Thursday, July 7, 2011

Graduation Syndrome

Ever felt like you were at a constant “crossroads” in life? 
(metaphorically of course… although as an intern I had been constantly at Crossroads. No pun intended.)
Approximately every two years I come to this place where it’s like “OK… I’ve done this and this and this… now what?” and then I go into a great time of waiting where God teaches patience… 
which I am very very bad at.
“What’s next?” I constantly ask… and where do I go from here?
So here, for you dear reader, I am going to break this wonderful time of life down into several areas of diagnosing this problem that I’ll call…


Graduation Syndrome (or Grad-Syn) is most common in young adults of approximately between the ages of 17-27.
However, there can sometimes be relapses of Grad-Syn later on in life that is more commonly known as the “Mid-Life Crisis”.
Symptoms of Grad-Syn can include (but are definitely not limited to – every person has their unique blend of symptoms) :
-          inability to surrender the future to God
-          worry (either about the future, money issues, or often just what to do with your life in general)
-          loss of focus
-          OCP (Obsessive Compulsive Prayer) 
Now we all know it’s an amazing thing to come to God with everything that’s going on in your life. But if you suffer from Grad-Syn, chances are you will tend to obsess about praying about anything and everything that pops into your brain about where your life is headed and you may even obsess about why nothing has happened yet.
I’ll tell you why… it’s not God’s TIME!
When we OCP, sometimes we take the focus off of where it should be and we can turn into these incredibly selfish beings praying prayers like that are so totally ME-focused.
Stuff like “Jesus if you could just work this out for ME I will do anything else for you that you want…” or “please just let me do this with my life and then I can do this for you.”
This attitude is completely selfish and when we are thinking and praying this way it is very difficult for God to bring us where He wants us in life – into all the great things He has called us to do. (Do not confuse calling with actually doing. God can call you to something, but if you don’t take instruction, get wisdom, and build character, what’s He gonna be able to do with you? Not much. This is something I’ve been learning first hand the last two years as an intern.)
Often we are so distracted by what we think we want in life, that we can miss out on what God really has for us.
We lose focus.
It’s all a part of Graduation Syndrome.
So how do we regain our focus?
How do we stay focused on God and not our own selfish ambitions?
In my experience it started with God stripping things away. 
Anything I’ve ever been selfish about He decided to kinda repossess, I guess you could say. (since it was all His in the first place)
When it was finally down to just the bare bones of me and my relationship with Him, He was able to speak to me and release something… it’s in a place of complete surrender that Jesus likes to show up, make you fall to your knees and just shake your world till you realize that it’s all about Him.
It’s all about humility and realizing that He is in control.
When it’s all about Him, your prayers start to change.
Instead of being entirely “me” focused, you start to pray for people and situations in life more. before you know it people’s lives are changing around you and eventually you’ll look back and stand in wonder at where God has brought you.
This is the last phase of Graduation Syndrome. And I think it’s a good place to be.
Always ready for change. Cuz change in life is such a needed thing!
During the early stages of Graduation Syndrome, change can cause worry, stress and all the other things that tear your focus off of who God is.
It’s all a process God takes us through… great thing is, He’s right there the whole time.
Once we shift our focus to Him, He promises to work all things together for good. He directs our steps and knows exactly what we need, when we need it.
If we stay focused on Him and what HE wants more than the Graduation Syndromes of life, a crazy thing happens. Things start to work out in your own life.
It’s like I’ve said before – He knows what you want, even before you do.
Things work out better when He’s running things.
This worrying we tend to fall back on, it’s just a syndrome.
Perhaps it’s not just me dealing with this, since graduation… perhaps it doesn’t just affect people between the ages of 17-27… perhaps it’s during all graduations of life.
During every process He takes us through to mold us into what He really wants us to be.
All of life is a graduation… and all of life is a beautiful change that He brings about in His own timing. A change that not only reveals more of who we are, but more importantly more of who HE IS.

Stay focused.
Seek His face.
He is the only antidote for Graduation Syndrome.
His face holds all the hope for your future.
A journey of trust.
A pursuit of Him.
Then stand back in wonder – years later – 
at all that He has done in your life.

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 
Jeremiah 29:11 (the Message)

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
(New Living Translation)