Battling Fear in Post-Grad Transitions
Battling Fear in Post-Grad Transitions
I once read somewhere that to be a great writer you have to be a great steward of pain. As I sit here thinking, writing, and re-writing many times, I think I have learned the truth in that statement. Sifting through my pain, attempting to make sense of it, and ultimately becoming brave enough to return to it.
Two years ago, I graduated college and landed my first teaching job. The transition from college to post-grad life was exciting and intimidating. I longed for something comfortable to ease the stress of learning to live in the adult world. I think many people search for something to fill the gap.
Shortly after this transition, I entered into a relationship that consumed by time and energy and made me feel secure. I thought it would be my safety net. I wouldn’t have to navigate life alone. I heard gentle whispers from the Lord throughout our relationship, convicting my heart of placing something above God.
However, I could not walk away without the fear of hurting us and being left alone to figure out these changes by myself. I had a false sense of security, because my only substantial security is hope in Jesus. As I have stepped back to broaden my view and perspective, I see many post-grads clinging to things to ease their loneliness whether it’s through relationships, drinking, or even making their lives look successful through social media.
Thankfully, the Lord never gave up on me. He continually pursued my heart even though it took a while for me to listen. The road hasn’t been easy. I was left feeling raw and vulnerable. I questioned if I heard the Lord correctly and shamed myself for not achieving holiness.
Shouldn’t I be farther along in my faith by now, God? I could clearly state to anyone how I knew God was at work and that His will was far better than my own, but my mind sounded different than the woman who confidently spoke of God’s faithfulness. My mind felt like a battlefield.
If this is Your will God, shouldn’t it be easier? Why do I struggle with these desires? When will I be perfected like your Son?
We are designed to crave the love of the Father. Walking away from my relationship left me feeling empty, but also more aware of that craving for love. Sometimes God’s love seems more distant than we’d like.
David is described as a man after God’s own heart. He was never afraid to ask the tough questions, even when he already knew the truth in his spirit. When we are honest with God about how we feel, we give Him access to the vulnerable parts in our hearts. When I presented my broken heart to the Lord and spoke honestly of the sin and lies it believed, God’s truth and character became evident. The real issue wasn’t my pain or fear of navigating life alone, it was my heart forgetting the promises of God.
Until I spoke the issues, I could not remember God’s character among the lies. I had to go to that painful place and present my brokenness, so God could heal it. What I have learned most through this time of pain is that God has not assigned it to me to teach me a lesson, but He entrusts it to me to draw me close to Him.
I connect with David. In Psalm 77, David begins by crying out saying his soul cannot be comforted. I felt the same when going through my break up. Everything I feared came crashing down on me because I did not have the security of another person.
David asks God questions, admitting that he doesn’t see God protecting, healing, saving, or showing mercy. But through David’s honest questions, he remembers who God is and how he has seen Him work. He recognizes that God is always there “even when His footprints were unseen.”
When I was completely real and open with God, I became able to see His true character against the lies I believed.
I walked away from the relationship and made some difficult decisions, but evidence of the Lord’s guidance through it all has sustained me. He brought friends, even strangers, to speak into my life at just the right times when my mind wanted to creep back to doubts. He led me to a new job and place to live that is far greater than anything I could have hoped to find. He also made me feel strong in making decisions and following convictions. When my mind wants to wander to the past or becomes fearful of transition, I rest in the character and promises of God. He is sufficient even in my weakness, reminding me that I am never alone.
I am thankful God doesn’t leave us as we are, even though the process of sanctification is not easy. Is growth ever easy? Learning lessons, experiencing confrontation, relationships, and making big girl decisions all require us to work through difficult things. We question and doubt ourselves, and maybe even question our faith, but God can use all these things we see as difficult to produce fruit in us that ultimately glorifies Him.