I live half my life with millennials, so I’m always hearing how hard adulting is, and “I can’t adult today”. Of course I also get a front row seat to watch people grow up and learn to “adult” whether they like it or not (English major alert: I’m finding it super hard to use adult as a verb, even when I’m speaking I mentally add the quotes. I’m going to try to relax, but…)
My job allows me to be a sort of midwife/doula as college students move from freshmen to seniors, then graduate and learn to take responsibility in their lives and relationships. The internet is awash with resources for “adulting” in life and business and (to a lesser extent) relationships, but I’ve been thinking of ways we grow up in our spiritual lives.
How to Adult (in your spiritual life)
Take responsibility for what you know and what you think. Go to church to be reminded of truth, but not to be told what to think. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Don’t let Sunday be the highlight of your relationship with God. Live out what you believe in your day to day life. If the Bible is important to you read it, on your own. Study, read, pray, learn not because anyone is making you, or because your youth pastor or Bible study leader will give you imaginary gold stars.
Live a real spiritual life, not a cultivated one. Let what you share about your faith verbally or on social media be a small glimpse of your hidden life with God, not a carefully presented magnification of what’s really there. Be honest, online and in real life. Let your roots grow wider than your branches.
Don’t let asking God for things be the majority of your conversation with Him. Share your concerns, worries, and fears, and your joys and thankfulness. Welcome God into your daily life by talking to Him.
Let God be your center of gravity. If your life is a solar system, what is the sun? We can’t live and function in maturity if our own needs, wants, and agenda (or pleasing others) is the weightiest thing in our world. Do you expect people and circumstances to revolve around you? Or are you submitted to God’s will and ways?
Be a person of character. Lead with your actions, and live consistently with your values, your moral code. Be open to correction.
Leave things better than you found them. Wherever you have influence, let it be an influence for the good and flourishing of the community. A rising tide raises all boats – when you find yourself moving up, bring others with you.
Be more committed to learning and growing than to proving that you are right and others are wrong.
Learn to listen as well as to talk, to God and others.
Cultivate a growth mindset. Give yourself freedom to learn and grow, rather than beating yourself up for not being where you think you should be. Trust the process, trust yourself, trust God to finish the work He began in you.
Let go of the need to prove yourself, and accept that you are loved by God, as you are, right now. And that is enough. Enter the world knowing God is your protector and defender, not as if you have to protect and defend Him.
Meet and befriend people who believe or practice faith and religion differently from you. Be secure enough to learn from and appreciate differences rather than be threatened by them. Don’t live in an ideological bubble.
Respond to hurt and pain in your own and others’ lives by praying and looking for God’s goodness, not by rescuing, fixing, or trying to save them.