“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!” – Psalm 31:24
(If I had come across a post like this when I was in high school, I would have benefited from it immensely. That’s why it’s my goal on Dreaming of Guatemala to share advice that I would have appreciated when I was younger! It would bless me so much to be able to be that inspiration for someone else. ❤ )
In 2014, I was very excited to start 9th grade. I wasn’t quite sure what being a junior in high school would entail, but I was homeschooled, so I was honestly just excited to start working on some new subjects, haha! #I’mATotalNerd However, when I was about fourteen years of age, there was a sudden difference in how people talked to me, a switch that I didn’t even know existed.
COLLEGE became the topic of all conversation.
I’d really like to know why everyone thinks that being in high school = you know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life?? The pressure from and expectations of society to begin pursuing a higher education (even though you’re still, like, finishing up the last third of your primary education haha) is insanely overwhelming. It is most certainly why nearly all of my peers have already started the college process by this point.
I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of anxiety and depression I faced over the last two summers. In 2017, I looked into some colleges. I thought about it a lot and prayed about it deeply. I did not feel led to pursue anything, so I started my senior year (12th grade) blindly following the Lord and allowing my faith to rest in Him. (Although, I’ll be frank with you, my faith did very little ‘resting’ these past couple of years.)
I graduated from high school in May of 2018.
I did not have any college plans.
I still don’t on the day I write this.
And because I was looking to society to validate my academic choices, I felt like I was failing.
Society has a way of making the decisions of the masses look like the only course of action.
Society also pushes to validate the beliefs, opinions, and choices of popular individuals. Just look at YouTube Trending right now. (Actually, wait – don’t do that. Keep reading this post!) Social media absolutely loves making fake lives look real, because it forces the rest of us to want what famous people don’t even have!!!
College is another one of those things. Most people go to college, so I have to, as well.
What if we all stopped looking at the world?
What if we looked at our unique situation and based our decisions on what will work for us? Do you know what kind of heartache, financial burden, and regret we’d save ourselves from? (I actually have no idea, and you don’t either, but you get my point.)
I am so very tired of thinking my life is being wasted because I’m not pursuing college at the moment. Because I’m not doing the “normal” thing for someone my age (although, what is normal?), I have felt, countless times, like I’m doing nothing. That doesn’t make any sense!
College wasn’t the next natural step for me after high school for a great many reasons. Here’s a wee list:
- I didn’t want to start out my adult life in instant debt.
- I’m not interested in earning a degree in any field.
- I love using resources to teach myself.
- I desire to follow the Lord’s will for my life.
… and so much more.
Let’s focus on that last point for a moment, shall we?
Leaving College In The Lord’s Hands
Faith is one of the hardest lessons for a Christian to learn.
It truly is.
The Lord has been challenging me to trust Him since day one of my relationship with Him, and I am literally just now getting to the point where I can happily say that I desire for Him to work in my life.
The reason it took me this long (about seven years or so?) is because I thought, for a very long time, that trusting God = bringing what I want to Him and asking for His blessing. I never considered the topic in so many words, but it was by this prayer mindset that I lived. Here are some examples from my teenage years:
I want to go to that concert, Lord. I know You’ll work it out for me to attend.
I want to be friends with this girl I just met. She’s really nice, so I know You want us to be friends.
I want to date this guy, and everything seems to be working out, so it has to be Your will.
Can you see how centered on myself these prayers were?
I was praying about things that I certainly could have trusted Him with, but that’s not what I was doing at all. I was telling Him about what I wanted and expected Him to bless it because those things, relationships, etc., would certainly enhance my life.
I didn’t stop to consider that maybe He had more beautiful plans for me than I could have ever hoped or asked for.
College fits snugly into this category, as well.
I kept thinking (and incorporating into my prayers), Everyone else is going to college, Lord! It has to be the right thing to do. Even though I don’t want to rush off to college, I want to make the right decision. Can this really be the right decision for me?
Every time I prayed about college, I knew He was asking me to wait.
At this point, I have no idea; I may very well go to college someday. If that ends up being in my mid- to late twenties, or it’s something I pursue once my future children grow up, I don’t need this knowledge right now. What I’m learning to do, through everything the Lord is teaching me, is how to trust Him with my present. The future is beautifully in His hands.
Looking at my life now, I am insanely grateful that I’m still living at home, pursuing various areas of study on my own. I love being with my baby sisters, growing closer to my brothers, and having heartfelt conversations with my parents.
I’m pursuing adulthood at a pace that is comfortable for me, because it is right in the center of the Lord’s will.
The Lord knows exactly what He has in store for your life. Trusting in Him goes so much deeper than reciting Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We have sadly become desensitized to the beauty of this verse, which is why I am very grateful just how many times He reassures us in His Word. I especially love this one from Psalms I just found:
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart through all generations.” – Psalm 33:11
Just as He cared for every single person in the Bible, His affection and guidance can be evident in our lives today! He asks that we would trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. Accepting Him into our hearts is the first step in a relationship that will bring about fulfillment, enjoyment, and satisfaction in the life He has given us.
If you are at the point in your life where college decisions are closing in on you, making it harder and harder for you to breathe, reach out to the One Who created your very soul. He is more than willing to fill your future with peace – just call on His name.