Have you ever worried about something in your life? (If you haven’t, can I be you?) We’ve all worried about at least a few things in our lives, right? When I was in my early years of high school, all I ever worried about was homework, tests, project due dates, and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. I thought that was a tough time … but then the word “graduation” popped into my daily vocabulary, and it’s all I could think about. What will I do next? Will I even have a life after high school?
It seemed like family, friends, and complete strangers were always asking me questions like, “What are your plans for after high school?” “Why aren’t you going to college?” Or my personal favorite, “Are you ready to start adulting?” To be completely honest, it was obnoxious. Not that people cared about me and wanted to know things about my life—I was truly thankful for that. But it was obnoxious because I didn’t have an answer for any of their questions. I wasn’t following a typical pattern or expected next step.
I knew that I wasn’t going to college because I believed God had something else in store for me, but I didn’t know how to tell other people that. When you begin a sentence, “God told me I shouldn’t go to college,” people punctuate that sentence with an eye roll at best. Plus, just because I felt like college wasn’t in God’s plan for me didn’t mean I knew exactly what was in His plan for me! I was so caught up in worrying about the unknown. I believed I was doing what God wanted for me, but I still wondered if I was doing it right. Would I turn out okay? Did God really have plans for me even though I didn’t know what they were, exactly? I tried to figure it all out on my own. I’m sure you can guess how far that got me.
I had to remind myself it’s okay not to know what’s next. It’s okay to take new opportunities even if I’m not sure if I can handle them. It’s okay to try. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to follow what you and your trusted mentors agree is God’s plan for your life—even when it feels scary. In fact, it might just be the first time you understand that your faith is real. Faith that isn’t tested enough to develop perseverance is weak.
I have a question for those of you who are graduating from high school and stepping out into the world of unknowns. Have you planted your seed of faith? Okay, that might sound weird. But Jesus said if we have even just a little faith—like a tiny seed—we can move mountains. Why are we so afraid of what obstacles might cross our paths when we have God’s help through faith to move the mountains back and keep walking? You have no need to get so caught up in the fears of what major to choose, when you’re going to move out of your parents’ house, or how you’re going to afford anything when you do. These things are obviously great things to be aware of and prepared for, but you can’t figure it all out on your own. You need to plant a seed of faith and trust that God will grow the roots from that seed, which will lead you to the growth you’ve been yearning for.
“Stop your worrying. I have plans for you.” This is what I felt God speaking into my heart when I had no idea what I was supposed to do in life after high school. It’s so simple! Remember that every time you start to doubt your circumstances. I have plans for you. I asked God to help me remember those words and to believe them. So, what did I do? I looked at my passion and skills and tried to figure out what God’s dream might be for my life. I love art, photography, and capturing life and emotion through images. I went through a Chazown experience and found out that my purpose is to use my God-given gifts and passions to share the story of the local church. That could’ve been anywhere, but I applied for a photography internship at Life.Church—and I got it! I worked my tail off during my internship and learned more each day than the day before. And (drumroll, please) I ended up accepting a job offer as a staff photographer at my dream-of-dream jobs! God did have plans for me, and I found them by working hard toward what I believed He was leading me to. Now, I get to do what I love while also serving the Lord.
If you think you have everything figured out for after high school, or even if you’re nowhere close, I encourage you to remember what my pastor, Craig Groeschel, says: “Just because you can’t see the fruit doesn’t mean that God hasn’t created the root.” You may not know what’s going to come to fruition in your life, but I can assure you that following God’s leading is always better than any other path. All you need to do is plant a seed of faith.