Thursday, May 29, 2014

being a twenty-something in a Godless society

It's been so very long since I've blogged (or at least it feels that way) that I hardly know where to begin. A lot has changed, is still changing, and will continue changing for a long time. There are many thoughts that have welled up in me, many things heavy on my heart that continue to hold me strongly, and many words stuck just inside my mouth (or in this case, fingertips) that I can't seem to articulate. There is much inside of me, and very little of it that I comprehend. And even less that I can express.
Let me start with my worry. Well, not worry necessarily... maybe more of a concern? Or a recurring thought? Or just something I'm consistently considering. Whatever it may be classified as, here it is:

I look so different from this world.

As I should. I'm ok with looking different from the world, I enjoy looking different from the world, but it makes this specific time of life exceedingly difficult. As an early twenty-something, I'm deciding who I'll be as an adult. Deciding my specific convictions and goals and expectations and what is worth fighting for and what I'm willing to give up and how much of myself I will spend and how I will react and all those sorts of deep emotional/psychological adult-y things.

It seems to me that this age is a time to look to others for wisdom and advice. To say, "Hey, would you mind sending me that list of personal boundaries you made? I'm trying to make one for myself and I'd like some guideline ideas" to your parents or old mentor. It's a time to read articles and peruse books and ponder and make lists and decide things.

This is where I find the problem. Though I have God's Word, sometimes it's hard for me to accurately and directly apply that to my life. His Word, in its perfection, is too literal but too metaphorical, too mysterious but too straightforward, and too complicated but too simple for me to wrap my human brain around well. My next best option is human advice, and, as you may already see, there is a limited amount of relevant, Godly human advice for twenty-somethings hanging around.

There is all sorts of advice hanging around. It's just based on worldly standards.
The advice for twenty-somethings that I find all over BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, and the like tends to sound good (and often witty to boot!) but look totally opposite than my life as a Christ-follower seeks to be.
Some of them are funny, like this one, but are rooted in some less-than-stellar ways of living life. Some, like this Thought Catalog article, boast (unknowingly) skewed views of morality and love, among other things.

Today I spent the better part of my afternoon reading through one couple's experiment of learning more about themselves by dating each other for a mandatory forty-day period. They nicknamed it 40DoD (Forty Days of Dating) and posted it all on their own website, complete with hand-drawn illustrations of words used and videos of moments together. They became transparent with the entirety of humanity and posted their experimental relationship (daily journal entries from both of them compared side by side) on the internet for all to peruse and learn from.

After reading every word of their blog for hours on end, and realizing how much advice I had inside my head for them (especially towards the end... I won't tell you how it ends because I fully believe you should waste a few hours reading it for yourself), I realized the futility of these types of 'we hope our experience serves as wisdom for you' articles.

The attempt is a noble one, but let me get one thing straight: what we lack in this world is God. What couples and articles and books often miss is that until we are filled with and compelled by His love, all our "wisdom" and experiences and hopefulness in the world is naught.
Until the things we say and do and share are grounded in Christ and His truth they are of no use.

So here I am: the twenty-something reading all the books and looking up all the articles and asking all the older friends and realizing I can count on one hand the number of adults (discounting family members) who I can go to for Godly, truthful advice. And I was raised in church and live in the Bible belt. How much more so do the other twenty-somethings in this world lack that Godly love and wisdom they need to live a fulfilling, purposeful life!

Anyway, my point is that I feel like with all the information out there at my fingertips that could help me in my stage of deciding my specific convictions and goals and expectations and what is worth fighting for and what I'm willing to give up and how much of myself I will spend and how I will react and all those sorts of deep emotional/psychological adult-y things and all that, I still am lost. I've found a lot of Godless information and a minuscule amount of Godly advice. I don't know what it should look like to be a Godly, but relevant, adult.

I don't know what my boundaries as a Christian twenty-something should be, because all I hear are the boundaries (or lack thereof) and expectations and goals that non-Christians my age have. I know mine should be different but I don't know how different and radical they should be, or can be, without becoming something irrelevant to those around me whom I'm trying to shine Christ to.
I guess the problem arises in that we all have different goals, convictions, and experiences. Each of our relationships with Christ and the world look vastly different from one another.

My goal is not at all to push my beliefs on others, but to share with them the Love that has radically changed my life. However, I believe part of sharing that Love means being a light for the ones who will someday be in my position, who in eight years will be doggy paddling through life trying to figure out where they belong in relation to the rest of the world's sense of normalcy.
Because of this, it's my hope over the summer to share these thoughts and convictions and decisions as I come upon them. I plan to be transparent (as per usual) and give too much information (as is also usual), and throw my heart out there in hopes that someday they'll be useful, or at least thought-provoking to someone in a similar position.

My heart goes out to you, fellow twenty-somethings, as we trudge along trying to decide what kind of adults we're going to be. "Seek Ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

welcome to midnight.

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