Is an arts degree truly the ‘bachelor of unemployment’?

7 things they didn’t tell me during an arts degree, or maybe I wasn’t listening…

bachelor unemployment

If you haven’t been listening either, maybe it’s time to start. Or maybe no one’s telling you these things that I had to figure out on my own.

During uni I never spent one minute worrying about finding a job once I was finished my degree. At the start of the course they gave us the impression that hundreds of companies were out there, just waiting to snuffle up graduates like us. Of course, a university would say that. At the beginning. How else do they lock in your fees?

And then at the end of my three years I found myself with a bachelor degree and no job. And no likelihood of getting one, if the first six months were any indication. I felt like Deakin had pulled one over on me. “You know all those jobs we told you were available at the start of your degree? Psych! There are none. Thanks for all the cash! Cheers, bye xx.”

I felt like there was no follow up, no nurturing or preparing for the real world once the training wheels of university were removed. (In high school, they refer to uni as the ‘real world’—it’s not.) I looked on in envy at nurses and teachers who all got ‘placed’ in graduate jobs or internships. While it had seemed easy at the time that my degree didn’t contain a mandatory placement, now all of a sudden I felt ripped off. Where was my head start, my foot in the door?

3-5 years experience

And three years later I am still trying to get a foot, a pinky, in any arts door. I have applied for over 100 jobs by now, broadening my search further and further, and received two interviews.

What is wrong with me? Where did I go wrong? My sister used to joke about my arts degree, calling it the ‘Bachelor of Unemployment’. Boy, do I feel bad about teasing those philosophy majors now.

I spent a long time feeling like a failure, and still do some days. I have dreams of being a writer but instead I work in retail, the industry I started in when I was 16, never imagining I would still be here.

I chalk my first mistake up to naively turning down an internship that my journalism teacher offered to put me forward for. “No thanks, journalism isn’t really my thing” was my reply. Oh, silly girl.

That brings me to my first point.

1) Take any advantage or opportunity presented to you, even if it’s not your ideal job or expertise

Looking back now, I would jump at the opportunity to have interned for the Geelong Advertiser, especially before I had even completed my degree. At the end of the day, experience is experience. Nobody starts out in their dream job and I really regret turning down an opportunity to kick start my arts resume and make some worthy connections. You can have all the experience in the world (like I do in retail) but relevant industry experience is really all employers seem to look at.

2) If there is an option to do a placement or internship, always take it

I saw on the course guide in third year that we could do a placement. It sounded like fun until I saw that the university didn’t help you at all. You had to organise the placement by yourself. I had just come back from a six month exchange in the United States. Organising somewhere to live at such late notice was hard enough, let alone this. It seemed like too much effort, so I let the opportunity slide. I would advise any arts student to go to the effort of organising their own placement. If it’s not a course elective, organise one and ask for approval of credit from your faculty. Those contacts forged would be invaluable now. The phrase “it’s who you know” is truer today than ever before (in more industries than just the creative ones, but that’s another issue). I find it interesting that the only people from my course that now have writing related jobs are through family, friends, or previous volunteer experience.

any-minute-now

3) Keep in contact with your classmates and professors

Actively seek advice from your professors and follow what you can. If someone on the inside is going to be on your side, it’s your teacher. They may be able to make an introduction, put in a good word for you, or just give you some good tips on breaking into the industry. If they don’t offer it outright (let’s be honest, they have a lot on their plates), make an appointment to speak with them and pick their brains. Ask their tips and advice, also if they can put you in contact with anyone who might eventually be able to offer you an internship or job.

I remember asking the teacher of my Shakespeare class in third year whether it was worth doing an honours year after my bachelor degree. His response was, “Honestly, you’ll end up a year later with another piece of paper, a bigger HECS debt and still no job. The best advice I can give you is to get out there and gain industry experience. Get any job you can in your field and work your way up.”

And here I am still trying.

4) Be proactive and start early

Maybe you found a job straight out of uni. Congratulations. This article is not for you.

It is only after years of unsuccessful job hunting has made me so desperate that I am now seeking advice from all avenues. I wish so much that I could have started volunteering for companies during university. The problem was I didn’t realise how tough the job market is out there. There are scores of graduates for every one job being advertised. We are faced with the horrible catch-22 of needing experience to get your first job, but no one giving you a chance in order for you to gain experience. It is one of the more frustrating paradoxes that I have experienced.

Don’t wait to see first-hand if your field is tough. Start being proactive now. You’re only going to thank yourself later.

