Welcome to the final part of the high school commencement speech I delivered two weeks ago. Part one reviews the rich tradition of women in our faith and part two looks at three women and the ways in which God used parts their childhood when they became adults.
You are off to a wonderful adventure – college. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! I loved living in a dorm, I loved walking on campus holding my books the way I thought a cool college coed did, I loved meeting boys, and wrestling with things of faith and watching my relationships with family members morph and deepen.
But the heart of my message for you as you enter college and embark on the rest of life your life is beware the voices that whisper to you …
The greatest call on your life is to be a college graduate or have an MA or a PhD
The greatest call on your life is to be a graduate from school XYZ
The greatest call on your life is to choose the right major
The greatest call on your life is to get the best job
The greatest call on your life is to find something fulfilling and useful to the kingdom and leave the smallest carbon footprint while documenting how cool you are on instagram
The greatest call on your life is to marry a God-honoring man
The greatest call on your life is to keep an amazing home and use it as a place to minister to weary souls
The greatest call on your life it to cure cancer or write music or teach school
The greatest call on your life is to return to China and use your childhood for His glory
The greatest call on your life is motherhood
The greatest call on your life is to die debt free and surrounded by loved ones.
There are echoes of truth in each of these whispers …
As we, your loving community, launch you into adulthood and celebrate all you and your parents have accomplished as represented by this high school graduations we say to you —
The greatest call on your life is to follow Christ.
Listen daily for the whisper that says “I am my beloveds and He is mine.”
You have dreams and plans that is good and wonderful. But even if you dream one day of being the “national teacher of the year” (the biggest dream I could have for myself at your age – and so self serving, :)), it pales in comparison to what God has for you. Your life will be like you think it’s going to be and different in ways you just can’t predict.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he encouraged them “I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
So dream, dream big! Go boldly! Laugh hard! Don’t stay up too late at night and beware of the unending desserts in the cafeteria (don’t miss them, just don’t become bff’s). Study hard, get involved in a church. Make friends. Chase boys. Call your parents. The world is your oyster and I’m excited to see how God is going to use you … but as wonderful as it is that you have graduated, I come back to … the greatest call on your life is to follow Christ.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
You can get the entire speech here. (Printable)
What whispers have you heard? What did you just love about college?
The call on our lives takes different shapes throughout our lives but the core remains constant: Disciples of Christ. Girls, the world will try to tell you so many things but take heed of the “still small voice” that dwells within you: the Holy Spirit. You belong to a wonderful heavenly Kingdom that you can share with those who may not know, may have experience hurt, may have questions about or may misunderstand.
Be the women Abba is developing and calling you to be-let this be your “life” marker.
Entering my four decade has reminded me of how all the twists and turns of Abba’s divine plan work together for our good even when we don’t really get it. And the beauty is, I still have so much to learn :)
Cynth, I had dinner with someone on Saturday night who reminded me so much of you … and then this lovely comment :). You’ve been on my mind!
Wendy Belsley says
This is absolutely refreshing. Thank you for speaking these truths.
And thanks to you for commenting Wendy!
Mark Allman says
May we all listen for that whisper and follow.
Charyl Azarcon says
Why, yes, this is very unburdening indeed. :) I’d been hearing different “whispers” the past days, and most of them just cause me to fear. It’s refreshing to be reminded of the main thing of my Christian life.
Truth often has a way of unburdening us!
David Rupert says
The whispers you hear are no different than the whispers I hear.
So glad you had a chance to speak truth into these minds! Masterfully put!
Loved your comments – thanks for your reminders to all of us “older ones” too – not just the high school graduates – so many whispers in our lives – we need to be reminded to have listening hearts to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself!””. Thank you. I am new to your blog….soon to be moving to BJ.
JB, warmly welcome as we say in China … both to the blog and to the Jing!