Updated 5:04 P.M., 6/26/13.
Below is a TED Talk by Meg Jay. It’s worth 15 minutes. Watch please. In the proverbial words of TED, whoever he is, there are definitely some ideas here worth spreading. And worth gospelizing about too (that’s not TED who said the gospelizing part, that’s me).
The paralysis of extended adulthood that so many 20-somethings experience is just another symptom of the raging sense of “me” that captains the ship of our highly individualized society. But choosing to neglect your 20s isn’t “cool” or “science” or “in” or “right” or some sort of “natural evolution toward prolonged adolescence.” I believe it’s a ploy. A ploy to put off the question of purpose just a little bit longer. Who wants to be responsible for someone else’s life, or even your own, if you don’t have to?
“30 is the new 20!” cry all the Twixters. “I have plenty of time to ride out the 7 year college plan! What’s the rush? I’ll pay for the loans when my ridiculously-innovative-never-before-heard-of business idea goes global in the first year of operation.” “Don’t worry if he’s a sleeze-bag. I’m not going to marry him! Even if it seems like we already are.” “Who cares what I put in my body? Hand me another Baconator! My metabolism is doing great!” “As long as I got my career moving by 30, it’s all good.”
But neglected amidst all the wasted days spent “having fun” or “finding yourself” is the defining decade of adulthood. Our twenties are too important to be ignored. Not to mention the kingdom of God can’t afford for a generation with so much energy, creativity, perspective, mission, technology, and resources to just mail it in for 10 years. The stakes are too high. The world is too broken. There is still at least one person who does not know Jesus.
And to be honest, Jesus aside, 20-somethings, you can’t afford it either. You can’t afford to take a decade off. If it’s all about you, then let’s talk in terms of you. YOU can’t afford this. Because someday you’ll wake up and say, “Oh snap. I’m 30… And my resume looked better the day I graduated… And all my friends are married and going to T-ball games… And I can’t fit into my jeans… And I have no idea who I am, or what I should be doing, or where I’m going, or most importantly why I’m even here.”
Jay points out in her talk that:
* 80% of life’s most defining moments happens before 35. That means most of the decisions, insights, and experiences that make you who you are land in your 20s.
* The first 10 years of a career have an exponential impact on what you are going to earn the rest of your life.
* Personality changes more in your 20s than any other time in life.
* Female fertility peaks at age 28.
* The brain caps off its second and final growth spurt in your 20s as it rewires itself for full-time adulthood. That means whatever you want to change about yourself, your 20s are the BEST and, perhaps, the easiest time to do it.
To summarize the previous: Your 20s are THE TIME! No, you don’t have to have it all together by 30. But it sure would be nice to at least have it all started. Instead of wasting a decade, do something, not nothing (double negative). The developmental value of your 20s are just too valuable otherwise.
This means saying that the best time to fix my marriage is before I get into it. The best time to establish a good work ethic is before I get my dream job. The best time to get healthy is before I get unhealthy and older. And most importantly, the best time to begin leveraging my influence and power for Jesus is before God stewards me with more than I know what to do with. Or just passes me by, because those unfaithful with little won’t be faithful with much.
None of this means that if you haven’t accomplished your life goals by 30 or if you’re not married, with a nice house, 2.5 kids, and a white picket-fence, you lose. All it means is that 30 shouldn’t be the starting line.
God blesses those who are faithful, daily. In fact, in terms of the Kingdom of God, that is success: DAILY FAITHFULNESS. So wake up tomorrow and decide to focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t, even if it isn’t all that much, and be faithful. The big victories of faith are rarely won by dumb strokes of luck. They’re won by choosing today to be faithful. They’re won by people who choose day after day for weeks, months, sometimes years to RISE AND GRIND in the name of Jesus.
That is your purpose in life. God’s calling for you is what is right in front of you. Today. And never has what is right in front of you been quite so important than when you’re in your 20s.
So don’t flush your 20s down the toilet. Don’t waste the defining decade of your life. They are too important for you AND for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
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