Get your work out there. If you’re a writer and don’t have a blog, start one. It is crucial in this day and age to have an online presence (more than your social media accounts, although those are crucial too). I currently have a personal blog, and am also writing a novel. An editor can’t publish your manuscript if you don’t have one ready to show them. There is no wrong time to spend time working on your craft and building up your portfolio. Write every day. Spend time journaling, responding to creative prompts, drafting scripts and stories and essays.

On social media, clean up your profiles. It’s naïve to think that employers these days don’t Google people. Make sure that your online profile presents you as a person that they would want to employ. Create connections with people and companies that you admire, and see where it could lead, particularly with LinkedIn.

Read like crazy. Anything and everything you can get your hands on. If you think learning stops once you’ve got that graduation certificate, you’ve got another thing coming. Read books and articles on the publishing industry, or whatever arts industry you are interested in. Knowledge is power.

Submit your work to places like magazines or online journals, but make sure you do your homework and read up on the kind of submissions they are currently looking for, otherwise you will be wasting your time.

5) Volunteer

While a part-time job in your industry during your degree is ideal (and you should definitely try this first), it’s not always realistic. I know it may not seem very glamorous, but working for free is a great way for a company to take a risk-free chance on you. Being willing to work for free also shows how much you want to be there. It also gets you that really valuable experience that seems to be necessary for any paying job these days. I volunteered for a food and lifestyle blog The World Loves Melbourne for just over a year and am currently doing the blog, Instagram and newsletter for a program on Channel 31. It’s great, but I could have done more.

Yes, it is exhausting to volunteer while working a full time job but at the end of the day, it might be the only pathway to someone giving you a full time job in your field. Unfortunately, us arts kids often have to take the scenic route. Don’t let it get you too down. I had originally thought that volunteering was not an option open to me once I started full time work (I am currently in retail management) but one of my friends in the TV industry pointed out that I could volunteer one afternoon a week, or fortnight. I hadn’t thought about it like that before, assuming it was all or nothing, but anything is better than nothing.

getting serious

6) Use your connections

Networking. Half the time the word sends shivers down my spine because frankly, the whole concept makes me kind of uncomfortable. To some people like my fiancé Jacques, networking seems to come naturally. I’ve already mentioned lecturers and tutors, but think about the other people you have in your life who could connect you with a potential employer.

Research some networking events in your city and attend them. I recommend going with a friend as I admit that they can start out somewhat awkward, but they can be really worthwhile. If you know anyone successful in your field, ask to make a time to sit down with them and pick their brains. They’re obviously doing something right.

7) Don’t be proud

I know it’s not the millennial way of thinking, but in most careers, people have worked their way up from the bottom. This requires patience, perseverance, perhaps a salary cut, hard work and humility. If you’re looking to jump the queue, so to speak, and step straight into a senior role, you need to wake up. You might have to take a lower paying job that you intended, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t be too good for any job. Any job in your industry should be a good enough starting point.

I know it’s hard out there. Believe me, I know. And I don’t have a writing job yet, so you might be justified if you don’t take any of my advice. But I’m sure that I’m closer now than I’ve ever been.

Best of luck! May you land a job quicker than I did.

 

Sincerely
Lil

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Sources (accessed 30 November 2017):
https://www.careers24.com/career-advice/job-hunting/help-i-need-work-experience-20151215

https://www.socialtalent.com/blog/recruitment/the-best-job-seeker-memes-of-all-time-part-3

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2015/05/11-funny-memes-for-when-recruiting-gets-tough

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3phyao

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Second Sight

and then i met you

My hope for this blog post is for it to encourage brothers that are single and struggling, and shed some light and the truth on being single. I pray God is glorified through this written piece of my journey pursuing Lil.

Are there any suitable ladies out there? I’d often ask myself the question: is there something wrong with me? Am I too sensitive? Do I care too much?

After falling short of finding a relationship throughout first year of university and the end of high school, I had come to what I’d say was my wit’s end: an intense night of prayer began which had me humbled in the study of my best friend’s house, leading to a hopeful prayer, asking God if I could just know my wife as a friend. How do I remember? Oh, my best friend will tell you of the passion I had prayed with; he heard every bit of it in the room next to the study.

As much as a mother worries about her son finding someone that is suitable for him, I think it’s only fitting that a son worries the same amount. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was always exposed to fairy tales of what love looked like. My parents modelled it every day, and I craved that same love. I remember desiring so much to just appreciate a woman, to show her true value, to care for her and look out for her. I was always a soft and caring person; it makes sense why I’d desire to care for someone so much.

