faith and finals: trusting Jesus during senior year

Two years have passed since my last college final, but there are still few things that make my heart rate escalate like the two words “Finals Week.” I feel like I need to start pounding chocolate covered espresso beans, biking miles upon miles at the gym to de-stress, and weeping for no apparent reason at 3 AM on a Thursday evening.

So to my lovely senior-year friends, whether in high school or college, who are still in the thick of Finals Week and are trying to make massive life decisions, I get it. Senior year is hard, scary and ridiculously stressful.

On top of working hard to pass your classes and maintain some sort of reasonable GPA, people constantly ask you what your next plans are. Maybe you don’t actually know what the next life step is for you and maybe that scares the living daylights out of you.

So I wanted to take a moment to remind you of a couple of things that remain true whether you pass your classes and graduate or not. (These maybe “like duh” reminders for you, but look – I know what it feels like to lose your freaking mind during Finals Week. Let’s just take a stroll through some familiar Bible verses, okay?)

First of all, are you aware of how much Jesus loves you?

My favorite verse ever, Zephaniah 3:17 states that the Creator of the Universe rejoices over us and comforts us with His love:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

And, just FYI – He feels this way about you on your best days AND on your worst days. There’s nothing you could ever do to make God love you any more or anything you could do to cause Him to love you any less. Please inhale the freedom that this brings.

Secondly, are you aware of how deeply He knows you?

Psalm 139:14 and 16 declares:

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well. (…) Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

The psalm states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord, who knew us when we were still just blobs of matter. He already knows the course that our lives will take.

Another fantastic aspect of this psalm is that since God created us and knows our inmost beings, He intimately knows how we are wired to respond to chaos in life. So when you start flipping because WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK ARE YOU GOING TO DO AFTER GRADUATION ANYWAYS??? God doesn’t respond by tapping out from your emotional swirliness and waiting to come back until after you’ve calmed down and can rationally talk it out with Him. He’s faithful and near on the good days AND the bad days.

Ultimately, He completely understands how and why you emotionally and mentally process stress and hard decisions because He made you that way. 

Thirdly, do you trust that the Lord will faithfully provide for you?

In Luke 12, Jesus reminds us to not be anxious:

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more are you than the birds!” (12:24)

But Jesus doesn’t just leave it there – after reminding us of God’s provision and care for our daily needs, Jesus tells us in verse 32,

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

God doesn’t just provide daily food for us and help us get through stressful seasons of life, He delights in giving us eternal life and all the blessings of His kingdom through Jesus.

This also means that God is working to orchestrate our lives to fulfill His redemptive plan, not to fulfill our tiny human plans and sign off on all our hopes and dreams like some sort of genie.

Paul David Tripp wrote in his book New Morning Mercies, “No matter how counterintuitive it is, it really is true that real life is found only when [God’s] kingdom comes and His will is done, and that is exactly what grace welcomes you to.”

Reality is, whatever God has in store for us in His incredibly perfect plan for salvation and redemption is massively better than anything we could possibly come up for ourselves.

So here’s the deal: even if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the huge life decisions you have to make, please remember that the Lord will lead you in the way you should go. He has created you to impact His kingdom in a specific way, using your unique God-given talents and gifts, even if you don’t know what that will look like right at this moment.

As you strive to finish up this semester, continue to seek the Lord’s face through reading the Bible and through sitting at His feet in prayer. Pray for wisdom, pray for strength, and then listen.

Continue to talk to wise people in your life who love the Lord and who love you.

Continue to be kind to yourself and to others when you don’t have all the answers and people keep freaking asking what you’re doing after graduation.

And please keep breathing – the world is NOT ending, even in the midst of all-nighters, weird friendship transitions, big decisions, financial stressers, and difficult goodbyes. This is just a season. It’ll pass.

Meanwhile, if you need to tap out and take a breather, I have tea and a comfy couch – you’re always welcome.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)


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