By Jamie Boyd, Resonate Pullman
I turned 30 this year and as my birthday approached, a lot of people asked me, “Are you sad your twenties are over? Do you feel like you have any regrets?” At first the questions caught me off guard, but I realized that my answer was No: l wouldn’t change a thing about how I spent my twenties.
When I was twenty and far from God, I never would have imagined that He would use my life to influence people I had never met in a part of the country I had never visited. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that he would use that influence to help plant churches and reach thousands of people on college campuses across the Northwest.
My twenties were marked by saying yes. First I said yes to God, giving him full control of my life. I moved to the Northwest, to a town I had never heard of, to join Resonate staff. I spent six summers in San Diego. I went on countless road-trips and boarded more flights than I can count. I made tons of memories and posted the prettiest, best ones on Instagram. But more than all of those things, I made a decision to become a disciple who makes disciples; an entire decade, dedicated to making disciples. I made a million mistakes but I kept coming back to two simple but hard choices that have had compounding effects in my life.
1. Choose to grow in vulnerability.
I found myself skipping this more often than I’d like to admit. It’s so much easier to run to people for instant gratification/feedback/results instead of going first to God in prayer & his Word about your insecurities, doubts, and fears. But the same God who formed your inmost being, who knit you together in your mother’s womb, and numbered every day you would ever live (Psalm 139:13,16), invites you to draw near to him with your insecurities, doubts, and fears. In the drawing near to Him, he draws near to you (James 4:8) and will anchor you in what is absolute truth instead of fleeting fears and feelings.
Over the last eight years, my deepest Gospel friendships have been forged through being on mission and confessing sin. James 5:16 says to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” To take a risk and share the deepest insecurities, lies, fears, and sins with a brother or sister in Christ and have them say “I see you and love you, let’s figure it out together” is one of the most freeing experiences.
Vulnerability and confession point to our deeper need for Christ and our inability to be self-sufficient.
I have learned more from the leaders in my life that have been vulnerable and real with me than the ones who tried to maintain a perfect image. Their vulnerability and confession gave me the courage to be real and confess with my friends, my leaders, and the women I have led. Invite those around you deeper into what your fears, doubts, questions, and struggles. Admit your sin and confess it. Try it and watch assurance of your identity in Christ grow as you become more vulnerable with the people God has placed in your life. And - spoiler alert- the people in your life will start to be more vulnerable and real too.
2. Choose to pursue relationships.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 says: “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
None of us happen to fall into a deep relationship with Jesus without intentionality and pursuit. You can choose to become a person who instills disciplines in your life that will lead you a deep, rich relationship with Jesus.
Even when you don’t feel like it, choose to read the Bible. Every time you do, you are inviting God to teach, correct, and train you for every good work he has planned for you (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Choose to pray. Choose to engage other spiritual disciplines like fasting, silence, and solitude. We become more like Jesus by spending time with Him.
If we’re honest, most of us sit at home on our phones browsing Instagram wishing someone would invite us to something. We’d jump at the opportunity to say yes, if only someone would invite us.
What if you were the kind of person who pursued and invited others? Wouldn’t that solve some of the loneliness and isolation we’re all prone to feel? What if you initiated relationships with others in your life every time you felt that longing for someone to see you and invite you?
As Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4, “...in humility, count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”
Instead of waiting for someone to pursue you, start living toward other people the way you wish someone would live toward you. As the most connected, isolated generation, pursuit is the gateway to the Gospel and to depth in discipling relationships.
If you choose to embrace these two habits over and over, God will use your life and your influence for unimaginable things in his Kingdom.
You can do anything with your twenties, but my hope is that in the middle of all the fun and experiences, you choose to invest in the one thing that will count forever: becoming a disciple who make disciples. I promise you it will be the fullest and most joyful decade of your life, because this is what you were made for (Matthew 28:18-20).