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Dear High School Grads...

My high school graduation was… let's just say many MANY years ago. The person I am today is very different than who I was on the day I graduated. The only reason I am who I am today is because of the things I have experienced and the people who have loved me and guided me through this time in my life. As such I believe that it is of the utmost importance to help young people who are at the beginning of this journey. They have just graduated high school and stand at the beginning of their road to success and we as adults have the responsibility to love and support them through their journey.

This week’s blog is dedicated to all of the young people who will be graduating high school soon, or who have graduated in the past few years. This is a love letter to you that I hope will help guide you down the road.

Graduating high school is a great accomplishment and will be the first of many moments that you will always look back with pride. The list below is a few things that I wish someone would have told me about life when I graduated from high school. I also asked some of my closest friends, family, and all the followers of My Christian Walk on Facebook and Instagram to pitch in with some advice. Together we hope that this advice will help lead you towards the bright future God has designed for you personally.

There is no one right answer when it comes to your future

Many young people today believe that God has one dedicated plan for their lives and if they take a wrong turn along the way they can put themselves off the path of God. That is simply not true! God does have a plan for our lives but He has also given us free will to make decisions for ourselves. We are never out of God’s plan for our life, He knows beforehand the decision we will make and has prepared for it. Even if we turn from God completely He always has a way of reconnecting and giving us the chance to enter back into the relationship with Him through His love and forgiveness.

The friends you have in high school are not always the ones you have for life

Although the friends you have in high school are very important to your development they are not always the friends you have for the rest of your life. Once high school ends and you no longer see those people every day it is very easy to slip further apart. Although you might not be as close as you once were the memories you have with them will always remain. Drifting away from friends is not always a bad thing. In order for you to take the path that is designated for you it commonly leads you away from who you were and the community you once had.

This is a time to recreate yourself and be who God has created you to be

High school teaches you a lot about who you are but the years after graduation will push you to your limits and will make you reconsider who you really are. This is just a right of passage and will help you determine who you will be as an adult. God has given you a personality that is designed to flourish when you find yourself in His presence. When you seek out God He will show you the specific traits He has given you to become the person He has created you to be. We all know the famous verse from Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” If we allow God to guide us we can become the best version of ourselves and be the person God wants us to be.

Don’t get so wrapped up in every decision you make

Life is all about trial and error. There will be many times in which you start heading down a road and quickly realize it is a dead-end, but that dead end leads to many lessons that we can learn from and carry with us on the right road. If you find yourself questioning if you are making the right decision then you can yourself this simple question. Will this decision matter or affect me five years from now? If so then take it seriously, pray about it and ask for advice but remember God can use you wherever you go. If it will not affect you long term then just do what you think is right.

Embrace the change, don’t fight it

Things will change and that is a good thing. Progress can be painful but it is needed to move forward. Trust me when I say that you don’t want things to be the exact same as they were in high school. There are bigger and better things out there that are found in the walls of the school and even outside of the town you grew up in. Accept change for what it is, an opportunity to experience new things. I suggest you get out of the town you graduated from for a few years at least and then return home if you believe that is what is best for you.

Independence is nice but it shouldn’t be a free pass to making mistakes

There is a new kind of independence after you graduate high school and with that independence, you will have the opportunity to do many new things. That is not a free pass to be reckless and do things that could stick with you for the rest of your life. There are some choices that cannot be undone. So think twice before doing anything too drastic. Don’t allow one mistake or one night of fun to derail your future.

Relationships are not really worth the time until you find the right one

Or as I have always said, dating is not worth it until it is worth it. Although we think the relationships we have in high school are the real deal many times they are not. Dating relationships can flourish in a controlled environment of high school but don’t always survive in the real world. We can learn a lot about what we want and what we like from those relationships but they are not always the ones we need for life. Just as I have stated before we change a lot during the years following high school and we can become someone very different than who we once were, growing away from the person our significant other needs us to be. We should also never change who we are just to stay with that person or because we are too scared to end the relationship. Trust me I have been there but when you find the person that God has created for you, you will be able to be the person you really are without having to hold back.

Only you and God can determine who you will be. No one else’s opinions should matter.

Others' opinions should never be what defines you. The goal is to be who God has created you to be. Peer pressure is not something that disappears after high school, and if you allow it to dictate your decisions it can push you to be someone different. Being your true self is the most wonderful and freeing thing you can do.

You will be challenged in ways you can only imagine but If you have your faith and trust in God He will protect you

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but adulthood is hard. The challenges you face in high school are minimum when it comes to the stresses of being an adult. Although the pressure of being an adult may feel unbearable at times if we have our faith and trust in the Lord we know that He will not give us more than we can handle. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” The difficult times you endure will give you the strength to overcome other hard times in the future. Lean into God and He will lean into you.

Call your parent… It is worth the time.

With this newfound independence, you will think you can do things on your own and that you don’t need the advice of your parents or adults. Feel free to give it a try alone but always remember that your parents are just on the other end of a phone call and want to help you succeed. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents about a situation I would suggest reaching out to an older mentor or friend that will give you Godly advice. Having someone in your corner to love and pray for you is the best defense in the struggles of life. You might not believe me but your parent were young once and probably did the same things you are doing now, meaning they can help you.

We all remember the excitement of graduating high school and looking into the future. Please share this post with young people who have graduated in the last few years or will be graduating soon to help them along the way.

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