Two days ago, I graduated from high school. Today feels like a Saturday because I'm so deliciously free.
The speech that I wrote and practiced in trepidation and nausea? Here it is. The "unedited version." I wrote it originally as a blog post, to get over my mental block, and then trimmed it down a bit and took out the weirder parts to make it more speech-friendly. : )
Anyways: here it is: "Our Confidence"
I have been looking forward to this day for pretty much my whole life. Today ends the twelve years of my official homeschooled education. I am crazy, crazy excited.
Let's say that laughter is produced in some uncharted territory between your lungs. It slowly accumulates, and throughout the day, is used appropriately as needed. Sometimes, though, way too much gets produced and just sort of bubbles frantically around in there, waiting for an opportunity to escape.
This happens to me most nights during or right after dinner, and whenever I listen to the Tarzan soundtrack. I literally feel like I'm going to explode because I have all this random, inappropriately loud happiness struggling to escape. Usually it bursts out in response to something mildly humorous that one of my family members say. And usually, I choke.
It's a strange phenomenon, and it's the same way I feel when I think about my life after graduation.
There are so many things I love. So many beautiful cities and countries and dirt roads and donut shops to be explored and photographed. So many languages to be learned and people to be loved and songs to be sung way too loud.
It can be easy to look at the future and feel overwhelmed, confused, and worried. But how can we be anxious about it? We're young, we're free, God is on our side, and the world has no idea what it's in for when we take it by storm.
I think if we have the right view of Christ and His kingdom, we can't help but get excited about the future. “And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” (Hebrews 3:6b)
It's easy to boast about stupid things, but what we should be boasting in is the fact that we serve a mighty God. He is in charge, he loves us, and folks, He's going to win. This is our hope and our confidence.
I'm confident, not because I know I'll succeed in everything I want to do in life. I want to do a million things, many of which won't happen. My bucket list is long, and just keeps getting longer. I'm pretty sure my desire to be in a Les Miserables production just isn't going to pan out, I'll probably never learn to whistle, and I might not ever have the opportunity to slap a man full across the face. But this year I rode an elephant—miracles happen.
There are things I want to do that I won't get to do, and I love doing a lot of things that I'm just not that good at. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up and not even try. There will always be ways to serve and glorify God, and God gives us our passions. He gave me my love for people, He gave my sister Bethany her love for books. I think He'll use both for His glory.
If our one goal is to serve God, we cannot fail.
Our pastor gave a sermon a few weeks ago which was timely and awesome. He talked about how we are God's messengers, and our work is the mission of God. It might not seem epic or beautiful—it might be messy and unpleasant. But the fact that we are the battalion of Christ should make even the most seemingly insignificant jobs take real meaning.
Not only does this mean that we should be driven and hardworking—it also means that we should take joy in what we do, knowing that we are making a difference.
Standing up here and getting my diploma doesn't mean I'm off the hook. I haven't finished my high school education so that I can sit around and watch romantic comedies and eat Krispy Kreme donuts while I wait for something exciting to happen in my life. There will be movie watching, and you bet there will be donut-eating, but that will be the side project.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. My plan? To run the race with everything that I have, to love people, to read long, complicated books, to learn everything I can about the human mind, to take millions of photos, to serve God by serving the people He has put in my life. To create and laugh and sing and write and talk and eat and drink cranberry juice to the glory of God and the furthering of His kingdom.
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 1:13-15)