The evening of intense prayer was followed by the first day of World Equip, and I was trusting that I’d meet my wife there, as a friend. When selecting seats, I always make sure I get an aisle seat. I can’t stand having to barge through people to get to the loo mid-session. And so, a group of friends and I found the perfects seats. They were willing to forfeit the aisle seat and I was willing to sit in a row they wanted to.

Coincidentally, I saw this incredibly beautiful girl walking with the brightest and most joyful smile. The first thing I noticed was her gorgeous rosy cheeks and her sea-blue eyes that I couldn’t stop staring at. She continued to walk in the direction I was seated, my heart started throbbing, I was so confused. She sat in the row in front of my friends, and as she sat down, she almost immediately turned and introduced herself. Could it be this easy? I had been planning on how I’d approach her as she was walking towards me. Swoosh!

Endless pursuing throughout the week (with lots of rejection) landed me the all-important date, where I told her how I really felt. Knowing she was leaving the next day, I had to get it out – I didn’t want her to leave confused, and I didn’t want to hide it. I felt something deep for her. Graeme still refers to that evening as the day Lil told him that I’m insane. He enjoys the memory.

I feel like ladies always get the easy job. The next few months were followed by a whole lot of confusion; it was difficult. I had planned on seeing her again, because I knew I had to, but that trip would turn out to be one of the most heart-breaking trips I had ever been on. Odd to think so, knowing that I had my best friend with me the whole time.

I saw Lil in June/July 2016 after being separated for around 9 months. I had come fully expecting to gain clarity on where our relationship stood. This trip only led to more uncertainty, and it was heart-breaking from my side. I remember the one day, even though most of the trip was super confusing, Graeme and I were speaking about our relevant ladies and we both, almost at the same time, agreed that they were the ones for us.

Lil and I shared a few significant evenings, and heart-to-hearts, and even though I went home being more confused, for some reason I just couldn’t stop pursuing her, and that’s what we believe to be the Holy Spirit playing a role in both of our lives. Where she was still confused, and I wasn’t, the Holy Spirit thought we both had things we needed to work on, before we could take the responsibility of being in a relationship. Even through the heart-ache, I look back and know that I was not able to lead a woman at that stage in my life, and it is by God’s great love that he kept us apart.

Although there is still far more to the story, I’m going to land it. I got back from Australia, and for some reason, Lil and I had decided that we weren’t truly pursuing a friendship, so we decided to put some rules into place. We scheduled our calls, and limited our talking time to weekends only. This was probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to enforce in my life, knowing truly in my heart that the woman I was deeply in love with needed a bit of space, and I needed to be known as a friend before I could know her as a partner.

I seemed incredibly strong to her in this time, but I was dying on the inside. I tried to view other ladies through the same lens, but just couldn’t – there would always be a caution in my Spirit, I almost felt as if I was cheating, even though I wasn’t in a relationship. To escape the pain, I spent a lot of time playing squash and hanging with friends. God revealed to me that there was still a lot that I needed to work on, and that I had to pursue him before I pursued Lil.

‘’Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is the house of mourning, but the heart of the fools is in the house of mirth.’’
– Eccl 7:3-4

I look back on that time, and this scripture speaks volumes, I had never been so dependent on God and I crave to be in that space again.

Single men, I’ll encourage you, it’s not shameful to admit the hardship of being single and lonely.

‘’He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.’’
– Proverbs 18:22

There is a reason why we desire this, and there is a reason why it hurts to be single. But I will encourage you, never has a man been led astray by pursuing the will of God for his life.

I will leave you with this.

‘’So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world’’.
– 1 John 4:16-17

God is love, and does all things out of love. Being single is not a curse. Pursue God and let him be your absolute and complete satisfaction, even when you have found your suitable helper.

Regards,
Jacques.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Image: https://favim.com/image/617547/, sourced 28 October 2017.

First Sight

Jacques Lil Chair

Where to sit? The auditorium held over a thousand people and was still filling up. My friends and I wandered through the rows of seats, glancing around at the stage and the exit lights, weighing up the pros and cons of each section. Too close to the speakers, too far from the loos, too strange a position for my neck.

We figured off to the side of the stage was still close but not ostentatious. I sat on the aisle, about eight rows from the stage, at least six seats away from Joel. Six seats away from him was his wife Tracey. In a crowded room it was beyond talking distance. I stared blindly at my phone for a moment or two, but remembered that this was South Africa, and I didn’t have any service here.

