Craig Lovelace, Resonate Network Executive Director
It’s no secret that the Millennial generation is struggling to step into adulthood. Most of us won’t marry until our late 20s (27 for women and 29 for men on average), we are strapped with college debt, we’re overwhelmed with options, and we’re addicted to instant gratification. Showing up for work every day, loving the same spouse for 40 years and changing diapers doesn’t always offer a #adventure kind of life. However, God has a plan for you to step into adulthood both during and after college, and you can start that process now. Here are three truths God has taught me about responsibility in my 20s.
Adulting Truth #1: Just Decide
Our generation is paralyzed by options. Never before have people been exposed to so many possible scripts for their lives. While it may not be reality it certainly feels like you could live anywhere, marry anyone, and do anything. How in the world are you supposed to know what is best? Combine that with the good desire to honor God and you have a recipe for decision paralysis.
Let me free you up a little bit. If Jesus is Lord, you’re listening to community, and you’ve come to a crossroads multiple seemingly wise choices, you have the freedom to simply pick one. Whatever the cost or consequences, you can choose and then take responsibility for what happens. That’s what it means to be an adult. If you’re choosing between multiple good options, the Lord is sovereign over the results of your choice. In most crossroads, God cares less about what you choose than who you’re becoming in the process. As long as you’re not choosing sin, just make a choice and keep going. In my early 20s I wanted so badly for God to give me a neon sign and tell me what to do. He never did. Instead, through making a choice and taking responsibility, He made me into a person of character, resolve, and grit who could depend on him no matter what the future held. God gives us the confidence of rooting our security in Jesus, proving His faithfulness and reminding us of His sovereign control. Therefore we have the freedom to decide and trust that He really does have it all rigged.
Adulting Truth #2: Maturity is like money
Maturity in life and maturity in Christ is like investing money in an account with compounding interest. At first, your investments are small and so is the return. You don’t notice much change and the discipline to invest over and over isn’t very satisfying. But eventually compound interest catches up and your money is multiplied. Reading the Bible or praying when I don’t feel much can feel pointless day after day. But, the point isn’t about my feelings, it’s about consistent investment. Every moment invested in the “account” of my relationship with Jesus is going to build interest, value, and eventually pay back in the form of spiritual maturity and depth that simply cannot be found through mountain-top moments a couple times a year. The same goes for fitness, diet, money management, time management, and relationships. Consistency to invest in the important things is what counts. You don’t just wake up mature at graduation, your wedding day, or the birth of your first child. Maturity is the result of consistent investment in 10,000 little moments of choosing what is best.
Adulting Truth #3: You won’t stumble into your desired future
One of the lies it seems our generation believes is that we can delay decisions and responsibility, as if we will simply stumble into adulthood or fall into the future life we deeply want. The dreams you have to make an impact with your life only happen through consistent choices in the same direction.
Here’s a little exercise that’s helped me keep my mind and heart focused on the most important things. Start by imagining a date in the future. It could be your wedding day, the birth of your first child, their graduation from high school, 30th wedding anniversary, or even your own funeral. What people do you want to be there? What would you hope they say about you? How do you want to be seen or remembered? What does your home look like? How many kids do you have? Do they love being home with you when they have families of their own? These questions help to define a vision for your future self. Not just what your life is like in a material sense but the kind of person you are and the impact your life has on others. All of that starts now, in your 20s. Who do you need to become to have the kind of impact you most deeply desire? Identify those traits and then work backward to take baby steps that you can begin this week. Partner with God in this and ask Him who He wants you to be
Remember, your 20s are your defining decade. Don’t wait around until you’re 30 to discover what God has for you. Begin to pursue your calling as an adult in the world. Adulthood has already started and responsibility isn’t a burden but an opportunity to have greater impact and begin investing in the life you want. The life you most deeply want and the impact you don’t realize you could have is waiting on the other side of some big decisions. Make a commitment to pursue what is best, not what feels best. Your choices in your 20s will define the direction you head into your 30s and beyond.
In the coming months, stay tuned for a series of follow up posts with practical advice covering the Big 5 of Adult Life: Health, Money, Family/Friends, Work and Fun.