As a college student, whether an incoming freshman, a graduating senior or somewhere in between, one of the most common questions a college student encounters is: “What do you want to do with your life?” Though a seemingly simple and direct question about one’s chosen major or desired career path, this inquiry is enough to make anxious thoughts well up inside of you, creating an overwhelming and dizzying sense of doubt, dread, or shame. Often, it is difficult to think about plans for the next week of your life, nonetheless the next five to ten years. However, when you feel this anxiety starting to overcome you, remind yourself of the steadfast faithfulness of your good Father, who is your “hiding place” and your “shield” (Psalm 119:114a). Remember, sister, to run to the Lord, for He is your refuge in troubled times, and a rock and a fortress for his people through every season (Psalm 31:2). You do not have to have everything figured out today.
In my own life, I have a tendency to strive, to accomplish, and to get ahead. I am a planner, and all too often, I try to rely on myself for the things I need; I try to control circumstances that are not mine to control; I try to achieve perfection, even though perfection is all but attainable. Despite my strivings, I have learned that not everything will fall into place according to the plans I make in my head. While this was once a disheartening lesson I had to learn, I now know that this reality is our greatest hope. After all, for those who trust the Lord and lean on Him for understanding, His Word promises us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
How encouraging this news is, friends!
It is good news to hear that God is working in our lives, even when we can not see it. Our God is not only God of the mountain tops but of the valleys and the everyday. He works things together according to His will, not according to ours. This is a comforting truth, as it means that we do not, and should not, rely on ourselves, or our own wills. His will is indeed the perfect way. For all the planning and hoping I could ever do, I will never have a more perfect plan than if I choose to rest in the will of God, knowing that, as Psalm 31:3-5 says, “You are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”
As we approach the halfway mark in the semester, and many of us undoubtedly encounter the challenges of midterms, balancing school, friendships, and rest as college students, as well as facing our own personal trials, may you be encouraged. God is with you and He is for you. This does not mean that things in life will be easy, but it does mean that they will be used for God’s glory.
Take some time to reflect on your life. How have you grown? What were times you desired a certain outcome in your life, but something else happened and changed everything? How did that change bring you to where you are today?
In closing, I will leave you with a thought that several mentors have shared with me over the years: God is working in our lives, and just because we can not see it, does not mean that He is not there. He is working in every moment, in both the big and the small. Take note of the next time something you do seems insignificant or ordinary. In these hidden places, God is with you.
With this reminder of God’s steadfast faithfulness, let us pray for His will to be done in our lives, and for us to look to Him, even in the hidden places. Like the words of Matthew 6:10-13, let us pray,
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”