The Beginning of the Rest of Your Life

Dear Joshua,

Freshman year

This weekend we are celebrating your graduation from college.  We couldn’t be prouder of you.   You have accomplished so much in your life up to this point and you’re not even 21 yet!  I am excited to see what the future will hold for you.   Please know that I am your biggest fan and that I pray every day for you and will continue to do so.  I am so encouraged by you, your sister, and your brother.  Y’all make me a very proud Mama.

It doesn’t matter to me what your exact job is or how much money you make.  What matters is how you do your job and with what motives and heart that you live your life.   God’s perspective on “success” is far different from the world’s. As I continue to grow in my faith and my knowledge of God, the more I get on board with what He thinks is important and the less I allow the world to dictate to me what success looks like.

Here are some thoughts I want to offer at this crossroads:

Sophomore year

1.  There will always be someone smarter and more “accomplished” than you are.   Don’t feel like you have to compete with that guy.  Instead, do YOUR best and be faithful to what God has called YOU to do, because ultimately you will have to answer to the Lord for what He has entrusted you with.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23).  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)

What I’m saying to you, my friends, is that even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well’.  Martin Luther King Jr.

Junior year

2.  Some people devote their whole lives to their jobs at the expense of their relationships, their health, and their faith.  Don’t yield to that same temptation as you start your new job. Don’t expect your employer to have your best interests in mind – he or she is most interested in financial and corporate success.  You have to be the one to create a healthy balance and good boundaries between work, family relationships, faith, health and recreation.  Work on developing this balance from the beginning instead of waiting til something suffers from neglect.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:25)

Senior year

3.  Try to remember that everyone has a story.  You may not have any idea what they have been through or are currently facing.  If someone lashes out at you unfairly or in anger, it may not be about you at all.  It may stem from some hurt or emotional wound that they are struggling with.  People who are hurting tend to hurt others unintentionally.  Instead of reacting back in anger, see it as an opportunity to exercise self-control and to extend grace and love when appropriate.

4.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Often we learn best from the mistakes we make.  In making mistakes, we also learn to depend more on each other and on the Lord, realizing that none of us is perfect and we all need each other.  When you do make mistakes, be quick to admit you’re wrong, ask for forgiveness if necessary, and don’t try to shift the blame onto someone else.

Courtney’s final sorority formal 2015

5.  Finally, as you have taught me, remember that not everything needs to be serious or intense.   Take time to laugh and have fun; to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation; to sit quietly and just enjoy being with another person or with the Lord.

I love you, Joshua!  Congratulations!   مبروك على التخرج

Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

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2 Responses to The Beginning of the Rest of Your Life

  1. Cindy says:

    I love the godly motherly advice.


  2. Nuha says:

    Dear sister, you excelled because your motive is love, to God and to your son, I want to reread this as it does apply to me too, you are my spiritual mother, what an honor.


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