I’m currently in Brisbane, resting, recuperating and hanging out with friends. There’s probably coffee involved. Anyway, this week my friends are taking over the blog. Damien’s up first.
Becoming an adult is a massively influential period of our lives. It’s a period of figuring out who we are, what we want to devote our lives to and, often, a time where we face these questions alone and without very clear answers. Our passage from being a teenager to being a young adult literally sorts the men from the boys. How can we make the most of that time?
In this blog post I’m going to go through some lessons that I’ve found invaluable, and wish someone had told me – markers and wisdom for the road if you like.
First things first, I’m a Christian, so these come very much from that perspective. There you go, fair warning.
#1: It’s going to be hard.
I think Jesus’ teaching about picking up our cross (Luke 9:23) can apply here. Luckily enough for most of us he wasn’t being literal! He was using a metaphor to say that: living for Jesus is tough. To expect anything else is child’s play. The transition into young adulthood is difficult too. Boromir might have said, “one does not simply walk into adulthood.”
#2: Friendship is important.
The world of self-help has a lot of silly clichés. And a few good ones too. I like, ‘no one has it altogether, but all together we have it’. Read that again. Take it in. It’s true. We don’t have to be alone when stepping into adulthood. Get good friends and be one too.
#3: I find out who I am in Jesus.
When you finish education suddenly the goal posts get moved, what was fixed down gets shifted and we find ourselves in a new post-education universe. The question ‘who am I in this new world?’ almost always comes up. It did for me at least. My conviction and experience is that Jesus is the surest grounding for our identity – as loved children of God (1 John 4:1) with value (Genesis 1:27), purpose (Matthew 28:19-20) and destiny (Revelation 21:1-5). We need to know who we are, and Jesus gives good answers there.
#4: Express yourself.
Once we know who we are, which is half the battle really, the struggle shifts from being about knowing who we are to expressing who we are. Do you know who you are? Do you know how you can express that? For me it’s in creativity (especially writing), it’s in my relationships and it’s in loving and enjoying God. What is it for you?
#5: Give more than you take.
We live in a world where nothing stands still long. Friendships, relationships, jobs, hobbies, diets, where we live… What isn’t transient these days? If we’re not careful we can slide into living in a way that takes more than it gives. Jesus flips that on its head: “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). He calls us to be proactive, not reactive, in creating the kind of world we want to live in today and to start now. As young adults we need to ask ourselves, ‘what will I give my life to?’ Do you have something worth dying for?
#6: Keep on keeping on.
All this stuff I’ve been saying about, it makes a difference… but Rome wasn’t built in a day, or a week. In fact, do you know how long it took to build Rome? In fact it took 500 years (from 750BC to 250BC) to become the great city it became. 500 years! Get the point? Practicing these things makes a difference, a big one, but it takes time too. Keep on keeping on. Stick it out.
#7: Begin with the end in mind.
I mentioned earlier we have a destiny. Stephen Covey wrote the wildly successful book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You can probably guess from the title what it’s about. Habit 2 is ‘begin with the end in mind’. So what is our end? I like how CS Lewis put it at the end of his last Narnia book:
“This is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they all live happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
What a great end!
When you really think about it, what kind of young adult do you want to become? Will you be a person who gives themselves to others and lets others in? Will you be a person who truly knows who they are? Will you devote yourself to something worth giving your life to? Will you be someone who sticks it out to the very end?
I hope you will be. I certainly intend to be. Good luck. Go well!
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