I after after high school, and then later after

I graduated!! I made it!! But now what? Jobs. Classes. Friends. Relationships. Church. Sleep(?). Family. This summer. Next summer. Next weekend. I HAVE NO IDEA?!?!?!?!The past year has been a stressful one. I have been faced with the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. Decisions that mark out my future and essentially set me up for the rest of my life. I had to decide which college to attend, what to major in, what I want to be now that I’m grown up, etc. I also have to worry about how I am going to pay for said education and where I will live. Don’t grow up, kids- it’s not fun.I constantly worry about my future and career plans. Even during times when I think I am so sure about what I want to do after after high school, and then later after I get my degree, I still have all these doubts about whether things will work out according to plan. I am certain that worrying about our future is not something that only students do. We often worry about taking big steps in life, about changes, about our future relationships and what our lives will be like in the next couple of years or so. I don’t think that we put enough trust in God. I know I don’t. In the midst of my worrying, one of my dear friends reminded me of the Israelites and how they had everything in front of them, but they chose fear over faith:The Israelite spies stood at the edge of their promise. They could see the journey ahead of them. They were chosen to inherit a land that was promised to them. Now, twelve men–one from each tribe of Israel–were selected to check out the land and return with a report. These men had undoubtedly witnessed miracles. The parting of the Red Sea, manna falling from heaven, deliverance from slavery—they had witnessed firsthand the certainty of God’s provision. But instead of feeling excitement that they would finally inherit the promise God had given them, they were filled with terror, paralyzed by what was before them.The spies came back from their mission with two things: fruit and fear. In their hands were symbols of the goodness of the land that was promised to them. But in their hearts was the possibility of massive walls, giants, and intimidating opponents. Waves of doubt covered them and clouded their memory of all the Lord had done for them since they left Egypt.They had fruit in one hand and fear in the other—I couldn’t begin to pass judgment here. I feel you, Israelites! Even now, after all I’ve seen, I hate to admit that I often hold the fruit of the faithfulness of God while simultaneously gripping the fear that He might not act in my life when and where I need him.Only two of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed they could take the land. They trusted that it was theirs to inherit. They knew God was with them and had faith in His promises. And… just maybe, although this is purely my own speculation, they didn’t want to return to wandering in the desert. Ultimately, however, the other ten spies filled the Israelites with enough fear that they dissuaded the people from moving into the Promised Land. The Israelites’ doubt was bigger than their trust in the deliverance they were promised. Their fear was bigger than their faith, and that decision cost them.Why should we trust God with our futures? Well, because He tells us to. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been one of my favorite verses recently because it encourages us to trust God and not rely on our abilities alone, because we cannot do it without Him. He has a divine plan for all of us and this plan was made even before we were born. He alone can show us the right way to go when we are at a crossroad or about to make a life-changing decision. Ephesians 1:11 also tells us about the inheritance we have in Christ and how He makes everything work out for our own good, so why wouldn’t we trust Him with our plans?I decided to try out this whole “ultimate trust” thing. Every time I start to worry or freak out about the future, I pray. That’s the first step to putting all your trust in to His promises. Talk to God about your worries, concerns, and cast your burdens on Him. Tell Him all about it and be prepared to act according to His will for your life and not yours. When you pray to God about it, He will answer you by opening doors for you and closing the doors you don’t need, so be prepared to follow His lead and direction.I have also had to let go of the tight grip that I continue to try to keep on my future. Most of us, like me, are not sure about God’s plans for us and so when we make plans, we should make these plans with God and try not to be so bent on achieving a particular goal that makes us miss an even greater opportunity that God is giving or showing us. We have to include God in the process and not just run to him at the last minute. Failure….my personal favorite. I’m going to try to major in biology in college. For me, I may as well be committing academic suicide because I am NOT a science or math person. I am so scared of failing, but I know that I can’t be. Proverbs 24:16 says that, “Though the righteous fall seven times, they will rise up again.” Failures and disappointments are not meant to pull us down, instead, they are meant for us to use as stepping stones to our glorious future ahead. We are worth more to God than just our jobs and careers. Failing never means we are not good enough. His grace is sufficient for us and His power works best in our weaknesses so we should find our strength in the Lord. He has our backs.As anxiety sets in as I’m sitting here, looking at my cap and gown on the floor and wondering what in the world I am supposed to do now, God is reminding me I could either let my anxious thoughts control me throughout this change, or I could choose to be in control of them instead. I could worry myself into a frenzy, or ask for His peace to fill my heart. I am blind to what is ahead, but know God has a crystal-clear view.In Mark chapter 10, a blind man named Bartimaeus sat beside the road — as he normally did — when he heard a commotion. He soon discovered the large crowd of people following Jesus. And they were all headed his way.Bartimaeus had no idea what was going to happen. Having no sight, he could have felt threatened and anxious, fearful the crowd might trample him. He could have been concerned that he would be unnoticed and overlooked, yet again. Instead, he focused on what he could see with his heart rather than what he was unable to see with his eyes.He excitedly began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47, NIV)When the people yelled at him to be quiet, he refused and continued to shout, saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10: 48)His shouting reached Jesus’ ears.Jesus stood still, and asked someone to bring the blind man to him. The Bible says Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up and headed straight toward Jesus. (Mark 10:50)I love that. The blind man threw aside anything that might hinder his running, jumped up all on his own and blindly ran to Jesus.He ran solely ahead by faith, not by sight — unafraid of falling or bumping into things, not even fearing what might be ahead of him, simply because He heard Jesus’ voice and knew He was there.Bartimaeus’ eyes caused him to live without sight, but his heart allowed him to live by faith. That small act of blind faith changed his life forever.Whenever I think of this sweet story that God brought to mind, my heart begins to calm. My inability to “see” the upcoming future does not hinder my ability to run forward in faith. I could follow Jesus’ voice in blind faith too, if I chose to believe He would watch over my every step, much like He did for the blind man.I pray for the strength to live by faith even when I cannot see what is ahead. I commit to trust Jesus with all the things He can see coming but I can not.We can always choose to follow Jesus’ voice, rather than let our blindness keep us paralyzed in anxiousness and pessimism. Just like the blind man, when we choose to follow Jesus’ voice instead of our eyes, our faith can be life-changing, helping us discover peace and blessing.Lord, help me have the courage to move through my circumstances each day with blind faith and peace instead of worrying about what I cannot yet see. Open my eyes to see what You want me to see and hear what You want me hear, while helping me trust You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.