My family and I were headed to an American Heritage Girls’ scouting camp out for my younger sisters. As we were driving, I scrolled through Instagram. A coworker (who is the same age as me) posted pictures of her and her husband vacationing in Nashville. It looked like they were having a great time!
As my family drove through the desert, my thoughts wandered to my dear friend who I’d been in American Heritage Girls with during high school. Last October, she got married, moved to another state with her husband, and is now starting a new career.
I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I’m a little behind in life.
After all, my friends who are the same age as me are married and on their new adventures, while I’m still on camping trips with the same scouting group I graduated from almost four years ago!
Challenging Ourselves without Putting Ourselves on a Timeline
We Rebelutionaries revel in challenging ourselves and accomplishing amazing things for God’s glory at an early age. Oftentimes, our faithfulness and intentionality results in us reaching goals like starting college or an internship before our peers normally do. Because we often enjoy the feeling of being “ahead,” it can make it even more devastating when we feel we’ve “fallen behind.”
As a Rebelutionary, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing our progress in life to those around us. After all, if you are still single and your friends are all married, it’s easy to start feeling behind in life! Or what if you’ve decided to start college in your late twenties instead of your late teen years? Or maybe your peers have started their careers, and you are still trying to find out what God has called you to do?
I am coming to realize that continually challenging myself is not only important, it is vital to fulfilling the plans God has for me. But at the same time, I need to remember that there is no official standard of where I should be in life by a certain age.I am coming to realize that challenging myself is not only important, it is vital to fulfilling the God's plans for me. But I also need to remember that there is no official standard of where I should be in life by a certain age. Click To Tweet
Needing more time to accomplish a challenge, start your first job, finish college, or get married is not only normal but is completely acceptable. Comparing and measuring where we are in life against other people is downright dangerous! It feeds discontentment, envy, and most importantly, it shifts our eyes from Christ onto other people. We would do well to remember the words Jesus spoke to Peter when he asked about John, “…what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.” (John 21:22)
God asks each of us to follow Him, to focus on Him. His priorities are bigger and better than the things we tend to prioritize. While we may value being in a certain relationship or career at a young age, God values our spiritual growth and our relationship with Him! And there is no better example of taking plenty of time for growth than Jesus’ earthly life.
Taking Time to Grow in God
Even Jesus, the Son of God, needed thirty years to grow before starting His earthly ministry!
During those first thirty years of His life, Jesus grew both spiritually and in wisdom. Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” He developed His relationship with His Heavenly Father and with the people around Him.
Also, before beginning His earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, “and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:22).
Jesus needed both time to grow and the empowering of the Holy Spirit before He set out to do anything for God!
If Jesus needed thirty years to grow in wisdom, develop spiritually, and strengthen His relationship with God and with people, then surely, we also need time to develop in these same areas of our lives!
Our Identity Comes from Christ Not Our Stage of Life
I love this quote from the book Experiencing God, which says, “[God] will always work in you before He works through you.”
I often like to rush ahead and keep myself busy with ministry work. But in this business, I forget to rest and spend time with my Heavenly Father. His priority is not what I am doing, but rather what He is doing in and then subsequently through me.
God is interested in us, not in our accomplishments. His desire is that we allow Him to do a thorough work of sanctification in us, not that we achieve a higher education faster than everybody we know. He loves us not for what we do, but because of what He has already done for us.It is dangerous to find our identity in what we do, where we work, and what our relationship status is, because these things are constantly changing. As believers, our identity is found in Christ alone, not in our stage of life. Click To Tweet
It is dangerous to find our identity in what we do, where we work, and what our relationship status is, because these things are constantly shifting and changing. As believers, our identity is found in Christ alone, not in our stage of life.
While we should keep challenging ourselves, let’s remind ourselves that we are not on a deadline to accomplish certain things by a specific time or age.
We are valued and loved by God, no matter where we are in life. And our first priority is to follow Christ and enjoy our relationship with God, not meet goals!