In just a few weeks, hundreds of our students will be walking across the stage to be handed a purple tube. While the tube is just made of cardboard, it does represent an amazing accomplishment which identifies you as a well-educated person, ready for the “real world”! 

And while the past few years has hopefully provided a variety of opportunities to learn and grow as an individual – and not just in the classroom – what you are most likely looking for now are opportunities to put your education to work. Job opportunities tend to run in cycles – sometimes there are many opportunities to choose from, and other times there are seemingly few. And then there is always the dilemma of positions that require experience, but you need a job to get the experience!

What happens next

Perhaps right now, anticipating graduation and wondering what will happen next, you are not sure which way to turn.  Perhaps you had an internship that fell through because of the pandemic, or a field that looked promising two or three years ago has cut back on openings. Or perhaps you are contemplating continuing in school for a while longer and earning a graduate degree to hopefully qualify you for that one job you are dreaming of. While it is difficult to not think this way, you shouldn’t think about any current situation as defining your career for the next four or five decades. Today, this month, this semester, this year – is just one snapshot in your life.

You will find the intersection of your passions, your talents, and your vocation – just trust God.

But don’t overlook intermediate steps along the way! The job listing that isn’t really what you want to do with your life, but which you have a good chance of being hired for, may just be the step that takes you to the next one! Very, very few people took their first career step and ended up exactly where they wanted to be for the rest of their life.

An unplanned resume

The Old Testament briefly mentions a man named Benaiah, but his story illustrates this idea perfectly.  2 Samuel 23:20 tells us that “There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it.” (NLT). To add to his resume, 1 Chronicles 11:23 also tells us that “Once, armed only with a club, he killed an Egyptian warrior who was 7½ feet tall and who was armed with a spear as thick as a weaver’s beam. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it” (NLT). Now, while it is highly unlikely anyone would (or could) include those things on their resume, it worked out well for Benaiah.  When we last see him, in 2 Samuel 23:23, King David had hired him and promoted him to be the head of his personal bodyguard – the equivalent of today’s Secret Service. For a person in Benaiah’s line of work, that is about as good as he could get!

Stepping stones

Mark Batterson wrote a wonderful book entitled “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” – detailing Benaiah’s exploits and a follow-up entitled “Chase the Lion” – encouraging you to do just that. Both are fantastic books which I highly recommend you read as soon as you can. Batterson’s main point in these books is that regardless of the circumstances you may currently find yourself in – even an allegorical pit with a lion on a snowy day, look upon them as stepping stones towards the full life that God has for you. Without these experiences on his resume, it is unlikely that Benaiah would have received the opportunity and accolades he was ultimately awarded, but while he was undertaking these experiences he was, in fact, preparing himself for those very rewards.

Woman sitting at a table with a laptop, looking bored

Use every opportunity

In the same way, you don’t need to necessarily look for your “ideal” job right out of college. Rather, like Benaiah, use each opportunity God offers you to learn and prepare for what God ultimately has for you. Remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11 – God has a plan full of hope and goodness for your future. And remember, life is a journey – take it one step at a time and make the most of every opportunity.

UMHB is the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest. If you are looking for a place to receive an education for life and an experience of a lifetime, UMHB would be a great fit for you! Check out our website for more information, or stop by any time for a campus visit to learn more!