Post Grad Life: One Year Out of the Bubble

I read a post on Facebook this morning that read:

Adulthood is like looking both ways when crossing the street, and then getting hit by an airplane.    -unknown source

The quote got me giggling, because sometimes life hits you with a strong force you didn’t see coming. Sometimes it can be awesome, other times, it can throw us off balance.

My first year out of the college bubble has been all about making practical decisions, assessing needs over wants, and basically evaluating and reevaluating what to do every day. I’ve had to remind myself that I’m on a journey, and a journey involves taking one step at a time.

But in as much as it’s been about discovering life, it’s also been about deepening in relationship with God. I went to a Christian college–one of the best blessings in my life–but once I graduated, I quickly realized how strong that bubble was.

Now I’ve left the bubble behind, and I’m open and vulnerable and out there for the devil to send his arrows at me full force.

You know what I’m talking about.

The doubt creeps in, the rejection hurts, the routine wears on you. And the BIG QUESTION hangs over you like a threatening rain cloud. “Am I doing this thing called life right?”

But instead of just living with that rain cloud over head pouring down whenever it wants, it helps to dance in the puddles like the carefree child we once were.

One of Satan’s most successful tactics is to make us feel like we are inadequate. He nudges us and whispers in our ear, “You should have a job in your field by now. Why are you not in a relationship yet? You’re not doing enough. How do you think it looks that you’re not living on your own? Look at all these people who have their life together more than you do!”

And though these thoughts have a tendency to find their way into my mind, I know they’re lies. I know that God has paved a road specifically for me complete with all the signs I need to follow, the stops I need to take, and the final destination with my name on the welcome banner.

As I’ve navigated my first year out of college, I’ve learned that it’s all about how I react to the journey. I can’t let it overwhelm me and ruin the person I’m made to be. When that airplane hits, I need to be able to hang on tight and ride it to my next adventure.

So no matter what part of the journey you’re on, remember this: striving for a fulfilling career, a happy marriage, and a lot of fun will only get you so far.

BUT if you,

“apply all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

-2 Peter 1:5-8 (NASB)

THEN you are doing this thing called life right.

***

If you’d like to see my year of growth for yourselves, here are the links!

Post-Grad Life: First Month

Post Grad Life: 3 Months of Limbo

Post Grad Life: The Selfish Six

For you college grads, how’s your first year out of the bubble going? Let me know in the comments!

God bless!

-LJM

 

 

Walking in the Cemetery

The other day I was reading my devotional, Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado before going to work. Under a list of bullet points I was surprised to read “Make major decisions in a cemetery.”

I had to reread that line a couple times. It seemed so random and not flowing with the other ideas, but I pondered it nonetheless. I decided that my next morning walk would be at a cemetery not far from my house.

The morning was slightly cooler than it’s been the past blazing week. I pulled into the cemetery and instead of being surrounded by headstones, I was surrounded by bouquets of flowers. Most of the grave markers are set flush to the ground so you have to practically be standing over top them to read them.

If you ever need a reality check, the cemetery is a good place to go. Especially when you see the markers of children who didn’t even make it to 5 or 10 years old.

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Visiting Uncle Skipper (2014)

My Uncle “Skipper” died of leukemia when he was 9 years old. He was my first real understanding of death, which is odd because I never met him. Even now I feel a strange connection with him and the knowledge of his brief but precious life.

 

In a cemetery you are very aware of lives that have come to an end and no matter what age, they’re always gone too soon. So, here are some thoughts I had while sitting on a cold stone bench overlooking the resting memorials.

If we could check off everything on our bucket list, would we feel like it was a life well spent? If we landed that dream job, married the love of our life, had the perfect number of children, and could afford a lake house for retirement, is that a successful life?

I gotta be honest, sometimes I feel like if I don’t achieve any of those things, I’ll have wasted my life. But a passage keeps coming to my mind.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  ∼Mark 8:34-36 (ESV)

In life, we are constantly bombarded with planning our future and making goals for everything we want to do while we’re still on this earth. Whenever someone close to us passes away, we are reminded that life is short and we should always live as if it’s our last day. While all of that is true and blanketed with good intentions, it’s easy to fall into making each day about us.

As Christians, the fact of the matter is time is short.

Time is short to represent Jesus.

Time is short to do His will.

