Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us… — Ephesians 3:20
Everywhere we go it seems people ask my daughter the same questions.
“Where do you want to go to college?”
“What do you want to do when you graduate?”
I often ask her those same questions, plus…
“If you go to college, do you want to stay close to home or go far away?”
“Do you want to go to a small or big school, one in a city or suburbia?”
She doesn’t have the slightest idea; I’m not surprised because she’s only 15.
We live in a community where kids have been talking about this big life stuff since they were in 8th grade. It’s fun to dream about what the future holds but after a while it can create unnecessary stress. The pressure to play the right sport, be in the right club, or take the right classes so they can get in the right school can be overwhelming, even for the most confident teenager.
Even I am tempted to keep up with the parents whose kids seem to have it all figured out. Instead, I’ve committed to telling my daughter that no matter what she does in life, or where she attends college, it will all work out. She need not worry, because God has a plan for her future that is “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” As she approaches adulthood, I encourage her to pray about her future and ask God to show her the dreams and passions He has placed in her heart.
When we know what we’re passionate about we can avoid comparison and not compromise who God created us to be.
We can work towards the direction we want to go, what we want to do, and who we want to be with confidence. While we do that, we can trust God and be expectant for what He has for us. In doing so, we can model faith for our teens.
As parents, we can help them discover their passions by asking questions like:
- What’s your superpower? What do you do better than anyone else?
- What do people frequently compliment you on or praise you for?
- What adjectives do people consistently use to describe you – perhaps when they’re introducing you to others?
- What energizes or ignites you?
Is your teen or young adult approaching a new season or going through a transition?
Check out the book The Alternative: Awaken Your Dreams, Unite Your Community, and Live in Hope by Caleb Stanley and Austin Dennis, cofounders of The Alternative nonprofit. As young adults, Caleb and Austin knew they wanted to bring the people in their community together through worship and ignite in them a passion for God. They learned that having a great idea and starting something new was the easy part, but staying the course was much more difficult. Lack of resources, burnout, and a plateau in growth threatened to end it all. However, they never let go of the dream God placed in their heart, and they persevered to make The Alternative what it is today.
Caleb and Austin’s story will inspire young people to take action to discover where their passions lie. It will also encourage them to take small steps toward their future through ups and downs as they seek God.
My daughter may not have the answers to our questions this year or even the next, but that’s okay–because God does. I will continue to challenge her to pursue what she is passionate about and honor who she indeed is as she navigates the next few years… all the while trusting that she will end up at the intersection of her hopes and God’s plan.
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Do you have a teenager who’ll be heading to college in the not-too-distant future? Or a college kid trying to find their purpose? How have you tried to encourage them as they pursue God’s calling on their life? We’d love to hear you thoughts in the comments!