Swivelling in my seat with the thought of being social, there were a group of guys sitting in the row behind me. I introduced myself and the strawberry blonde guy immediately stood out as the loud one, exclaiming over my Aussie accent. The guys and I quickly got chatting, about crop tops, of all things and a couple of my friends from Australia joined us. They were all really friendly, but one guy stood out for some reason. Maybe it’s because he was a little more reserved. Maybe it was because he had dark features and olive skin (hey, we all have a type), but somehow my subconscious flagged him.

Jacques. Last name too hard to pronounce (and immediately forgotten).

God reminded me of his name in the middle of the worship that followed. You see, that morning as I’d been praying God had given me three prophetic words. After telling me who the first two words were for, I asked, “Who is the last one for?” God said, “You’ll meet them this week.” As I was singing he told me, “It’s for the guy in the seat behind you, Jacques.”

Little did I know that when I shared that prophetic word with him, God was also adding another bit that I would not be informed of for at least another year: Oh by the way, this girl is your future wife.

I was coming to the end of what was possibly the worst year of my life. I had moved a few times in my 22 years, but this was the first time I had done it indefinitely. God had swept away my plans of being an Au Pair nanny in Europe for a ‘gap year’ after my uni degree and had told me to go to Werribee, or as the people in my home town call it, ‘the poo farm’ (it is known there as the home of a sewage plant).

Moving up to Melbourne, I had found a job quickly, but was barely making enough money as a casual to get by, and Mum and Dad had not been able to support me. I had moved house 5 times already that year, with another move scheduled for the week following my return from South Africa. I had broken up with a guy in May and felt like I was saying goodbye to my last hope at finding love. There were barely any single people at my church. I was surrounded by married couples and young families that I had to fight hard not to be jealous of. I thought it would be another 10 years before any other guy would look my way, but God was doing a big work in my heart. The most painful work to date. And he showed me that I needed to allow him to if I wanted to stop going round the mountain. At long last, I did.

At the same Christian conference in Melbourne called AusEquip that God had told me to move to Werribee for a local church there, he had also showed me that I had to be at the World Equip in Johannesburg, a year and 10 months later. For the first time ever, I truly submitted my whole life and will to Jesus. I said, “I’m yours. Wherever you lead me, I’ll go.” So I cancelled all my plans and my only goal for over a year was this conference.

The day I booked my flight (having had to borrow some of the money from my parents) the booking company called me an hour after I received ‘confirmation’ that they had somehow lost my seat on the flight. Having not had the best couple of months, I was raging, to put it mildly. I was scared of being left in a foreign country by myself but was a little placated when I realised the return flight that I had been re-booked on was the same one that my second family, the Kay-Hards, were travelling on.

I was more than a little upset and I said to God, “Okay, this has obviously happened for a reason. Something good better happen on that extra day that I’m staying there.”

That something good was my first proper date with my future husband, the 19-year-old young man who had sat in the seat behind me, who God had asked me to prophecy over before we even met. It wouldn’t be 10 years for another guy to notice me, but 5 months. Oh how glad I am now that I obeyed God in that moment months before the conference, when I had no idea how long I was going to have to wait.

Has it all been smooth sailing? Ask Jacques. He’ll tell you no. Just like I told him for the first nine months. He had to ask four times even just to get a group date out of me. I put him though some tests, curious about whether he was interested in me, or in just having a little romance at a conference filled with so many young single girls.

When I came back to Australia and first told my dad about him, Dad said, “If he’s the right one, he’ll be unstoppable.” Jacques has been the definition of that, pursuing me single-mindedly for two years now.

I finally said yes, and even though I thought my wish list for a husband was big, God has given me far more in Jacques than I ever dared to ask, or even hope for. One day in the car a few months back as I was driving to work the song Good, Good Father came on and I just started bawling my eyes out, realising how generous God has been with me.

And he wants to be that generous with you too.

But he doesn’t need your help in supplying you a spouse.

“There aren’t many guys at your church.”

“You’ve just got to put yourself out there more.”

“Maybe you should move to an area/church with at least some potential husbands/wives.”

“How does hanging out with all these young families help you?”

“When you finally stop looking and are content to just be single, then you’ll find the one.”

These ideas are often frustrating and sometimes tempting to buy into in those lonely moments, but what does that say about our faith?

At the end of the day my heart would always ask:

How many guys do I need? A whole crowd of them, or just one?

