Am I a Grown-up Yet?

Yesterday, I read this article from Relevant Magzine (you should check them out by the way, there’s some good stuff on there), 11 Things to know at 25ish. You can read the whole article here:

The tag line is “What you need to know to be a real adult.” Seeing as I’m twenty-six, I thought it would be interesting to go through the 11 points and compare my view to the author’s. To find out, if you will, whether or not, I’m a real adult.

1. You have time to find a job you love.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. As witnessed by the fact that that is sort of the reason I’m unemployed right now. And I wish I’d known that a few years back when I spent way too many months of my life in a job I hated, working under a management that didn’t respect its employees. I learned a lot from it and ever since then I’ve been much pickier about the jobs I apply to and accept. That said, sometimes that’s a luxury you can’t afford. When I was 19, I needed a job to pay my rent and tuition and buy food. Simply quitting wasn’t an option because I didn’t have anything or anyone to fall back on. I also want to point out that there’s a difference between quitting a job because you truly know it’s not what you want to do with your life and quitting a job because you’re just sort of tired of working.

2. Get out of debt and stay out of debt.

I couldn’t agree with this more. I think most of us have been there to some degree. Just last night Peter and I discussed the appeal of cutting up our credit cards. Unfortunately, in this society, no credit card means you can’t book a flight, buy concert tickets on-line, or open up an account at a video store. So, to a certain extent, they’re a necessary evil. Learn how to be in control of them. The point the author makes about living within your means is a great one. Saving for the lean times is important too though. Just because you might be in a spell of making more money, doesn’t mean you have to spend all that money. I’m glad she stresses tithing too. In all honesty, that can be one of the easiest things to get cut when money’s tight. It can be easy to rationalize why the church doesn’t need your money this month. And it might not – after all, God doesn’t need your money. He’s not up in Heaven counting twenties. But He wants us to trust Him in all aspects of our lives, including our finances. “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 4:6) That’s a promise. Not that He’ll make us fabulously wealthy but that He will honour our trust in Him. This is something I need to keep remembering and learning.

3. Don’t rush dating and marriage.

I do and I don’t agree with this. I think the author is making a point that we shouldn’t be seduced by romance, by the idea of love. And I agree with that. Dating and marriage is not the be all, end all and it shouldn’t be where we find fulfillment. That said, I don’t agree with the whole, “wait and see”, “give it a year” idea that the author has. If you love someone and you want to commit your lives to each other and you’ve prayed about it and have centered your relationship around God’s call in both of your lives (separately, not just as a couple) then go for it. Why wait? There was a time when Peter and I thought we had to have more of our lives figured out before we got married. Let me tell you this: you will never have your life figured out, so you might as well have a really amazing partner to help each other out. Looking back, I think we both would say we could have gotten married sooner. We were 24 when we got married, which some say is young (although around here in our new town, it’s definitely not) but we knew what we were doing. Waiting longer wouldn’t have benefited us at all.

4. Give your best to friends and family.

I agree with this when it comes to almost anything else. Family and friends should be put ahead of everything except two things in my life: God first, my husband second. If I’m not in a good place with the Lord, my marriage will suffer. And I love my family, but the family of Peter and I comes first. Not to the detriment of those around us, but that is what the Bible tells us and, again, our marriage will be stronger for it.

Having recently left so many of our friends, I do see how important this is. Friendships require an investment. Time, phone calls, stamps. Whatever it takes. If you want people to remain in your life, you can’t always assume that’s just going to happen.

5. Get some counselling.

I think if you need counselling, get it. Absolutely. Counselling for the sake of counselling? I’m not so sure. There will definitely be times in just about anyone’s life where you need something more, where talking it out with your spouse or a friend isn’t enough. When that point comes might be different for everybody. I don’t think I believe in “pre-emptive counselling” though. I don’t take cold medicine until I feel sick. That said, I might feel differently about this one in five years.

6. Seek out a mentor.

I benefited and was greatly blessed when I was in high school from one of my youth leaders who took me out once a week for doughnuts, Bible reading, prayer, and just generally someone wiser to talk to. I haven’t had a mentor like that since. I’ve definitely had people around me who are older and more experience and who I look up to and am able to seek guidance from. I think that’s something beautiful about the church. Outside of the church, where would I meet senior citizens, middle-aged parents, young teens? Part of the difficulty of moving to a completely new place is that you lose that extended support network. We’re starting to build it again in our new town but it does take time. I do think any young woman, myself included, would benefit from time spent with a woman a little further along the road than yourself.

7. Be part of a church.

Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times, yes. You will not grow in your faith unless you’re a part of a Christian community. It is essential and it’s the model for Christianity that we are given in the Bible. Whether your church has 20 people or 20, 000, commit to one and get involved. When Peter and I decided to move here, looking for a church was top priority. We knew that that was the best way to grow our community, to meet people, and to grow in our faith. Where we live now is something of a Bible belt, there are a ton of churches. Multiple ones on a street, lots of denominations. We could spend the next year visiting all of them but what benefit would that be? So we visited a few, picked one with solid teaching and friendly people and are now trying to get involved. In my experience, the best way to be involved in a church community is to join a small group and find something you can volunteer for, even if it’s just once a month. If your church doesn’t have small groups or ways you can get involved, it’s time to look for a new church.

8. Find a rhythm for spiritual disciplines.

Again, I agree with this wholeheartedly. I’ve been both really good at this and really bad at various times in my life. Inevitably, when I look back, the times when I’ve been disciplined about praying and reading my Bible, are better times. You’d think I’d learn. I think spiritual discipline is more than something you just decide to do and then get really good at it. Yes, habits are important and it’s much easier to read your Bible everyday if you schedule it into your day. But I do believe that there are spiritual forces working against us and Satan absolutely does not want you to pick up your Bible today. So more than just forming a habit like brushing your habit, pray for the time to pray. Pray for spiritual discipline. Uninterrupted, dedicated time with the Lord is super important but prayer scattered throughout the day is great too. Pray while you wish the dishes, while you go for a run. If you have trouble finding a rhythm for time with the Lord, pray about it! Don’t wait for the rhythm to work out before you start praying.

9. Volunteer.

Do it. This goes along with what I was saying about being a part of a church. It’s the same with being a part of a community, being a part of the human race. Volunteering reminds us that we need each other, that we’re not better than any one else. I think the time to volunteer can be a bit of a luxury though. However, we usually have more time than we think we do, I think we just waste a lot of it. I know I do.

10. Feed yourself and the people you love.

I love food. More recently, I’m learning to love making food for other people. Since we got married, Peter and I have loved having people over. You rarely just invite someone over – you invite them over for dinner, for coffee, for drinks or for dessert. Food is a staple of fellowship. In a new town, it’s been a way to get to know new friends. Early on in our marriage, I had a time of feeling bad that our house wasn’t perfectly decorated, that we had a hodgepodge of furniture, most of which we got for free. I feel that way sometimes still. But I have to the decision that I’d rather have a home where people feel welcome and comfortable, than a home that would win a decorating award. Maybe one day I’ll have both but while we still live in a little suite and have free furniture, I’ll focus on the welcoming bit.

11. Don’t get stuck.

I think the article says it all on this one. Keep challenging yourself. Do it now.

The snow is almost gone. This picture is from a few days ago, Peter and I out shovelling the driveway. Now it’s mostly slush out there and the rain is supposed to keep falling all week. I’m okay with that. It was fun for a while but I can handle the rain a lot better than I know how to handle the snow!

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