There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.”
Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.
— Orrin Hatch
Commencement season is upon us and each time I think about graduation ceremonies and all those invited speakers, I recall the words of spiritualist Marianne Williamson. I agree with her when she says: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
How is it that some of those graduates will go on to push through their fears and the discomfort of sacrifice and hard work? How will they catch a vision of their own possibilities? And why is it, then, that others in that same graduating class will choose comfort and mediocrity, over a plan, or vegetate because they can’t seem to take the next scary step?
Bestselling writer Max Lucado suggests that people actively engage in five activities when contemplating both exciting future challenges as well as enormous hurdles.
First, recall the times when God was there to provide you with the energy, courage, hope and passion you needed.
Write down a situation when it was apparent God was working in practical ways to help in an activity you were involved in. If you are unable to readily invoke a memory of your own, turn in your Bible to the stories where God was actively engaged in people’s lives. Then read God’s promise in 1 Chronicles 16: “Remember His marvelous works which He has done. God’s attentiveness to your life remains steadfast.”
Second, dedicate time to pray.
Not only will it require that you quiet your racing thoughts, but you will experience peace, mental clarity, and a renewed connection with God. You’ll begin to sift through ideas that are worthy of your attention and step away from those that are not.
Third, ask God to help you discover ways to bring honor and glory to Himself.
Fourteen short days following the devastating news that my dad faced stage 4 pancreatic cancer, he passed away. When the attending physician came into the room shortly after his passing, he asked me how I was able to react with such peace when there had been so little time to process the news. I told him God was a faithful companion and I would have fallen apart without Him. It was a hard conversation, but I understood it was my moment to represent the truth as I had experienced it.
Fourth, move forward.
Get on with your plan. You have probably pondered it long enough and itemized the challenges. Turn now to your passion and step forward. Face the sacrifice and frustrations with patience.
Fifth, don’t stop once you get moving.
Be persistent. Find a way around and over roadblocks. Never give up. Take one step at a time. Understand there will be thrilling mountaintop experiences coupled with valleys of uncertainty, disappointment and doubt. Keep moving anyway, all the while asking God to come beside you. You’ll see His light and yours.