How big is my God again? Oh wait, He holds the entire universe in his hand. Is the same God who spoke galaxies into being not powerful enough to bring me one man? Do I have to help him out because he’s tired, forgetful, or just struggling to get it all done?

Lift your eyes again, or for the first time, to the one who has promised to be faithful, to never leave you, to always work for your good. If you let go of striving for things like a spouse, he is not going to leave you hanging. Not this good, good Father of ours.

“So do not worry about your life, what you will eat … what you will wear, [who you will marry] … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
– Matthew 6:25,33

If anyone reading this would like to share their story or struggle with me, please feel free to contact me in a comment below. I’d love to pray with you.

Sincerely
Lil

Dear 15 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

Dear 15 Year Old Me,

I know you jumped on the scales this morning thinking all that running had been paying off, and you’d actually gained two kilos.

Let me tell you something. Muscle really does weigh more than fat. That’s not just something your teachers and parents have made up. You just put on two kilos of awesomeness. Two kilos of healthy. Two kilos of fitness. Own it.

Do yourself a favour. Throw the scales out, or put them in a place you won’t see them (if you think Mum would kill you for throwing them out). The only reason we need scales is to make sure our baggage is under 20kg when flying and to weigh our dogs. Checking the scales can become an addiction that will sit heavy on your back and be really hard to break in later years. Trust me.

If you think weighing yourself more than once a week isn’t excessive, it is, for someone your age. I now don’t even keep scales in the house because of the slippery slope it has become for me. If you look great and feel great, why do you need a number?

Don’t let you those models on TV and in magazines make you think that you have to be stick thin to be attractive. Did you know that half the time (or possibly more) someone behind the scenes, after the photoshoot is complete, is going through and sucking the fat out of those models’ legs with a Photoshop tool? This image of perfection they sell you is false, unattainable. Don’t be their fool. Embrace the body God gave you and work at appreciating it and taking care of it to the best of your ability.

Note to self: starving the body is not taking care of it! Have you ever heard of something called ‘starvation mode’? If we want to turn to facts and science here, (well, summarised facts) depriving yourself of food can actually stop you from losing weight. The body thinks it’s not going to have access to much food for a while so it retains all the fat that it can, in order to ‘survive’. So, probably not the best idea.

Everyone should be their healthy body weight and not made to feel bad about it. For those who are naturally a size 6-8, fantastic. Do you, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. If you’re curvy and healthy, great.

If you’re aiming for anything, aim for healthy and fit. That is your best you and something your body will thank you for in years to come.

Your choices matter. Think about how your decisions today are going to affect you in the long run. A great book I’ve read recently by Lysa TerKeurst (and referenced in a previous article) called The Best Yes has taught me a helpful concept called “chasing down your decisions”. It’s where you look at what you’re choosing now and the path that each decision is leading you down. What kind of habit am I making? What will this decision help make me into? FYI, obsessively checking the scales every week, every day, twice a day (slippery slope) leads to a paranoid person with very low self-esteem and a feeling that they are never good enough.

So ignore the scales and do whatever your body needs to stay healthy. I’ve gotten into a habit of that now (I weigh myself maximum once a month, sometimes not even that) and my confidence is at an all-time high (maybe almost too high—who knows).

Have a great time being you and make this year a year of change in mind-set. Because when the mind changes, everything changes.

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You

Image: https://noothername412.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/9231a-fitness2bgirls2bto2bget2bbeauty2bbody.jpg
Sourced: 14 April 2016

 

 

Dear 13 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

 

Dear 13 Year Old Me,

How’s Year 7 treating you?

Just a few things on who you are as a person, because I remember having this on my mind at your age. Let me think back…

As an eight-year-old, it seemed so obvious who I was. I’d sit mocking as I watched movies with confused teenagers saying, “Who am I?” thinking that that was the dumbest question ever. I wanted to say, “Did you lose you memory or something? Look at your birth certificate!”

If someone had have asked me at that age who I was, the answer was too easy. Well, my name’s Lil. I like to dance and read and draw. I’m a Christian, so I go to church. Give me a hard question.

Remember that?

But identity is more than a name because now you’re asking the very same question. Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I belong? What do I want?

When did this question become so complex?

This is the point where most people choose a source for their identity, something or someone to define them and tell them who they are. I’m sorry to say, but you choose wrong.

