Navigating After-College Anxiety

As a senior in college, I can attest that I’m pretty scared for what’s coming next. Some people in my graduating class are engaged, have a job lined up, and know exactly where they’re going to live. I on the other hand, am sitting on the couch, eating a bag of doritos, with zero intentions of engagements, no idea where I’ll be living, and not a clue as to what job I’ll have. So my anxiety is asking me what happens if I don’t attain what I am hoping for right after college? Am I going to become a hermit? Will I live in my parents’ basements for ten years? The biggest question thus far: what if the things we end up doing never measure up to what we intended? We may never know, but God certainly does.

I was reading the book of Ruth a couple days ago and I thought it touches on my exact feelings on the future after school. If you haven’t read Ruth’s story, it’s a quick read and incredible. Ruth’s story begins with her husband passing away and her living with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and her sister-in-law, Orpah. Naomi begs Ruth and Orpah to leave her in order to find a husband and a better life, and while Orpah leaves, Ruth decides to stay. From the beginning I find this incredibly interesting. Ruth says “For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you (1:16-17).”

Ruth had every reason to  leave. Naomi gave her permission and she truly had no other option in that moment to get remarried. But Ruth knew what was loving and chose to follow God’s will of being compassionate to others before satisfying her own needs. Her action of staying is a reminder that she chose what God wanted before her own. Ruth decides to stay with Naomi and find a job to provide for her and her mother-in-law, which leads Naomi to work in the fields of Boaz, an honorable man in the clan of Elimelech. Although Ruth was a Moabite, a race that was looked down upon in the eyes of the Israelites, Ruth was still kept safe from the harm of the male field workers (known for sexual assault/raping women) and caught the attention of Boaz himself. When Boaz told her why he favored her, he answered “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you full for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge (2:11-12)!” Ruth’s obedience to God’s call not only kept her safe, but revealed the way that God provided resources for her.

Spoiler alert: by the end of the story, Ruth ends up marrying Boaz and giving birth to a son. Not only that, but Naomi, who felt defeated and useless as a widow, now had a child that came from her family line that she could care for. Because Ruth stayed patient, obedient, and put others needs before hers, she not only made her life better, but Naomi’s life as well. God put together exactly what she needed when she trusted that His will is all that she needs. Ruth had no idea that she would end up remarried after she chose to stay with Naomi. But God saw how much she loved Naomi and created an amazing life for Ruth she never knew would stem from obedience to the Lord.

At twenty-one years old, I am pretty scared for my future. As a reminder, I have no clue where I’m living after school, no idea what job I’ll have, and I’m surviving off of minimum wage jobs and freelance side hustles. Trusting that God has a future for me when all I see is a huge question mark can be pretty intimidating. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as easily trusting as Ruth was to give over her life to God, but this story inspires me to do so. It’s really scary when we don’t know what’s in front of us, but sometimes we aren’t meant to know. We have to take it day by day and understand that the things God slowly reveals to us are like points on a road map. The smaller points start showing up in front of us and he will make the points that are His will easy to recognize. Sometimes we just need to take the leap.

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