Excitement and Fear
Congratulations to all the graduates. You’re now entering into a new stage of your life. A new stage of your life can be both exciting and scary at the same time. Entering into the unknown is always exciting and scary. I hope that your excitement takes over your fear, it is your choice. Are you going to let the excitement take over or will you let the fear take over? I hope that you let excitement take over your fear because life always consists of excitement and fear. These two always come together. Whatever you do, not only graduation, not only university, not only high school, but whatever you do in life, when you face challenges, you always get excited, but at the same time, you get really scared. I chose a passage from Jeremiah. It is a story of God calling a young, insecure and a very fearful young man. God makes this man, Jeremiah to be a prophet.
Graduation is a New Beginning
He didn’t have confidence because he thought he was only a boy. He thought “I’m not a prophet. I’m only a boy. I cannot handle all the big things that you are asking me to do.” To this insecure young man, God said, “do not say I’m only a boy, for you shall go to all to whom I send you and you shall speak whatever I command you. Don’t worry. Don’t fear, I’ll be with you. I’ll give you what you need. You just have to hear what I have to say and you just have to speak.” That’s what God said to Jeremiah. To those graduates and to all of us, I’d like to say a few things for us to reflect. What will be the best way to prepare ourselves to live an exciting and meaningful life? Graduation is not only for those who graduate from school. I think for all of us, life is like graduation all the time because graduation is also a new beginning, that’s why they say commencement. Always, we graduate from one thing and we start a new thing. So graduation applies to all of us.
Humility is an Attitude
I was thinking about three things, for those graduates and all of us. First, be humble, be humble. Being humble is not a gesture, it is an inner attitude. It’s not a gesture that you show on the surface on the outside, but it is an attitude, an inner attitude that you have within you. Many people misunderstand humility. They think of humility as a sign of weakness or inferiority. I don’t see humility in that way. Jesus was very humble. He said that he was humble. This is what he said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus was humble, but I don’t see anywhere from the scripture where he is inferior in any way. Jesus was humble, but we learned from him.
Humility is Confidence
I see a very confident person, confident men. That is what humility is. Humility is confidence. Humility is not inferiority. Humility is not weakness. Humility is confidence. Confidence even to embrace one’s own shortcomings. Yes, that’s what humility is. Strong people can admit that they’re weak, strong people can admit that they have not figured out yet. Only weak people pretend they are strong but strong people don’t need to pretend that they’re strong because they’re already strong. So humility is confidence, is it is the attitude of saying that it is all right not to be perfect. It is the attitude that you don’t have to be so smart and so great. You don’t have to be accepted to be loved. You know that very well. The confident people behave with the attitude of learning, changing and growing.
Humble people don’t think that they have it all and that they have life figured out. They believe that they can always learn, they can always grow and they can always get better. That’s what humble people do. When I see humble people around me, I see their openness. They are not set in their own ways. They’re not strangely stubborn in their own ways. They are open. They are good listeners. They are very interested in other’s opinions. Then are not busy talking about themselves. They value other people and they appreciate what other people have to say. That’s what humble people do. You’ll experience lots of new things in college or high school, but be humble and absorb. Learn a lot of new things in your life and grow tremendously to be courageous. I said entering into the unknown is exciting, but at the same time, scary. That’s why you need to be courageous.
Fear is a universal emotion. As Joshua took over the leadership of Moses, he was really scared because of what Moses did, it was so great. The shoes were too big to fill. Moses parted the Red Sea, he brought manna from the heavens and did all these great things. So when Joshua took over the leadership, the shoes were too big to fill, so he was really scared. But also at the same time, the promised land did not come to Joshua on a silver platter. He had a lot of problems and challenges that he had to deal with before taking over the promised land. So Joshua was very scared in many ways. That’s why God said to Joshua, be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord is with you.