There are a few options that people look to to learn their identity. As kids it’s usually parents, but now that you’re 13 there are a few other prime candidates:
– School/achievements/grades
– Friends
– Sport
– (These days) the internet/social media – and the amount of likes you get
– Boys
> Jesus.

Can I strongly suggest that you don’t choose the second last option, like I know you’re about to? Of all the sub-par options, this is the worst. The reality is that if you don’t find your identity, your validation and your sense of value from Jesus (the genuine source), you will get it from another avenue (a counterfeit source). From experience, this is a let-down at best, long-term damaging at worst.

If you’re asking yourself how much of a big deal that is, ask yourself, is an orange Monopoly $500 as good as even a purple $5 note that is genuine? Which can you take to the bank? Monopoly money’s fun to play around with, but don’t expect it to get you anywhere in life.

I know it probably won’t change your 13 year old mind but I’m asking you as a friend not to do this. Please. For our sake. Does knowing you’ll spend years undoing the damage make a difference at all? Just to give you an idea, the process of Jesus healing you from all the rubbish you’re about to pick up takes 4 painful years, till you arrive at the age of 22, where I am now, nine years later.

So if you want to build your life on something, how about the only true Rock?

The bible (Matthew 7:24-27) says that building on anything other than Jesus is foolish (stupid) and will end up crashing down as soon as a big enough storm comes.

So, instead of Instagram, the arms of a really cute guy, your soccer or dance team, your friends, search God’s Word for what Jesus says about you, because He’s the only one you can always, without fail, rely on to tell you the truth.

And isn’t truth what you long for? What you desperately need.

Start with a few verses like, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14) and “you will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand” (Isaiah 62:3).

How about Galatians 3:26? “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”

Choose well.

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You  xo

 
Images (sourced 3 April 2016)
1: http://yukaichou.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Identity.jpg
2: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/251920172877401567/
3: http://www.soulshepherding.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Identity-in-Christ1.jpg
4: http://quotesgram.com/quotes-about-identity-in-christ/

 

Dear 11 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

Dear 11 Year Old Me,

So you’re about to start high school. What an eventful six years.

This is when it starts for a lot of people, the wishing and waiting, so don’t feel bad about it. It’s a common trap. You want to be older, so you can be independent, can date, drive. Whatever. But think about this. If now at 11, you wish to be 16, and then once you get to be 16, you’re hanging out for 18. Then when you can finally drive, you wish you were married, then kids, then retirement. Then you’re at the end of your life and you spent the whole time wishing to be somewhere else. What a waste.

Be present. Spend time with special people around you and really listen to them. Find out what your younger sister’s favourite colour is. Really connect. Appreciate the season you’re in because, news flash, you can never be in any season apart from the one you’re in. And you can never get this season back. Ever. So you can either go through life with a dissatisfied soul, making the people around you feel like they’re not quite enough and ripping them off from having you really there, or you can engage. Don’t rob people of the joy of your presence.

Some people take decades to learn this lesson, and I know you learn it eventually, but learning it as quick as possible saves you a lot of regret.

I know you think your life will really start when you become an adult but don’t wait until you’re older to serve Jesus. Allow him to use you now. The bible talks about good works that God has planned in advance for us to do (Ephesisans 2:10). I used to think of that as over the course of my whole life. Thanks to a great book I’ve read recently by Lysa TerKeurst called The Best Yes I now wake up in the morning and think, “Jesus, which works do you have prepared for me to walk in today?” And then I actively look for them. I do it this way because I don’t want to miss God’s opportunities. I want to be present at all the appointments He’s set up for me. How exciting to walk with Him in this creative, immediate way, and I feel more alive than ever as I accept these invitations from my Heavenly Father.

Before I sign off, parents. Do yours bug you sometimes and seem not to get you?
Just so you remember, here is a short list of some of the things they do for you:
-love you
-cook
-clean
-pay for everything
-help you with homework
-laundry
-drive you everywhere you need to go
-take care of you when you’re sick
-do the grocery shopping

I promise Mum and Dad didn’t pay me off to say this, but appreciate your parents.
A time will come where you have to do all this yourself and trust me, at 22, I realise living at home was absolute luxury.

Your parents are looking out for your best, and they are probably the two people in the world who most want you to do well. So listen to them. They are your biggest fans. If they’re telling you something, it can only be for your good. The bible says that the Lord disciplines those he loves, just as a father (parent) does (Proverbs 3:12).

Good luck finishing primary school!

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You

 

Image: http://36.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_may9atBqZz1qkyzjpo1_1280.jpg
Sourced 28 March 2016