By Kevin Kostyk, Executive Leadership Program Associate
I recently talked to a friend who is a few years removed from college. As we traded stories and updates, she made a statement that resonated with me. It wasn’t incredibly thoughtful or insightful – it just hit home.
“The first year after graduation is just weird,” she said.
Having just completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in May 2018 (Go Dawgs!), I couldn’t agree more. The transition from student life to workforce is difficult. Priorities shift, communities change, goals I used to strive for are irrelevant.
It’s just… weird.
All that to say, I was still able to determine my desired career path out of school. My love for both sports and people led me to accept a position in baseball scouting and development. I was able to travel the country, develop important connections, and pursue a career path I had a lot of passion for. I was effortlessly defeating the weirdness that came with the freshman year of adulting.
Within the first few months, issues in my workplace became glaringly more apparent. Financially, emotionally, and spiritually, my coworkers and bosses were irresponsible businessmen and perverse influences. I knew I couldn’t realistically surround myself with those people much longer.
God helped me come to the realization that I was in a toxic environment.
The problem was that I really didn’t want to abandon my path toward a career in baseball – I mean, that’s my dream. But, I knew I couldn’t stay put.
I decided to (half-heartedly) seek God’s wisdom for another path. I realistically had no desire to shift my plans. But, even through my resistance, God opened a door and yanked my heart in a new and unexpected direction.
In September, four months after laying the foundation for my career, I accepted a position with Christian Care Ministry. I walked into the building knowing very little about the company. I was unsure of the work they did and I didn’t know anyone there. I was even uncertain what this new role would look like. All I knew was the Lord was calling me to be a piece of this organization. Although I had this reassurance, I still had animosity about this unfamiliar path.
I never envisioned myself being involved in much other than baseball, let alone the healthcare field in any capacity. Because of these doubts and apprehensions, I carried a weight of apathy into the building. I’m sure many of us have felt these anxieties at just the sheer thought of the unknown.
Ultimately, my expectations walking out of college did not mirror reality and I’m truly blessed that was the case.
It is evident I’ve entered a culture rooted in fervent prayer and genuine love that can only exist in the presence of the Holy Spirit here at CCM. God has surrounded me with people whose hearts and intentions are completely fixed upon His word. Personally speaking, God has repeatedly revealed His purpose for me here.
I was hired to learn and grow under Godly leadership, and I am doing just that. But God’s fullest desire for me here is to help employees learn and grow in Him through relentless joy and unwavering love.
He’s had to teach me how to do this by continuing to unveil the immensity, as well as the simplicity, of His nature. Understanding God is far beyond anything we can fathom, yet it’s easy enough for a kindergarten student to spell out in a four-letter word: love.
Although we will never fully comprehend the God we serve, Jesus reminds us how simple following Him truly is.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-39, italics added).’”
Everything we do hangs on this word. Love is the basis of our existence. God is love.
Because of this extreme love He has, God greatly desires to be the center of our aspirations.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).” Once He spoke everything else into existence, “God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:25, italics added).” But, when He breathed life into man, “God saw all that He has made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31, italics added).”
Even as much as He provides for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air, He provides immeasurably more for us when we, “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).” He does this because before we even came into existence, God knew us by name and loved us unconditionally.
This agape love God lavishes on me is the same love He desires for me to show everyone I encounter: a love that is selfless, compassionate, and never-ceasing.
As I reflect on the quote from my college friend, I realize that, while the statement true, it is too narrow.
Because it isn’t just the first year after college that is weird. Life is just weird.
The time we have on this Earth is full of ebbs and flows. The only constant in life is change, and the only consistency in life are the inconsistencies. Because of this, our expectations don’t often mirror the reality. But to be honest, as long as we’re looking inward and outward instead of upward, we should hope these two aren’t identical.
Instead, we should rest in the plans God has for us. He is our cornerstone, our way maker, and our storm-calmer. We don’t have to walk a tight rope through a life full of “weirdness,” because we can be confident that He will make “a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).”
God pulls us from our mess, straightens our course, and provides for us entirely because His love for us is that great. That love is a constant promise I’m choosing to live in, as well as live out.
Because in Him, we can be certain that the path God directs us is not just sufficient – it’s perfect.