What I’m still learning in my 20s

At 28, the only thing I’m sure about is that I’ve stopped growing — in inches that is. As I reflect upon my near three decades on this earth, I’ve realized I’ve forgotten a lot, learned a little, and am still discovering even more.

In a culture where our 20s have become the be-all-end-all decade of our lives, we’ve become more obsessed with being there than getting there. And while I may have plateaued at 5’10 in kindergarten, God’s not done with me yet.

Here are 10 lessons I’m still learning in my 20s.

1. Who God is

For too long I’ve confined God to a small box constructed with walls of Sunday school answers. I’m finding that discovering God is like searching for eggs at an Easter egg hunt — He is available to me, I just have to take the time to look everywhere and in everything to find Him.

2. There’s more to life than my 9-5

When I’m asked to finish the sentence “I am a _____” I don’t fill in the blank with my job title. While the world tells me I’m defined by my career, I’m learning there’s so much more to my life than where I am and what I am doing during the hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. I am a writer. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a photographer. I am a Bible study leader. I am a sunset chaser. I am a wannabe comedian. I am a child of God.

3. How to say “no”

My life is like going to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I blink once and my plate, now a skyscraper of egg rolls, is attempting to reach the heights of poor, demoted Pluto. Inevitably, I’m sick to my stomach from attempting to balance it all and swear I’ll never take on another ministry role, enroll in another graduate class, or ask for a promotion ever again. Then an hour later I forget about it all and eat another egg roll. For my own sanity and efficacy, I’m working on breaking my “yes” gluttony, and learning how to prayerfully discern what should go on my plate.

4. If now, so then

I am a master of making cereal for dinner and forgetting to read my Bible every day. But I’ve been learning that I need to work on developing healthy patterns and spiritual habits today, so that they will carry over into my future.

5. This world will one day be restored

Broken marriages. Sick children. Tragic deaths. Financial woes. Political unrest. From a conversation with a close friend to five minutes of a news channel, the troubles of this world are heavy and many. But I’ve been learning to not only cling to the hope that God will pick up the pieces of our broken world, but he’ll also restore it to an Eden-like reality.

6. Have a teachable spirit

Humble pie tastes a lot like vegetables, and I’m a carnivore. I don’t like to admit that I’m wrong or have to readjust my thinking, but I’m working on being open to reproach, teaching, and wisdom when God is trying to mold me.

7. Be in the world but boldly not of the world

My face may not radiantly shine after being in God’s presence like Moses, but my life as a Christian makes me the clear winner of “which one of these is not like the other” in most venues. While my choices, actions, words, and Sunday morning location sometimes make me feel like the last kid waiting to be picked for kickball, I’m learning to become emboldened by Christ’s transformative power, instead of covering up my obvious differences with a veil.

8. My faith is my own responsibility

I can blame the worship band for singing the same three songs every Sunday, or the minister for giving me milk when I’m ready for meat, but it’s not a church’s job to walk with Christ for me. If I’m not being fed to the full, I need to get cooking.

9. The importance of rest

I’m pretty sure when God rested on the seventh day it wasn’t because He was physically tired — He set apart the seventh day and made it holy because rest is a beautiful thing. And we all need it. In this culture of constant stimulation, I’m learning to make time to be still and know that God is God, and let Him refresh my soul.

10. God’s not done with me yet

God’s daily workout plan for me: 1) Pick up my own cross 2) Repeat. For as long as He has me here on this earth, I’ll always be His work in progress.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Navy Blue Stripes.