Your God is with you wherever you go. That is the message for you. The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go, whether it’s Hamilton or London or Queens or whatever. Wherever you go, the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go. Be Courageous, be strong! Even in today’s passage to the young man Jeremiah who was filled with fear, God said, “do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.” That’s the message of God. The Bible talks about fear a lot. Everywhere you open the passage, you will see the word fear. Somebody actually counted the number of times fear shows up and there are over 365 passages about fear. So in other words 365 times, that’s like once every day. Why so many passages about fear? Because it is such a common emotion that all human beings experience. Even Jesus’ disciples had to learn to overcome their own fears before they became disciples. Jesus took them on purpose into the ocean, into the storm and they experienced a life crisis. They learned to overcome their own fears in order to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Being courageous. It’s not the absence of fear. Being courageous is not known without the feeling of fear. The absence of fear may be a sign of cowardice because when you run away from fearful situations all the time, you don’t even have to feel fear. Whenever problems occur, you turn your face away and whenever there is a difficulty, you give up. You just turn around all the time and you never have to use your courage. Avoiding your fears and being a coward doesn’t make your fears disappear. We all have fear. We all feel fear. What if I cannot make it? What if I cannot get a good enough mark? Usually, from high school, when you go into university, your average tends to drop five to ten percent. So for example, 95% to 90%, and if you’ve got 90% it will probably drop to 85% and so on. As you can see, universities and colleges are more difficult. So now you wonder and you feel scared. You think, “what if I’m not as smart as I thought? What if I’m not as good as I thought? What if I fail? What if I fail not just in school but in life? If I don’t do well in university or college, can I make it in the world?” We have a lot of “what if” questions in our lives.
Fear is Common
Let me tell you, my friend. Don’t be scared of failures. Fail! That’s the best lesson that you’re going to learn. Get used to failing. Failure is part of the process of success. I will say that with courage. Don’t be scared of failure. That is Courage. Cartoonist Scott Adams, who created Dilbert said, “failures are merely the cobblestone on the path to success.” He is right. Although he is a pretty successful cartoonist, he experienced lots of failures in his past. Every single person who made it, all experienced failure. Jim Carey, a successful Hollywood comedian said that he experienced his first failure right here in Toronto. It was his first debut performance at the Yacht club committee and he did stand up comedy. He stood up and people booed, they booed him off the stage. He couldn’t even finish his comedy. Failure, get used to it. Don’t let your failures become the defining moments of your life, make failures as a turning point of your life. That’s very important. Don’t let failures be the defining moments of your life, make failures as a turning point of your life.
Failures are not a reason to give up. Failures are part of the process of making life great. If you are scared of failures, you cannot do anything. If you’re scared of failures, you’ll never do great things. Embrace your own fear of failures and trust that God will be with you. God will help you. You can always live a life of running away from fearful situations. Just safe. You can do that, t’s up to you to see your choice. You can live like that, but you will not make anything great with that attitude.
Hope in God
Third, be always hopeful, always hopeful. There’s always darkness around you. Don’t let the darkness control you. It’s your choice. Darkness is always around you. Gloominess is always around you. You can allow gloominess and depression to take over your life, but don’t do that. Be Hopeful. Always see the light. Always see the light. Real strength is not shown when everything goes well. It is shown when everything goes wrong. Your real character is not shown when you’re at the peak, but it is shown when you’re at the bottom of your life. It’s like stars shining brighter in the dark sky. When you have a true character in the darkness, it will shine better. As I said before, a Russian novelist said “the darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer is God.” Always remember that. Always be hopeful when you face difficulties and hardships. When you have doubts about yourself, always be hopeful. Don’t ever let the darkness take over your life. Believe that God who began a good work will bring you to completion in His own time and believe that everything will work out for good. Believe that life is not just random events. Your Life is in God’s wonderful plan.
Living with hope is the strength of life. When you live with hope, no darkness will overcome you. No despair will cripple you. You’ll be able to come out of the most difficult and challenging situations fine when you’re hopeful. When you’re hopeful, it will never allow you to give up, suffering and hardships will only make you stronger. Enjoy it. You’re entering into the unknown but is all right. Embrace it. Live it with courage. Live it with hope. Live it with humility.