Imagine a big flashing road sign that reads: “Welcome to Adulthood.”
You have officially made it into the real world. Give yourself a pat on the back, you superstar, you! Perhaps you’ve landed yourself a big boy (or girl) job, moved out of your parent’s crib, purchased a new set of wheels and are riding smoothly down the highway of post-grad-dom. Or, maybe post-grad-dom looks more like a torn up dirt road. You find yourself still clunking around in the family mini-van, longing to move out of your childhood bedroom and spending most days searching for jobs online, praying you get called in for an interview.
Would you hate me if I told you that I am fortunate enough to belong to the society of smooth cruising highway drivers? Well then, you might like me better if I told you that the highway isn’t all it’s cut out to be either. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my job, my apartment and my little used car; but regardless of the road we’re on, we all can get tired of s’driving (or striving).
Everyone’s post-graduation route is a little different. We all navigate and travel through life at different speeds, we take different turns and end up in different places. The thing is though, as we journey into adulthood, we realize that we’re all traveling, transitioning, becoming.
Hi there. My name is Sam. I graduated from college in 2015 with my BA in Communications. I am currently employed at a counseling clinic in suburban Minneapolis, and soon to begin working on my Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy next month in the Twin Cities.
This morning, I was writing a letter to God. In it, I was asking God a couple questions that I’ve been pondering recently. It seems like lately all I’ve been doing is working and finding new things to involve myself in – strategically attempting to plan and position my present self to become a certain type of success. With a tired heart, I wrote this:
“I don’t want a life to of-dos and to-bes. Why do I need to become more, when you say that I already am enough? But yet, I can’t just be and never become or I’d soon find myself to be stagnant, stale and lukewarm. What’s the balance here, Lord?”
The weight of to-do’s and to-be’s weigh heavy on us all, and it seems to feel especially heavy over here in new post-grad adulthood. Fresh to the realities of being an official grown up, there seems to be a looming pressure to prove our worth – to our classmates, our parents, our coworkers. It’s as if a small voice inside of us is trying to say to the world, “I promise I’m a worthwhile addition to the adult population. Please don’t kick me out.” So we strive. We push ourselves to do and to become.
But what happens when doing and becoming wears you out? What happens when you’ve done all you can do and still aren’t who you hoped you’d be? It won’t be long until you find that you’ve filled your schedule so tightly with doing that you don’t like who you’re becoming– anxious, obsessed, prideful and insecure.
There is, however, a way to become without getting overwhelmed in doing.
Trust your doing to the One-Who-Does-It-All. Trust that God is making you.
Be (with God) and you’ll become.
Here’s the thing I’m learning: God created us as we are. The Lord created us to be. God also created us to become. He has lovingly and purposefully placed specific traits and attributes inside of you that this world needs more of. If you let God, the Creator will use and cultivate growth in the traits that have been given you without the need for any personal worried strides toward growth or success.
And maybe success won’t end up looking like you want it to look like. Maybe success looks average.
The other day while working at the clinic, I did nothing remarkable. I answered phones and chatted with coworkers, but God was using me. The phone rang that afternoon, and I answered. On the other line was a woman seeking counseling for past bouts of homelessness, abuse, gang rape, addiction, job loss and recent divorce. She talked to me on the phone, explaining parts of her story in unwarranted detail. And after I had gotten her set up for an appointment she said, “You sound like an old friend.” She went on to tell me how my voice was similar to that of an old best friend she once had and that because of this, she’d felt especially comfortable speaking with me.
During that call, God used my compassionate heart to sympathize with and provide comfort for this woman. And also, silly enough, God used my voice to put her at ease in that hard phone call she was courageous enough to make.
And you know what? I didn’t try to be or try to do anything. God had given me those traits and attributes. But, that phone call is changing me. That phone call and many other situations I find myself in daily are changing me. I am growing and maturing and becoming without even touching my to-do list. I am becoming by simply being who he has already made me to be.
And so are you.
I’m still unpacking what all of this means, still trying to listen to God’s voice as clarity comes to my busy mind. But I think there’s freedom in knowing that who you are is enough, to let go of the need to self-improve and to allow God work.
So, whether we’re headed down the highway or the dirt road, s’driving is one last thing we needn’t worry about doing. Hand over the wheel to what God’s doing and enjoy the ride as we continue to journey through this crazy new territory called Adulthood.