Time is short to celebrate His name in thankfulness.

I was listening to an online sermon by Todd White (worth looking up here) and he made it abundantly clear that we might be the only Jesus people see. We might be the only Bible people read. What are we doing about it? Are we really making good use of our time as servants of Christ? That’s what it means to be a Christian, isn’t it?

The Bible consistently reminds us of our selfish nature, but thankfully, it also gives us a better alternative to living. If we could just peel our selfishness away and focus on living for God and for others (Lk 10:27), there will be no greater achievement on earth as it is in heaven.

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This epitaph inspired me because I realized I would rather be remembered by walking out the fruits of the Spirit than how many books I publish or performances I give. The fruits of the Spirit are evidence of God in our life so you better believe I want people to see them. They’re found here in Galatians 5 if you want to know what they are.

Let me leave you with a few ideas on how you can reveal the love of Jesus in your daily life:

  • Generously tip all of your servers (not just the deserving ones)
  • Leave notes of encouragement
  • Don’t complain about work
  • Learn peoples’ names (everyone likes to hear their name)

If you have any other ideas on how you like to represent Jesus, leave a comment so we all can learn from each other!

The next time you find yourself in the cemetery, remember the advice from my devotional: “make a major decision” to walk in the light of Jesus, bearing His fruit so the world can pick it from your branches.

God bless!

-LJM

P.S. Daytime walks in the cemetery are far less scary than nighttime walks.

I AM Enough

By Leah Jordan Meahl

 

Life is wavering water,

Uncontrolled is how she behaves,

But I AM enough.

 

Endlessly moving,

Yet forever enslaved,

Life is wavering water

 

Though the raging sea may capture,

And send treasures to their graves,

I AM enough.

 

In anger she devours,

But for the thirsty, she saves,

Life is wavering water

 

The horizon beckons her dangerous journey,

And if you can’t be brave,

I AM enough.

 

Rolls began as ripples,

They’re moments I forgave.

Life is wavering water,

But I AM enough.

 

-LJM

Psalm 16:5-11

Post Grad Life: The Selfish Six

Six months. I’ve been out of school for six months. It’s hard to believe that life in school is now a memory and I can actually use the phrase “when I was in college.”

Anyway, my first six months have been successful in my book because I have 2 part-time jobs, a consistent writing schedule, and several exciting opportunities on the horizon.

So, why is it when someone asks me, “how’s post-grad life?” I roll my eyes and groan like it’s been torture?

I covered that feeling in my last ‘post-grad’ blog here, and it’s still a work in progress. Millennials call it ‘Adulting.’ The word itself shows just how difficult it is for our kind to cross over to the adult side of life.

I promise for those of you who are concerned, it has been a great six months! That being said, here is something that has been on my mind in regard to my life right now.

From the moment I graduated, I have become increasingly selfish. It’s not a strange concept, we all deal with it, but I have definitely noticed it more now. The world has trained us in the way we should go after college: apartment, marriage, grad school, job in your field, etc. Taking all these things into account, I’m justified to make life all about me.

Right?

When will I be able to move into an apartment? Am I putting enough money away for student loans? What can I do to enjoy my life while I’m single?

These are just some of the topics that go through my mind every day. I know that we have to make decisions in our life to help move it forward. But there comes a point when post-college life is wrapped up in everything I want and everything I need. As a result, do you know what falls through the cracks?

My relationship with God.

I say that God has a plan for me, that He will direct my steps, but once I graduated, I hit the ground running, scurrying around trying not to lose my mind in reality. Suddenly, the race started, and I must run like the wind to feel like I am doing something worth reporting to the world.

As much as I trust God with the path of my life, I am far too obsessed with trying to make it a good one for me. I should be more concerned with everything that God wants for me and everything God needs me to do while I’m here on this earth. That’s easier said than done, but I need to be reminded of that fact constantly or else I will never be satisfied with what I can get out of life.

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ∼Ephesians 4:1

More than likely, God is going to completely change the direction of my path, which is scary. And He is going to make things happen according to His timing, which is frustrating.

What I would like to encourage is that you “post-gradders” keep God first. Jesus is the most important aspect of our lives and what’s great is that he covers all the other aspects.

