On month ago, you left high school. There were pictures and praise, but now your cap is gathering dust in the closet. Real life is setting in, with eight-hour workdays and the fearful newness of college, jobs, and friends.
You are going to feel incredibly lost sometimes (maybe you already do). But know this–
“You can know the mind and will of the Lord for your own life. You do not have to wonder if you are where the Lord needs you to be or if you are doing what He needs you to do. You can know! The Holy Ghost will tell you “all things what ye should do.”(Russell Nelson, Becoming True Millenials).
How are you going to KNOW the Lord’s plans for you? I recommend the following:
Make Plans. Remember, “Every day is important to you because the way you choose to spend your time will determine the person you become” (Kristin Oaks, To the Singles of the Church).
Whether it’s a google calendar or a pen-and-paper notebook, a calendared life is the worthwhile life. Schedule your today, and plan for your future. Do less of what drains you and more of what fills you will joy.
Find a mentor. Every Skywalker needs a Yoda, ever Frodo needs a Gandalf, every Harry needs a Dumbledore. Find yours.
Pray for a mentor at every stage, and in every challenge. They will write your letters of recommendation, introduce you to the right people, and give you the vision to try.
Establish boundaries. You will only keep the standards that YOU set. So set them. And keep them. But don’t neglect these:
- Keep the law of chastity. I realize that there’s a lot of liminal space here: what about pornography, masturbation, making out, emotional intimacy, and dozens of other social media offerings? Do right by yourself. Don’t share souls in depth unless you are committed to share souls in duration. Questions? Read here, here, and here.
- Be money-smart. Be the sort of employee that others want to hire. Keep a budget. Don’t go into debt for a degree unless there is an income attached to that diploma. And for heaven’s sake, remember the difference between needs and wants!
Take Care of Yourself
Your health is more than skincare and weight control; attend to your soul! Spend time outside. Listen to music that personifies who you want to become. Think well of the girl in the mirror. Limit your social media use. Avoid pornography, diatribes, sensationalism, fearmongering, and envy-inducing stuffs.
Eat veggies, wear sunscreen, and be the prude who goes to bed before midnight.
When your emotions are bigger than you can handle, call mom. If your emotions are bigger than mom can handle, call a therapist.
Have courage. Don’t wait for a friend to accompany you to the restroom, or for that boy to ask you on a date. You can do it yourself. You can go places. Meet people. Learn things. Stop hiding behind screens and learn to live. Accept opportunities to serve, especially when it terrifies you.
If your lifestyle doesn’t require courage, you’re not really living.
They say that millennials are patently selfish, entitled, and narcissistic. I say you are who you choose to be.
Redefine what it means to be a millennial. Think of others. Pray for them. Make loving others a conscious, central focus of your life. It is the solution to 90% of your social anxieties and the mandate of every Christian.
You will feel alone sometimes. You’re going to be tempted to throw pity parties on occasional Friday nights, and you’ll feel scared in every new situation. That’s okay. It’s normal. But once you’re through feeling nervous, open your mouth and fill it with compliments and questions.
Pursue your dreams—relentlessly.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” ~ Joseph Campbell.
Keep lists of books to read, classes to take, places to travel, and people to emulate. Why? Because awesome days of clarity and joy will be mingled with days of heartache and confusion. Because God has great plans for you, plans that will be best discovered as you follow your heart. Because when things get hard, you’ll want a pen-and-paper reminder that your faith and works are founded on God-given visions.
Learn to love. We obsess over romance, but “love” also means being nice to your nonhygenic roommate, being patient with your insecure date, and forgiving your stepdad for being a jerk. It means love-of-earth and love-of-great-ideas.
Your spirit has great capacity for love, so stretch your heart to receive God’s gifts in all their forms and faces.
When it comes to romance—and everything else, really—remember this:
“You want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed [Christian]. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Or, to phrase that more positively, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness…”(Jeffrey Holland, How Do I Love Thee?)
Heavenly Father has plans for you, my friend.
Once again, I am in awe of you. “If your lifestyle doesn’t require courage, you’re not really living.” I’m going to write this up in big pretty letters and hang it up above my desk.