"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
1 Corinthians 9:24
With high school winding down, college applications piling up, and that haunting question—"What do you want to do with your life?"—ringing in your ears, it’s easy to lose focus. Even if you manage to keep track of what you’re supposed to be doing, you might forget why. Yeah, you have people to please and expectations to meet, but is that kind of motivation really going to get you through the whirlwind year ahead?
In a word, no. What you need is vision—a picture of the future that produces passion in the present.
Do you have a vision for the next several weeks, months and years? Sit down with God’s Word and think it through, using the questions and passages below as a starting point.
Goal #1: Finish High School Strong
You are now entering senioritis season, marked by contagious slacking and rampant rationalizing. But even though you’ll soon be moving on to bigger things, you’re still a Christian witness and an example to underclassmen. There’s no excuse for letting your guard down now.
See Galatians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 4:12, 15-16.
What foundation have you laid for yourself academically, socially and spiritually over the past three years? What steps can you take to solidify your own growth, and the growth of those around you, before you leave? Imagine walking up to get your diploma at graduation. What do you want people to think of when they see you?
Goal #2: Enter College Prepared
It doesn’t just take a working knowledge of Dante and differential equations to be ready for college. It takes a solid sense of who you are, what you believe and what you want to get out of college. Because college is going to present challenges, questions and opportunities you’ve never dreamed of. And even though you can’t be sure exactly what you’ll face, you can still prepare yourself.
See 1 Peter 1:13 and Hebrews 13:20-21.
How can you prepare yourself academically for your first-semester courses? How can you gear up emotionally for leaving home and making all new friends? Are you spiritually ready to take on the responsibility for finding a church and keeping up your devotional life? Imagine crossing campus to get to your very first class. What are you seeing, thinking and feeling?
Goal #3: Use Your Education Well
It might seem a little early to be thinking about your college graduation, but you have to remember that college is only one part of the big picture of your life. It’s also a huge investment of time and money. The last thing you’d want to do is spend four busy, intense years at school getting your degree only to ask yourself, "Why did I do that?" Giving the matter some thought now will give you direction in college and beyond.
See Jeremiah 29:11 and 2 Thessalonians 1:11.
What do you think God might be calling you to do in the world? If you’re not absolutely sure, are you keeping your options open? How can college best prepare you for a future occupation, Christian service and life in general? Imagine yourself at age 25. What kind of person do you want to be?