A couple of years ago, a friend of mine told me that the conferences and camps we had been part of as teenagers and young adults had done us a disservice. They had built up this idea that we could choose to be better than, greater than our parents and the generations before us. We could choose NOW to give our lives for Christ instead of waiting until we were married or had kids or were older. So many of us did.
Between the hundreds of opportunities for service over the summer and the rallies that we attended, you’d think that there would have been an overwhelming surge of Gospel-driven twenty-something’s.
And there is. And there isn’t.
When my friend wrote those words to me, they were from a place of dissatisfaction with the church and the lack of place for our young, passionate hearts. They were pretty spot on.
There’s a whole generation that’s been raised to believe that we only have today. YOLO, right? Either you’re building the Kingdom or you’re tearing it down. No one mentioned that building the Kingdom can look a lot like taking care of 3 kids, day in and day out. Or getting up and going to the same job each day because that’s where the real training begins. No one said that the day-to-day activities still had to go on, that you still need to survive in this world, that you probably won’t get your dream job right off the bat.
Our generation, like the ones before us, were supposed to be better. We were supposed to do things the right way the first time.
Instead, my college graduating class and the years following had the worst time finding jobs in our field in recent history. That includes my husband and many of our friends. We’re honestly just trying to make it most days. Forget passions. Forget dreams. We’re working with average salary, plenty of debt despite our best efforts to avoid it, and daily life that just wears away from that thing we thought we had to live for: passion.
I want to say that I get it. That many in the generation before us didn’t have the inclination to follow their dreams. Or they were told that their dreams were bad and didn’t fit in. Maybe they were told that their dreams should take the backburner for a while. So they held on tenaciously to them because no one else believed in them?
The major difference seems to be just that. We have everyone telling us that our dreams are good and right and honorable, so obviously we should just go for them. Jump in. Take a risk. The time is NOW. YOLO.
But there’s this idea that we really only talk about around Christmas: the fullness of time.
Before something great can happen, if God is in it, all of the pieces must be lined up first. Every. Single. One. In the waiting and the hemming and the hawing, we can forget that. Before our passions can come to fruition, there must be a seed planted. There must be a daily watering, a constant care, before the seedling sprouts.
I’m afraid that, in our desire to make God great, we have forgotten that He first has to plant us. A seed is buried. A seed can’t see what’s happening in the dark, only that it’s very, very dark. It keeps growing, though no one can see it sprout. And even when it has sprouted, it takes a while to determine exactly how tall the plant will reach or what kind of plant it even is. Fruit comes much later.
The whole earth echoes with this theme. While we are to number our days and use them intentionally, God alone knows when and how our passions and dreams will show fruit. It takes time for a seed to become a fruit-bearing tree. It takes even more time for a newborn to become an adult. Our spiritual lives aren’t any different.
So. If you’re a millennial looking for affirmation or confirmation for your dreams, keep growing. Keep dreaming. Just. Keep. On. And if you know a millennial who struggles, encourage them. Life them up. Pray for them. We don’t need platitudes; we need people who will be Jesus to us. And us young wives and moms need older women who will come alongside us and mentor us.
Seriously. Like, for real. Mentor us. Please. We need to know how to do this day-in and day-out life without ceremonies and education goals. We need to know how to keep a sure and steady pace in the marathon of life. We’ve been sprinting, and now we’ve hit this wall. It’s so easy to give up and become discouraged. We need you.