Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Congratulations to the class of 2019! You’ve worked hard on your schooling for twelve (plus) years, you’ve reached the legal age of adulthood, and you’re on the precipice of whatever comes next. Here are seven suggestions to take with you as you continue on your journey of life and faith.

Grades aren’t everything. For those of you going on to college, remember that grades are only a slice of the pie. Grades do not tell the whole story about you. Or even the most important things about you. If you’re good at getting good grades, that’s terrific! But good grades don’t necessarily translate to an honest moral and ethical life.

Check your tech. I know you love your phone. But please, don’t let tech rule your life. Limit your tech, whether that’s video games, cell phone, or Netflix. Don’t believe what Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media are telling you about other people’s “picture perfect” lives. Oh, and I apologize on behalf of my generation for providing a terrible example on this by allowing our lives to be ruled by the almighty smart phone.

Sing your song. Discover and pursue your God-given gifts. God has made you a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. You are the only one just like you in the world. So go and figure out the song God has given you to sing. This will probably mean some trial and error, some dead ends, and some mid-course corrections; all of this is par for the course.

Invest in relationships. You need a few trusted friends to share your life with. To have a friend, you have to be a friend. Take an interest in others. Be there for people. Your life is a long journey and the journey is better when it’s shared. An old African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Stay connected with Christ. As you move into your young adult years, I encourage you to root your life in Christ. This can include Scripture and prayer, service and worship, faith conversations and making the world a better place. Find a local church that both challenges and feeds you in your faith. Build a web of trusted Christian friends.

Remember to play. This is simply a reminder to live a balanced life. Take days off from your work (or studies). Take a vacation. Make time regularly to enjoy hobbies and activities that rejuvenate you and give you energy.

You can do hard things. You’re going to face some difficulties as you move into your adult life. People will disappoint you. Adulting will have its frustrations. Life’s learning curves will challenge your patience. Cheery news, right? But the good news is that you’re stronger than you know. And as you stay connected with Christ, invest in relationships, and remember to play, you’ll be well equipped to face and overcome life’s challenges. May the Lord bless you and keep you always!