You never know exactly what to expect when you’re about to graduate from college. You may be incredibly excited, or too scared to even think about it. You may or may not have a job lined up, a place to live, or the romantic relationship that you might desire. Regardless of whether or not you have all of the things you want securely in front of you, it’s a time of uncertainty, ambiguity. Potentially fear, depression, lack of motivation. When I graduated, I was burned out. I had reached my limit and beyond. In the months before graduation, self-care was only a temporary fix before I would feel the deep frustration of exhaustion and discouragement again. I looked forward to graduation like a light at the end of a tunnel. But it wasn’t what I expected.
I was fortunate to have security in two of those three areas I mentioned. I knew where I was going to live before I graduated, and I have the blessing of being in a serious relationship that has given me more joy than I imagined was possible. I am truly grateful for God’s provision in these areas.
The area in which I lacked any sense of plan or security was my job situation. I had no idea what I would be doing, no idea where my income would be coming from. The funny thing is that I am an incredibly plan-oriented person. Especially in such important areas as career and finances. I spent a year thinking and planning about how I would have a job secured before I graduated. The problem is, you can’t exactly secure a job a year in advance. I started into applications and interviews before graduating, but I didn’t find the right job. In fact, I rejected two job offers. Yes, as a student about to graduate with no job security, I rejected two different job offers. I never expected that the stress of not finding a job could or would come from my own choices. It was clearly the right decision that I said no to each of the positions, but I struggled with such guilt and anxiety over my decisions.
Aside from learning to trust God to provide financially and provide the right job opportunity, I have also learned something about burnout. It doesn’t go away as soon as your responsibilities go away. Ridiculously, that is exactly what I thought would happen. I thought that the moment I had all the freedom to sleep in, have alone time, and see friends, my motivation would come back. Unfortunately, it did not. The “done with life” feeling I had been experiencing didn’t end immediately. Sometimes even after sleeping in, I lay in bed with no desire to get up and live life that day. Sometimes my hunger didn’t outweigh my lack of desire to make food. I had expected that I would immediately get my life together, working on applications every hour possible, creating a schedule of consistently praying and going to the gym.
That sure as hell didn’t happen. And I learned to forgive myself for it. I learned to care for myself and be sensitive to what I needed. I learned to take it one step at a time. One week I worked consistently on applications. The next week, I continued applications and began to pray every morning. The week after that I … well, I wondered if I’d ever find myself back at the gym. I began to be proud of myself for continual progress, even though it wasn’t always consistent, and let myself receive what I had needed for so long – REST.
In His love,