This last weekend was graduation for many students across the country. Transitioning from life as a full-time student to life in the “outside world” can be diffiicult and confusing at times. Huge changes happen across the board, and new graduates are often left off-balance and unprepared to take on new challenges. Over the next week or so, we will review some of the biggest challenges facing recent graduates, and offer some encouragement and practical tips to transition well. We hope to prepare you as a graduate for life in the “real world” outside of the bounds of campus. We hope that graduating seniors can become God-glorifying, grace saturated individuals working effectively, living wisely, and loving their churches, their families, and the world around them.
For the Christian graduate, keeping a vibrant and growing spiritual life and community is vital. These things, though, are often some of the most difficult aspects of life to maintain in balance when life transitions. Many of the rhythms that you have been building for the last 4-5 years change on a dime. The “Christian Bubble” pops, even if you stay in Lubbock. It’s more important than ever as a young adult to pay close attention to your spiritual life in order to cultivate a vital and growing relationship with the Lord.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” – 2 Tim 3:16
Setting aside time to read is going to be the first step to maintaining a relationship with the Lord. Get a reading plan. The new ESV app on iPad and iPhone has a great collection of reading plans, and notes built in. Use the R.E.A.P. Method, or find a journaling and reflecting method that works for you. The key is to keep yourself accountable to getting in the word.
The Austin Stone REAP Plan
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2
Prayer will be your other most important lifeline to the Lord in this transition. Make sure that you are making time in your day to commune with the Lord in Prayer. The days where I feel that I have no time to pray are the days when I know that I need to pray the most. Get a copy of the book, Operation World. Or use this prayer guide. Prayer is one of the first things to fall by the wayside when life gets busy or the foundation is shifted. Make a commitment to spend time in prayer and quiet reflection each day.
Teach Us to Pray – Andrew Murray
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God – Tim Keller
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
The few months right after I graduated college was one of the most difficult times of my life. I felt like I was constantly falling into sin, I was deeply depressed, and I felt like my spirituality was a dry riverbed. Even if it is as smooth as it can be, it is a prime time for Idols to gain their place in our hearts. Most people start making their own money right after graduation, which can lead to temptations to worship a consumerist savior, thinking that the next cool gizmo or tax bracket can be your salvation. Being out of community (especially live-in community) can give struggles with sinful patterns to grow and entangle even the best of intentions.
Know Your Sin – Jonathan Dodson
Fight Your Sin – Jonathan Dodson
Overcoming Sin and Temptation – John Owen
Fighting Loneliness, Depression, and Anxiety
Depression, Anxiety, and other dark clouds can settle in after graduation. It’s normal to feel isolated and lonesome after college, and is a part of the adjustment process. If you feel that your loneliness is ever too much to handle or if you struggle to maintain joy, never feel afraid or ashamed to reach out for professional help. Keep a support group of people you can call to connect with. It’s important that you arm yourself with truths from the gospel. Keep a notebook of topically organized verses, memorize scriptures, get something like this as a resource.
Mission and Margins
It’s easy to get into a rhythm of just working and going home, with minimal margins for mission. Be sure to intentionally seek areas of mission in your city, whether that’s here in Lubbock or wherever you move off to. Pray that the Lord will give you opportunities for mission.
On Missional Margins
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” – Romans 12:16
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we will have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son will cleanse us of all our sin.” – 1 John 1:7
“Beloved, if God loved us, so also ought we to love one another.” – 1 John 4:11
Community changes greatly after graduation. Gone will be the days of “intentional coffee” until 2am at J&B during Finals. The flexibility, freedom, and common location that college offers will be replaced by what is most likely an 8-5 job where you are surrounded mostly by non-believers. This is an excellent opportunity for mission, but a difficult prospect for developing community. Great community right after graduation is not a given and not something that anyone has ever been guaranteed. Friendships are constantly in flux in a college environment, making new friends is natural and expected. Out of college, though, community structures are more stable, and sometimes making new friends can take quite awhile.
If You are Staying in Lubbock
Join an adult GC. Check out the connections table or email one of the staff members to get connected. Don’t let yourself drift out of intentional community because your life stage is changing. Serve the College Ministry or other Redeemer ministries in any way that you can. Volunteer to serve Redeemer here. Even if you are staying here, things change rapidly after graduation. Be intentional to remain in community even with different jobs, marriages, and other changes.
If You are Moving Away
If you are going to another city check out the Acts 29 or IXMarks church finder and find a church to plug into. Don’t start playing the “Compare this to Redeemer” game in an unhealthy way. This will make your quest for community difficult and probably fruitless. Be willing to take the time to let community form and take root. Stay in contact with community built in college. Just because you are moving does not mean that community totally breaks. Retain accountability, friendship, and intentionality as much as possible over the distance.
In the coming few days, my wife, Molly will discuss more on how to transition well into a new town and new job. If you are moving from Lubbock, be sure to check it out!
Some Final Questions:
1. What are some adjustments that need to be made in your spiritual life? How do you plan to make these adjustments?
2. What are some ways that you can build “missional margins” in your working life after graduation?
3. How do you typically hold yourself accountable to spiritual rhythms in college? How do you think that this will change upon graduation?