People used to say your twenties were your golden years.
At least in the way they mean it. Unless they mean “Your twenties are your golden years---as in, like the color gold---as in a shade of the color yellow---as in the color you hate the most.” Then, yes, my twenties are my “golden” years.
But I don’t think that’s what they meant.
I am a solid four years into my twenties & I can tell you that they have for sure been anything but “golden”. Actually, they’ve been riddled with confusion, struggle, displacement, and, well, riddles! We’re left to figure this “adult” thing out with like zero consistent guidance. Everyone has a different idea of what we should be doing.
“Start a savings account. It's never too early to save.” Vs. “Don’t start a savings account, you’re twenties were meant for traveling! You can save later”. “
“Get your degree. It’ll always come in handy & you’ll be a better person for it. Wait. You don’t have a degree yet & you’re in your twenties?! You’re way behind…” Vs. “Don’t go to college until you know for certain what you want to do with your life. Otherwise, it’s a massive waste of money and time.”
“Date & stay single for as long as you can!” vs. “Don’t date at all. Wait until you’re ready to be married & then make that happen---quickly!”
“Don’t just work to make money---pursue your passion! Follow your dreams.” Vs. “Doing what you don’t want to do, to get you to where you want to be is called WORK. It’s necessary to becoming who you were meant to be. Passion will come as you’re in motion.”
It’s a lot to sort through.
Especially when you’re surrounded with people who are on the exact same track as you---lost with 100 different directions they could go. We all want to know what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. Especially as Christ followers, we’ve managed to over-complicate “God’s will” for our lives. We want confirmation that we are on the right path.
But the truth is, I don’t think we’ll ever really get it. `
There are few times in life that we will be absolutely, undoubtedly certain that we are doing what God has asked us to---at least not in a “day-to-day” task sort of way. We are really only called to three things: love God (Mark 12:30); love people (Mark 12:31); make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Nowhere in the Bible is it communicated that we are called to very specific jobs, titles, tasks, or careers---ever. Our only purpose in this life is to love God & make His name famous in whatever way possible.
Yet, here we are, creating problems where problems didn't exist.
We’ve stressed ourselves out & caused confusion in a situation that is actually supposed to be extremely freeing! God only asks that we give our lives---our entire lives & all that is included in it---to Him. He wants our relationships, jobs, dreams, goals, heart, soul, & thoughts to honor Him. Can I honor the Lord with my writing? Yes, you better believe I can. What about your relationship with your boyfriend? How do you know you’re supposed to be in relationship with him? Answer these simple questions for me: Are you both loving God & living according to His word? Are you both ready to invite someone else on your journey? Are you willing to start serving, encouraging, loving, & sacrificing for that person? If you answered, “yes” to all of the above, then, you guessed it! ---You can honor God in your relationship with your boyfriend too. Can you honor him with your time as a pre-school teacher? Yep. How about as a barista? Mmmhm. Volunteer? Duh. Insert any topic of life, any business, profession, or relationship, & the answer is likely to be “yes”.
Most often, God wont give us a loud “yes” or “no”. He gave us choice in life with the commandment to honor Him in our words & actions (Colossians 3:17). So when we stress ourselves out by asking, “Does God want me to do this or that or be with him or her?” we miss the main objective. We miss the freedom we have in His presence & in right relationship with Him to commit all we do to Him. We miss the fact that God can use us in whatever we are doing in life & He most certainly can be glorified in any relationship.
He’s not so much concerned with what we’re doing as He is with who we’re loving. He’s concerned with if we’re loving Him.
You see, He loves us. Like, in the most ridiculous, reckless, doesn’t-make-any-sense kind of way. He delights in who we are right now as well as whom we are becoming (Zephaniah 3:17---& like the entire rest of the Bible). Ultimately, He delights in us delighting in Him. He loves to see us overflowing with joy---and He loves it when we’re having fun. Yeah, I know---it’s a radical thought, to think that God actually wants us to have fun in life. But it’s true! Go read Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 real quick. See? He loves to give good gifts that bring pleasure to our lives. He loves friendship with you---all the laughs & celebrations that are to be had---He wants you to enjoy those moments too.
Too often we peg God as a God who is only there for us when things go bad or when we’re struggling, when we need “direction” or “answers”. The problem with that is it leaves us only seeking Him when we are in need of rescue. That’s not the extent of the relationship God wants with us. He wants so much more----from us & for us.
So let's take a step back and take a deep breath. Let's remember that we actually cannot get it wrong in life as long as we are committed to loving God and loving those around us while doing what we can to make His name famous. We can’t fail. At the most basic (and most complicated) level, He has already done all the work that needs to be done. In life. Ever (Colossians 2:10-20). All our efforts to figure out what we should & shouldn’t be doing is in vain.
No matter what moment in time you find yourself sitting in, whether it is filled with struggle or ease, keep your focus straight. Love God. Love people. Shout His name in everything you do. I promise, your hair will stop falling out & your skin will start to glow again. Even better, your life will start to feel purposed for greatness & deeply fulfilled—because when you learn to have fun with God along the way, it is.
Alexa | Joy
For a more in depth dialogue about God’s delight in you, see John Piper’s article “Why God Tells Us He Delights in His Children”.