Life After School

I spent my years in college with the determination to carve a clear path into my future. Of course things didn’t always go the way I wanted, but I would simply re-adjust my life plan accordingly. I spent my entire school life planning for college and all of my college years planning for graduation. I felt really blessed in college because no matter what unlikely roadblocks came to pass, the end goal was always to graduate with a degree. Like all university students, my peers had more or less the same goal (to graduate!) and struggled with the same things. There was always someone around to relate to and keep me on track if I found myself falling off track. I was also able to avoid many potentially unpleasing situations. Didn’t want to do that group project? Drop the course. Didn’t want to deal with a difficult person? Just stay away. And all the jobs I did? There was always the sense of understanding I received from employers knowing that I was a student.

With a sense of confidence, I felt like I had the ability to determine my future plans post-graduation, even though I was uncertain about my future coming out of college.

 

Exiting college, I found a job, rented a place, and got the freedom to make my own decisions. But I soon noticed that the little things from college no longer existed. There was no one around to keep me on track anymore. No more community of like-minded people who were automatically there. I was suddenly responsible for seeking out people on my own. And unlike school, I had to deal with difficult situation after difficult situation at work. I couldn’t avoid these situations, and my actions produced consequences both positive and negative depending on how I handled it. Likewise, the environment at work was, and is, extremely secular, and the decisions made are based on a secular perspective. As I faced this, I got caught up in this perspective and could no longer differentiate between what was right or wrong in the eyes of God. There was no avoiding it, and I felt myself slipping.

I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, and I had no idea what was ahead of me.

 

I became irritable, and bad habits and attitudes that I had before (that I might have not noticed) became exemplified. God was revealing a whole lot of sinful things about me. In response, I tried harder and harder to get ahold of myself, praying that God would bring clarity to what I was supposed to do. Instead, all of my efforts left me more lost.

“What is God trying to tell you?”

This is what my mother said when I called her for advice. Beyond that, she didn’t say much. Reflecting on what she said, I realized that even though I had prayed amidst my confusion and disorientation, I wasn’t listening to God's answers. I wanted His immediate response to my confusion. I wanted Him to show me the way and help me make the right decisions with each new responsibility that came with being an adult. I expected Him to respond by telling me answers that I wanted to hear. Yet we know that God often has different plans for us than what we expect. God hasn’t given me any clear answers (nope, He doesn’t really give out answers to my future and yet I’m still dim-witted enough to try praying for this every time), and I’m still as confused as ever. But, this time around, I’ve learned to slow down.

God doesn’t expect me to have my future planned out. He just wants me to listen to him and move ahead one step at a time.

 

To me, the journey into adulthood feels a lot like hiking up a mountain. You can’t sit at the bottom of the mountain and expect God to bring you up to show you the view. You also can’t run up the mountain with your eyes looking only at the path ahead of you and expect God to show you the view. No, you have to make the effort to move up the trail, but to see the view you also have to take the time to look at your surroundings as you go. Its overwhelming and terrifying looking out into the vast and endless scenery. At the same time, its absolutely awe-inspiring, just like when you take the time to listen to God's voice and trust Him to lead you into the unknown future.

 

Sarah Chen

 

Sarah is a recent graduate from UBC with a degree in Visual Arts and Human Geography. She is currently working and trying to live the adult life. In her spare time she enjoys going to cafes, hiking, and reading books. She also really likes cats.

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