What I love about Him is that He is my Chief Constant. No matter what changes in my life (school, job, relationship, home), Jesus is by my side.
Because He’s there, I need to treat Him like He is all those things to me.

Make Him first.

Keep Him first.

And the best is yet to come.

God Bless!

-LJM

 

Unquenched

Love is

Drinking water from the mouth of Hades.

A liquid flaming gold,

Scooped from the river of fire itself.

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The lava leaves burning scars on my lips,

My soul is but melted rock,

Indistinguishable.

My insides boil,

Bubbling red until

The heat, no longer contained

Erupts.

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Molten tears race down my skin,

It’s Pompeii come to devastate again.

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And when the tears cool,

And the glow hardens to rock,

A blanket of ash lays me down to sleep.

For awhile, all is calm,

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Until I thirst again…

Starlit Path

by Leah Jordan Meahl

 

He told me:

“I am the moon.

 If you want to make footprints on my surface or bathe in my radiance,

First follow the starry path I’ve laid out

For you.”

 

They fell before me, marking the way.

On each one I stepped,

Leaping and landing on the sparklers that tickled the soles of my feet.

 A sea of galaxies lie between us,

If I had to fashion my own surfboard constellation, I would

Ride the galactic waters to reach him.

 

Ahead, a star fizzled, hissed, dissipated,

A stepping stone out of formation.

Another, burst in excitement,

And again, a star is cut free from its hanging,

It falls, the tail taking me with it.

A detour dragging me further from him.

 

I held on, even enjoyed the ride,

But the star, its life exhausted,

Evaporated like the rest.

The sun now disguised the stars,

I waited. I searched the skies

For the hopeful flecks to find me.

 

My bright stepping stones returned

Awaiting me to walk on their backs again.

The final star marked the finish line

In front of majestic moon, I bowed.

“You made it” he said.

My feet touched the quartz world

We danced, kicking up hordes of moon crystals.

 

“The journey was hard with mischievous stars,” I said

He told me:

“Though obstacles themselves, they still shine the way,

And to touch the mere fringe of my luminous being is

Worth it. Now with me, you’ll stay.”

 

-LJM

Matthew 7:13-14

When Life is Grey, See Blue

After two whole days of nonstop raining, I got into my car on a damp and dismal morning. The grey clouds matched the greyness that had crept into my demeanor. I felt like I was driving in a fog, only seeing the road a few feet in front of me.

Attempting to pull myself out of my discouraged mood, I prayed. My heart only wanted to complain, but I knew that my God deserved more than that. So, despite my reluctance, I praised Him. After all, He’s still the God that gave me another day.

“You are God of the grey clouds as well as the white. You are God when the rain drizzles as well as when it pours.”

I looked out the window at the clouds. Their chests were puffed with arrogance, and their thick clutches threatened torrents of rain. But amidst the dreariness that loomed over me in my car, I noticed something startling.

Behind me, puffy white clouds parted ways to reveal a radiant blue sky.

I realized that the image might as well have been the voice of God, my Chief Encourager at work.

Dark and heavy clouds do not make the sky. They only cover parts of it, and they only do so for a brief period of time. Moments of sadness or any other negative emotion are easy to focus on and they are at times hard to see through. But the sky, in all its brilliance and beauty, is constantly above us, making sure we’re covered.

In the Old Testament, during the Israelites’ forty-year excursion, the Lord gave them specific instructions. When they packed up the tabernacle, they covered the Ark of the Covenant with leather and then with a blue cloth (Numbers 4:6). I don’t think it’s any coincidence that God covers us, His tabernacle, with a blue sky.  

If you’re going through a grim time like I was this morning, remember to trust that God will see you through. Remember that these despairing moments are passing like a few days of continual rain. Blue skies are coming, because they’ve always been there. Just as the sky doesn’t change, neither will our God.

Don’t forget to take a breath from complaining to God about what’s making you feel this way, and take a moment to praise Him for being the God He’s always been.

Loving. Never-ending. Gracious. Merciful. Just. Constant.

These are blessings we take for granted every day. While I pray for you, do me a favor, look out the window and praise God for the sky you see.

HNCK06251

Some verses for your rainy days:

Hebrews 13:15                                            1 Thessalonians 5:18

Psalm 23:4                                                    Psalm 59:17

James 1:2                                                      Isaiah 43:2

 

God Bless!

LJM