Next week you will graduate from Clemson. Figures. You were born two weeks early; now you are graduating a semester early. You are about to take on the world.
During these college years, you sank your teeth into your passions. You’ve gone to Easley High School every week for two and a half years to invest in kids far from God. When Clemson played for the national championship, you made the trek to Tampa without a ticket, just so you could be there. Your passion gives you a determination to be there.
Being there counts. Showing up and being present counts. It shows you care. It shows you are invested. Your life grows because you venture out beyond the safety zone.
I know you have been afraid, but I admire how you overcome your fears. When hard conversations needed to be had with roommates, you took initiative to address the elephant (or dirty laundry) in the room. You put yourself out there to try for jobs and internships. You have the courage to think outside the box about what’s next.
Fear keeps people from happiness. Fear paralyzes people to mediocrity. Remember that Football championship? When Deshaun threw that pass to Hunter with time running out, Coach Swinney, Deshaun, and Hunter all pushed past fear to make something great happen – a championship. Keep pushing past the fear.
You discovered you have a gift of telling God’s story to a group. When you stand up, God shows up. Treasure that gift. There will be more opportunities to tell His story. Pay attention when God gives you those moments. Step into them. A gift like yours needs to be cultivated. A gift undeveloped is a gift never fully opened.
I’m amazed at your wide circle of friends and how they love you. There is a grace inside you that people feel. It’s the part of you that opens up and tells people how you feel. It is the part of you that accepts people as they are.
There is never enough grace in the world. Give grace often. Grace is best given when life is not hurried. You have a great moment ahead, when your life will unhurried for a few months. Not since kindergarten have you had this much discretion over the direction of your life. Savor the possibilities. Savor the time. Give grace so your friendship circle widens.
In a few days, the academic powers that be will pronounce you educated and send you out into the world. We’ll be there, of course, proud as can be. You are graduating from a fine school with a good degree. But your college journey has been about so much more than grades and projects. You’ve discovered more of who you are.
If I can sound like a wise old man for a moment, you’ve just started the journey of self-discovery. There is more for you to discover about yourself: what it means to be independent (no more cash from Mom and Dad!); what it means to have a family of your own; and what it means for you to find your life purpose.
Don’t stop the journey. Keep discovering you. The world needs people like you. God is going to use you to make a difference. College has been great, but now the world awaits. God our Father will open doors and display opportunities. Just remember, He is always with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Get ready to take on the world Sarah! My heart knows the world better watch out!
I love you with all my heart,