7 Lessons I've Learned A Year On From Graduation

So its been a year since I graduated, its been an interesting journey to say the least. I definitely do not feel like I’ve got everything together but I am confident that God’s got this.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29

 1. Stop trying to figure it out

Once you graduate everyone expects you to have it all figured out. Some people do, but the majority of us don't. However it's not the end of the world if you don't. In spite of what your aunt’s husband’s cousins neighbours best friend says, you don't need to have the next 10 years planned out. Over the last year, I’ve found that even if you don't have everything planned out, figure out what you definitely don't want to do. This will help you make sure that you don't just accept the first mediocre opportunity that comes your way. It’s extremely common to see that new graduates (including myself) tend to grab the first thing that comes so they can seem like they know what they’re doing. 

"There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" Proverbs 14:12 

There's nothing wrong with taking time out to seek God about your next steps.

    2.   Quality over Quantity

People always say that the friends you make at university stay with you for life. That's very true, to a certain extent.  I saw my uni friends everyday, we lived together, went to church together, fellowshipped together, and had our fair share of arguments. Sound familiar? Fast forward, a year down the line, dynamics have changed. There is no way you can manage to spend that much time with the same people all the time when you leave uni. And if you don't prepare your mind for this beforehand, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Evaluate your relationships, make sure they're built on a solid foundation. If they are, even if you don't speak everyday, you can be rest assured that you're still friends, chill!  

Also, remember that thing your parents used to tell you, quality over quantity? It's true! As you leave university, you will also begin to realise that the squad doesn't need to be big. Three solid friends that can support you through tough times are better than ten friends that are only available during the good times.  

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Proverbs 17:17

3.   Contentment Complacency 

As Christians, we love to use the word contentment but at the same time we fear it. 
The Bible defines contentment as “an internal satisfaction, which does not demand changes in external circumstances”. While complacency can be described as “a self-satisfied state of negligence or carelessness, especially in relation to one’s personal situation. See the difference? 

If you are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, peace of heart and mind should be yours to enjoy. Your heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. He has limitless resources and, as a minimum, will give to us according to our actual need. Just because you are satisfied with your portion in this season, does not mean you have become complacent and have “flopped” in life.

Although, there are times in the graduate journey, where you will feel like you've made it. You've got that job, earning a "decent" wage, you can buy what you want when you want. When that happens you need to take several seats and stop because that's not where God wants you to be, He has greater in store. However the problem with us is that we never see beyond our 9-5. We get comfortable and think that this is it. It's never it! Our God is the creator of heaven and earth so it's never it! We are called to greater. But that is not to say that we should live in constant anticipation of what the next season holds. Enjoy your current season and know that God has a great plan and future for you, which he will reveal in his time. 

“Be content with such things as you have” means as believers such should be our trust and confidence in God that we should be satisfied with our condition regardless of our circumstances. For we know assuredly that if we are faithful God will cause all things to work together for our good” Romans 8:28

Seasoned by Seasons

I woke up with one of my friends on my heart.  She had appeared in my dream last night.  After texting her to see how she was doing, I reminded her how sometimes we run into some hard seasons but faith is one of the main reasons why we can’t give up!  This definitely wasn’t a coincidence because she expressed how grateful she was for the thought and encouraging words! 

A few hours later during church service, the praise and worship team’s last song was “Don’t Do It Without Me” by Bishop Paul S. Morton.  Majority of the song says “whatever you’re doing in this season, don’t do it without me”.  The song continues to ask God not to leave them out of any blessings or healings that He might perform in this season.  Later that evening, one of my close friends sent a message in a group text praising a writing piece of mine she had read and encouraging us to trust God in the various seasons of our lives. 

One day, three different encounters, all hitting on the same main point.  SEASONS.  After the text from my last friend, I sat there pondering on all three occurrences.  This was certainly not a coincidence. For the past few months I had been struggling, questioning my current season.  I had been praying about what to do, how to think, and most of all asking God for comfort and encouragement if He didn’t give me anything else!  After meditating and reflecting, the Holy Spirit reminded me of two points: 

1. All seasons aren’t going to be favorable, pretty or easy.
2. No matter what season we are in we have to embrace it!
Bishop Morton’s song focuses on not leaving him out on any healings or any other blessings from God.  Yes, I don’t want Him to leave me out of a blessing, but I also don’t want God to leave me out of a LESSON!  Most times when we refer to blessings, the first things that come to mind are the beautiful experiences.  We shouldn’t want God to leave us out of ANY season He’s planned for us, favorable or not!  

Showing Gratitude

There's a saying that goes: “when we give thanks for today's blessing, we are bound to receive more tomorrow”

If a young child walks up to us and asks for help on an assignment, a project or simply for some money to support a certain cause, we can choose to help or not. If we however decide to help the child, they will be excited and thankful. Now imagine, you meet that same child a week later and they walk up to you and say "thank you for your support the other day, I'm very grateful". We would definitely be impressed by the child's act of gratitude. We would even be willing to help the child in the future even before they ask.

This is the same way God feels when we give thanks for our lives and all He has blessed us with. So much may be going on around such as disappointments, delays or we may even find ourselves in difficult situations. This does not erode the fact that some great things are also happening around us, which we never really pay attention to. When we woke up this morning for instance, we were able to move about and go about our daily lives without needing any  support.  God's grace and love is always evident in our lives even if we don't realise it.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phillipians 4:6).

Having a heart of gratitude opens more doors for us and helps us to achieve more. When we say "Thank You God for all you have done", we are simply motivating Him to do more for us on a greater scale than the former. Being able to show gratitude during tough times can ultimately make God turn bad situations around for our good.

Postive Speaking

A few weeks ago, I was watching a three-year old girl recite some Bible verses. After reciting a few, she got stuck and couldn't continue. At that point, her aunt asked her: "What do you say to your mind?". She replied: "…my mind is enlightened with wisdom, knowledge, understanding and retentive memory through the blood of Jesus Christ". Afterwards, her aunt told her to continue reciting the verses from where she stopped and she recited it all this time. An alternative option for the girl was to say: "I can't remember" or "this is too much for me to handle" but rather, she used her words positively.

Our words have a way of making things turn around for our good, if we can learn to use them right. Guidance and revelation can be experienced when we practice the art of confessing positive words into our lives, our studies, career, business or family. Most successful people have maintained the practice of speaking positive words into their lives. We rarely hear them speak negatively about their businesses, work or family. We need to understand that our words have a way of bringing God's grace and favour into our lives.

"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:23-24)

Our words, depending on how we use them have the capacity of working wonders for us; they can shape, define and brighten up our lives, they can even deliver us from difficult situations. The same way Jesus used his words to calm the storm, raise Lazarus from death and dry up the fig tree, we can also use our words to turn situations around for us.

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