As some of you may know (and some who may not), I graduate this December. Yeah…like 6 months away December. I will be graduating with my Associates Degree in Business Administration in hopes of having my own wedding planning business one day. When I think about graduating, I’m overcome with many emotions. Excitement is generally the first emotion I feel, and then it is quickly shadowed by the looming cloud of anxiety that follows.
It wasn’t always my plan to just pursue an Associates degree. I attended Appalachian State University for the entirety of about 2 months. Everything seemed to be flipped upside down when I got a concussion that made me drop out of school to allow my body to rest and heal. Over those next few months of being home and recovering, something unexpected happened…my plan changed. While at first I harbored bitterness and anger towards God, by the time the next semester rolled around (when I fully intended to return to Appalachian) He had worked in my life and redirected my path. I was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree to please everyone around me; I thought it was what was expected of me. Turns out, God really wanted me to just listen to Him and follow what He expected of me. It was not an easy decision to make, and difficult conversations were had to get to the point where I registered for classes at our local community college.
That brings us to now. Almost a year and a half later, I’m about to enter my final semester before completing my associates degree. I know this is where God has called me for a purpose, yet, I still struggle with anxiety of what will happen after graduation.
I was reading the story about King Nebuchadnezzar where he built an idol and commanded everyone to bow down to it – including Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If anyone refused to bow down, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Well, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and this is where we’ll focus in on the dialogue.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
OK. Let’s just try to put ourselves in their position right now. They already had the guts to face the consequence of not bowing down to the idol, and when faced with another opportunity to get out of the consequence, they don’t back down. They’re asking to be thrown into a fiery furnace. Do we get that? They are looking at King Nebuchadnezzar in the eye and asking to be burned alive before they bow down to his idol. How can they do that? Because they know and believe God will save them. But that isn’t all…I think the most beautiful, powerful phrase in this is when he states that God will deliver them, he continues to show faith by saying “but if not…we will not serve your gods.”
But if not. They knew God was all-powerful and completely capable of delivering them; they just weren’t positive if He was going to or not. As I read this, I tried to think about what I wanted most out of life. When I’m stressed about the future, I definitely put my dreams to be a successful wedding planner at the top of my priorities. I think to myself that if I can accomplish that, I will be okay. Other times, I put marriage and having a family one day on a pedestal. If I can reach that point, then I will have made it.
But what if those things don’t come to fruition? What if God has other plans? Will I still love and trust Him? He is absolutely capable of providing those things and blessing me in those ways, but even if He doesn’t, I need to respond in a way that glorifies the Lord. My relationship with Jesus needs to be first priority so if those things don’t happen, I will be completely satisfied by being in relationship with my Creator and Savior.
My hearts prayer is that in this season, and seasons to come, I will be able to pour out my hearts desire to God knowing He is fully capable and all-powerful, and be able to sincerely say “but if not”, I will still follow after You in everything I do. May my hearts desire be to better know and love the God who redeemed my soul.