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graduation caps and a prayer for wisdom

(I wrote this for my niece on her 18th birthday as family gathered around to pray blessings upon her. She’s about to graduate from high school in a few weeks…and knowing the same words applied to others, I’m sharing it here.)

Life is full of choices, both big and small, and every choice has consequences.

So far, the big choices have been made for you: where to live, where to go to school, etc. But you’ve gotten some practice with the smaller ones: friends, boyfriend, job, what to wear, to study or not, drama or singing or soccer or running or…

Now, as you transition into #adulting, the choices and their consequences will fall on your shoulders. Which college to attend. What major. What career. New friends. Attend class and study or not. Extracurricular activities or a part-time job. Credit card debt and student loans or a second job, saving, and investing. Marriage. Kids. Buying a house.

Yep, #adulting is hard and that’s why I’m praying that God would bless you with both wisdom and discernment.

Wisdom considers the end of the matter…then chooses based on where you want to end up. Sometimes wisdom comes by learning from our mistakes and those of others around us…but it’s equally true that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV)

Discernment is the ability to grasp or comprehend that which is obscure. Specifically, it’s knowing what is true and what is a smokescreen of lies. It’s being able to judge well between good and evil. Between wisdom and a whim.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9)

Life is full of choices, both big and small, and every choice has consequences.

The good news is that with wisdom and discernment, you can make the big choices ahead of time rather than succumb to the peer pressure or stress of the moment. And you can have confidence that with right moral compass and by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, your journey into #adulting won’t easily be derailed.

One last thought from Caleb to the children of Israel: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

The consequences of that ultimate choice will determine your future. For only then: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)

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