"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
“The trouble is you think you have time.”
"How did it get so late so soon?"
- Dr. Seuss
I remember being 18, not really having a clue what I wanted, or where God was leading me. People said you're young; you’ve got time to figure it out.
By twenty, I had tried my hand at a couple of things. Still didn’t know. I would worry, but people would say you're young. You have time.
Now I'm twenty-four. I have a general idea of where my life is going... at least I think I do. And I think people were wrong.
Allow me to use money as an example. If you ever listen to Dave Ramsey, he will tell you to spend your money before you get it. For example: say you get an extra five hundred dollars out of nowhere, and it sits there in your account. Eventually you go to a store, see something you want, and there goes thirty bucks. You buy something every time you go to a gas station… You run into several of these situations and, before you know it, five hundred dollars is gone. You can’t really remember what you spent it on. You feel like you wasted it. If you had paid off a credit card or put it in savings, at least you’d feel like it served a purpose.
I think all of us “young people” treat life similarly. A little time here, a little time there, before you know a year is gone. I remember thinking, "What did I do with that year? It's gone." Just like that $500.
When you are young, you do have time to figure stuff out. There is a period of growth and self-defining that is acceptable. But start. You don’t want be twenty-eight and just getting your life in order. You don’t want to spend a year laying around on the couch or just hanging out. Make that year count for something.
I see so many twenty-something year-olds already having been out of high school for a few years. And where do we find them? Stagnant in their own life.
They are frozen.
Put thought into what you pursue. Don’t watch thirty episodes of Criminal Minds, decide you want to be an FBI Behavioral Analyst, and then spend five months in school figuring out that’s not what you really wanted at all. Research. Figure out if you even have the ability or desire to make it in that particular field. Maybe job shadow. Decide if the work is worth it to you. Then make your decision.
Don’t fall in love with the idea.
For example: Photographers. They get to make their own schedule, be their own boss, spend all day doing what they love, take pictures, and brag about their fabulous life on their blog. They’re liars.
Their house is a mess, they spend most of their time at the computer editing, and on the phone setting up appointments and trying to get payments and appointments. Sure they are their own boss, but when crap goes wrong it’s all on their shoulders.
Don’t fall in love with the idea of something. Fall in love with the work- whatever that might be.
Make a plan.
There's nothing wrong with a plan. No matter how boring it sounds. Sure it may change twenty times before it all plays out, but it gives you something to head towards. A finish line.
This is something I had to learn firsthand. My freshman year of college I was an English Major headed into journalism. Then I switched to pre-med to become a pediatrician. Theeen I switched to creative writing. THEN I switched to paramedics. I changed my mind constantly, never finishing anything I started. If I had made sure what I was starting was worth it to make the finish line, I could have saved myself a lot of time (and a lot of money). It is so important to do stuff the right way, not the easy way, and finish what you start.
You don’t have to make those mistakes
Please, please don’t be stupid. I feel like “young people” think they have to find things out for themselves. You don’t. You’re smart. You can look at someone and see how their decisions are working out for them without have to make the same ones. If Sally's partying and binge-drinking her way through college clearly isn't working out for her, you should be able to figure out that it won't work out for you. You should never have to test those waters. Learn from the mistakes of others.
Don't be too serious
If you take joy in what you do and the people you work with, it will feel a lot less like work. So have fun, make jokes, pull pranks, stay up all night once in a while.
You are probably reading this and thinking, "But, Cherith, this is so much more complicated then that. I am trying to figure out what God wants me to do."
Hold the phone. I use to be scared that if I surrendered my future to Jesus (this is different than getting saved) that I would be called to the mission field, or to be a preacher's wife (not that there is anything wrong with being any of those things. But admittedly they aren't the path we are all called to.).
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
God wants to give us the desires of our heart. He doesn't want us to be miserable. You know a funny thing happens when you give your life over to God and you are in constant communication with Him. His desire for your life becomes your desire and it all plays out full circle.
So the big question is- what are you going to do with your five hundred dollars?
We love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! Thanks for reading.