“Some say life will beat you down, take your heart, steal your crown”
I just got a note from my younger self.
It’s 4:30 am. 1 year old molars (and apparently the horrible pain they cause) woke me up. My busy brain took it from there and here I am.
Like most people, my “wake up in the middle of the night self” always seems to have a different take on life. Sometimes it’s unhealthy (worry, regret, and all that), but sometimes these nocturnal thoughts offer moments of clarity.
As we do in the 21st century, I grabbed my phone. Because of an old quote I was looking up, my old blog from ten years ago was on the screen. I started flipping through the posts, ready to cringe at the ramblings of a 22 year old who had it all figured out.
But I was surprised. What I found in the long series of short posts was clarity, conviction, joy, honesty, and even- dare I say it- some wisdom. What came through the writing was the still-forming convictions about the things that I wanted my life to be about and how I might do it- and a lot of it was actually good stuff. The glory and centrality of the gospel. The great daily battle for faith in grace that must take place to save your soul. Using your unique strengths to live out of your deepest self.
I was transported to a different time, and more importantly- a different me. No mortgage, no marriage, no kids. I couldn’t tell you what a W2 or a 401k was. There was time to think (and write apparently). I had friends. The world was new.
I look back on my twenty year old self and there are things that I long for- in some ways there’s a me that I long for.
What do you do with that?
Of course there’s a few tried and true paths.
There’s the time machine route that’s just a divorce and a convertible away from being back in the glory days.
There’s the jaded, hardened route that chocks up the dreams and views of youth as a starry-eyed, passing naivete- and then closes the heart to its deepest longings for the rest of its life.
These paths are as well-worn as they are destructive. (Doesn’t the devil know how to bait a hook?) Both start with the easy way… and end in death.
What if there was another way to find yourself while navigating a new season of life. A way that looked hard right off the bat but resulted in life for you and those around you?
Call it intentional adaptation. Adapting because there are new realities- some of them good and some of them hard- and these realities, no matter how they got there, are not an accident. Your work. Your spouse. Your kids. Your mortgage. You didn’t somehow manage to achieve these things outside of God’s sovereignty.
God’s hand in your life has led you to here. For a reason. So while we’re adapting why don’t we be intentional.
Molars. Dance Recitals. Mortgage. Some things aren’t going anywhere. If, like me, you have three kids under 4 living in a shut-down COVID-19 world many things aren’t going anywhere.
But what can move? The things you read (or don’t read). The schedule, rhythms, and routines you create (once the kids are atleast one- let’s be real).
We could go on and talk about your house, your job, your location, your church and how these all have room to change if they need to… But maybe let’s just start with the media you’re taking in and the schedule and activities you choose in those moments where there is a choice (whether you’ve forgotten there is or not).
Yes, my 22-year-old self was a reflection of the unique experiences I was having (friends, freedom, and all of that) but much of that (the books I was reading, the sermons I was listening to, the activities that I would do) is still available to me. Yes in smaller doses, but maybe the plant doesn’t need as much water once its roots have grown deeper in the soil.
If you’re married with kids, the reality is that right now is a more important time than your 20s- not less. Now is not the time to forget those good dreams I had for my life.
Now is the time to make them happen in reality.