There are a few discoveries in my 20s that stick out in retrospect. I share them with the 20-somethings who will listen, in those moments of clarity after they hit a brick wall and are ready for another perspective to consider. These discoveries are from my
Late 20s: Ages 25 to 29
I’d been living on my own for nearly two years, and settled into a rhythm. My church at the time was what tethered me to the city I was in because social options were limited. Eventually, the African-American Museum there opened and I had more to do. In the interim I had time to pay attention to the signs.
The 20s are generally inspired by immortality, meaning that we act like we will live forever, with a skewed understanding of what freedom means. We tend to think in terms of “our rights.” If our conversation is not combative, or defensive, or trying to prove a point about who we are, then we think it and mull it over silently. But it is a reality of this decade. I like to say that around age 27 or 28, the light turns on…and we get serious and start planning and making a difference with our lives when we confront mortality. I was 27 when I saw the light — that 30 was not far away…a whole ‘nother decade…older…and it was time to be (or become) responsible.
Physical signs — Start as early as you can with annual physicals. I learned to start monitoring the effects of certain life triggers. Some things started changing when I turned 25, and every 5 years since (just my example). Also, drink more water and watch what you eat… And just a note for those of you who have experiences in prayer and intercession — LEARN NOW ABOUT BODILY INTERCESSION so certain things will not produce a root of fear in your heart.
Financial signs — Make good choices for your name and credit history. Don’t meet your 30s with a lot of avoidable debt. It takes longer to pay a debt off that it does to create debt. Do not co-sign for another’s debt. Do not share bank accounts with another person. Embrace budgeting — it’s a practice that keeps you honest about how you spend. You’re going to want to buy a house or car one day, brand new, and your credit history matters. I share this now because these kinds of thoughts flood the mind one the light turns on.
Emotional signs — Do not give yourself away so in your 20s that you spend your early 30s gathering the used pieces of yourself for reconstruction. Invest in yourself, but do not do it by yourself. Reach for help…I had “guides” in a few areas of my life to help me transition. Soul ties are real, and I warn you not to bind yourself too heavily. Time passes, seasons change, and life happens. Watch where you agree with ideas, doctrines, people and systems. You are snared by the words of your mouth….try developing a true listening ear. Eat a steady diet of 1 Corinthians 13 to temper your emotions and train your soul’s radar.
Spiritual signs — Pray for wisdom. My gracious, please pray for wisdom! What I observe about some of you, my lovely 20-something sisters, is your haste to “figure out what God is doing” apart from God’s Word, focused prayer and consecration. Carnal Christians live cyclical and frustrated lives! Don’t get tricked by the shallow culture that says you can weave your own path to God. There is one way to the Father, and His name is Jesus Christ. Be careful about deciding this or that about God…and deciding against a person or a local church’s counsel. Bitter root judgments are real, and they do not go away when you gain understanding and grow up. If you can study to be quiet, be slow to anger and quick to listen….there will be less cleanup in your 30s.
Professional signs — Please, whatever you do, do not build your career tent in customer service…unless God’s gifted you to succeed there. You always have options, and if a degree plan is not possible…start educating yourself or look into certifications. Remember, every job has its own lesson(s) to teach that have more to do with revealing blemishes in your character than the actual job itself. Learn to be responsible for you. Stop complaining publicly…people are throwing you under the bus with your own actions and words. Be smart. Grow up. Remember it’s not your party, but you are invited to their party. Act right!
Social signs — One thing here: YOU ARE NOT CAMPAIGNING. You do not have to prove you are you! Get this sooner than later, please. Your commitment is to become who God is making you. Get out of your own way. Enemies come with spiritual promotion and process; don’t make your own just because you’re a brawler. Learn your temperament, your love language, and how you relate to people. Then you can add the tools to your arsenal and learn to adjust when necessary.
Do not emphasize your uniqueness at the cost of isolating others. Do it without being cliché or simple. If you still have to defend you, then you’re not there yet. Make peace with your inner storms. Learn to love you…through prayer and investment (not dinners and entertainment only). A clear-headed, focused, driven, energetic, Godly 20-something is beyond impressive…she’s a rarity!
Selah, and love to all.