I racked my brain thinking about how to start this short volume of entries with suggestions for our 20-something sisters to enhance and improve and maintain a Godly standard and quality of life. It is not unusual for The Queen Life to examine a counterexample, so I thought we might start with me.
The Early Years: Ages 19 to 24
My childhood brought me great friends on my street. We went to elementary school together and caught the bus each morning. Some of them could stay out “playing” until well after the street lights came on — not me. Some of them seemed to run their lives at 10, 11, and 12 — definitely not me. Church and God and Bible study were optional at the least and at best, not as intense as I experienced. Not a slight at all — when I grew up, church was absolutely the place to be!
But this group of neighborhood kids…some of them became “worldly” really fast, and they left me behind. Then, they left me out. It was similar in junior high. I was bullied by the Black kids because I did not pretend to hate school (I’m a lifelong learner…”nerd” was a compliment in my family). So, I befriended the White kids — more substance, less drama, and no name calling.
Enter rejection…and my willingness to extend and overextend myself for the approval of and acceptance by others. Yes, others — like, anybody. As a young person, the exile can be a bit much to take. Not just rejection, but insecurity, low esteem, feeling approved or validated by works, depression and tears — lots of tears. I was a chameleon; I learned to change with and for the environment and hide. I learned my “song and dance” and delivered to the people who only responded to my gift but had little interest in getting to know me (note: that part hasn’t changed much on how people demand my gift…but I’m in control now!).
I mention my “early years” and then start further back to show you what I brought into my 20s…and professionally, it looked like
- Attitude (a bad one)
- Entitlement (as in, you owe me)
- “You are responsible for me” instead of Responsibility
- Victim, victim, victim
Socially, it looked like
- Bad choices in friends and men (except one)
- A fish out of water…AWKWARD
Spiritually, it looked like
- Zeal with little knowledge
- Proving — Striving — Works Based
- God loves me when I do this or if I do that (aka legalism)
- Yes, yes, yes (as in I could not say no)
From the ages of 19 to 24, I earned my bachelor’s degree, studied in Japan after graduation, and after a short break moved to Austin and took my first job with the Texas House of Representatives. I got my first apartment — $690 a month for 540 square feet. Horrible deal, I know….it was a matchbox. The only things I really owned were my day bed, computer, TV, small bookshelf and clothes. Everything else was borrowed.
During this time I was forced again and again to confront my convictions. I made it to this place in life by my parents’ values and disciplines. But they were not tested yet for me. I decided in my early 20s what of their values and disciplines to adopt.
Stay in church?
Food choices. How to wash clothes. Where to buy certain items. What traditions to uphold…and so on.
It was the beginning of a rough period of discovery. I share this to break the ice…and to show that we all have a story.
Sometimes we do not realize the value of our lives as God’s “best seller” until we have lived it.
But my 20-something sisters, please know WHILE IN “IT”, that you are living something intended to be great. Don’t jack it up living by your impulses, appetites and desires.
Don’t sacrifice the future you (or the you-in-process) because the process is tough or stressful or lonely or cyclical right now.
Choose to let God be God — that is, the author and finisher of your story. Don’t try to change the plan…embrace God’s will for you. Selah, and soon enough, I’ll tell you about ages 25-29. Now, that was good!
Love to all.