I’ve recently concluded two things:
- I think I’m technically a grown-up now
- I don’t think growing up is quite all it’s cracked up to be
I once viewed adulthood as this sort of magical state of being wherein one had all sorts of limitless possibilities (like deciding for oneself what to eat or which activities to do in a day) with very few worries (certainly all frustration for multiplication or algebra was long past; thus leaving, so it seemed, only a permanent and varying degree of worry about those “bills”, but a job takes care of those efficiently enough). There would be some sort of “arrival ceremony” to define the transition out of childhood and into adulthood. After all the waiting of childhood, I would have finally reached “it.”
But, to start with, the transition was rather fuzzy. No angel heralds or even a certificate of achievement. Instead, I just kinda got here, and I’m still not sure at what point “here” became “here” rather than “there.” Was it high school or college graduation? Earning a driver’s license? First job? First international trip? First income tax payment?
Adulthood seems so, well, ordinary. Kinda disillusioning. But what’s missing?
I read an article last week in which the author referred to “undefined yearnings” and “a vague sense of discontent.” I like that phrase “undefined yearnings” because I think it is so accurate. I don’t really know what else I want; after all, I enjoy what I do, and have even had experiences I never dreamed would actually happen to me (like visiting Machu Picchu, for example). It just seems like that with all the outward signs of growing up (owning a car, paying taxes) there is something missing on a deeper level.
And I’m finally figuring out that what may I may have overlooked are the several inner changes that need to take place as well. The change from knowing about Jesus through the Sunday school flannel graphs to knowing Jesus Himself, in a deeper, more personal way. The change to discover Jesus as a real companion through life’s journey. The change of receiving approval from Him, and not by jumping through the hoops of the world’s “rites of passage.”
I have a long way to go! But slowly I’ve begun taking these undefined yearnings back to the Lord, asking Him to define and then fulfill whatever those yearnings are. If it includes outward changes, so be it, but those are secondary. I want to find contentedness in life as it is, instead of striving to make it what I thought it should be. I want to know Christ, rather than spend my life chasing ever-changing fancies. To recognize the beauty of His world, the adventure of a God-ordained journey, and the intimacy of fellowship with the best Friend I can ever have.
Maybe this growing up thing really is going to work out… just a little differently than expected, that’s all.