help you make wise choices. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Prov. 15:22
3. In all you do, trust in our loving, sovereign God.
Stay grounded in the fear of the Lord, and in your identity as a follower of Christ. The career you choose or the family you raise or the money you earn is not your identity. Your real worth is not based on your skills, your success, or your relationships with other people. All these things can be good and glorifying to God, but they’re not where you should look for ultimate satisfaction.
If you are a beloved child of God, a sinner saved by Christ, looking forward to an eternal future with Him, what can shake you? We’re going to make mistakes, but God is sovereign, and He is good. We can’t mess up His plan. He is so wise and good that He can use even our mistakes to accomplish His plans. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Prov. 19:21
This combination of diligence, teachability, and trusting God will give young adults the strength to move forward confidently and pursue a full life that brings glory to God.