Dear Twenty-Something, by Cheryl Drummond and Sarah Grant
In honor of the twenty-somethings at Awake we are launching a letter mentorship throughout the year, called Dear Twenty-Something. Our first letter is from a mother-daughter team who I’m honored and grateful are willing to jump into this project with us.
In our busy lives it can be difficult to access women who are doing life well. On this Friday morning with your espresso or morning breakfast tea let’s lean in it’s gonna be so good.
You don’t need to have all the answers to move forward.
I used to think I couldn’t move forward until I knew my exact next step. I thought I needed to know what I wanted and how to get it before I could take a step forward. And honestly, all it did was leave me stalled out and constantly “waiting…” wondering if I was missing “it.” What’s worse, is that it seemed everyone around me already had their stuff figured out. I was alone in my indecision.
Moving forward without all the answers is definitely counterintuitive in today’s culture. Knowing what you want (and knowing how to get there) is respected and rewarded, and anything short of this can cause indecision and self-doubt.
But the truth is… it’s okay to not know. It’s ok to not have everything figured out. Because God knows. And He’s not leading us in some guessing game of trying to figure out our next steps, He’s guiding us in the right here and right now of our lives. He’s journeying this life with us and isn’t going to let us “miss it.”
If I’m completely honest, I’m supportive when others don’t know their next steps, but I’m far less forgiving with myself. Perhaps this is where the difficulty lies… I am not comfortable with my own indecision and insecurities. I’m not comfortable not knowing what I really want in life, what my dreams are, who I’m called to be… but when you think about it, as Christians, we are people who thrive on ambiguity, mystery, and the unknown – that’s what faith is. The author of Hebrews understood this. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So we need to give ourselves permission to being in the process of figuring it out – even when that means seasons of walking through the unknown.
The reason this makes us uncomfortable is it feels so vulnerable to not know. It brings up our fears and self-doubts. We like to have an answer to give people when they ask, “what’s next?” I love Brené Brown. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she explains the need for embracing our imperfections and vulnerability. Being honest about who we are takes courage, but is worth the work. It releases us to love ourselves, and in the long run, allows us to love others more fully. I am reminded of 1 John 4:18-19, which says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear….” When we are not able to be vulnerable and admit our imperfections, we are unintentionally fearful. But trusting Jesus breaks that fear.
And truthfully, when we start to obsess over our next steps and what’s happening in our lives and what we are going to do, we become quite self-absorbed. Our prayers are all about ourselves… we read Scripture looking for it to answer all our questions about “me”… but is this the way Jesus works?
Now, take a moment to pause… Direct your mind to your heart and ask yourself, “what do I care about?” Is it the same thing that Jesus cares about?
Jesus cares about loving people. When we strive for our own success, even for a good cause, we can miss an opportunity for love. The world says “go for it,” “seize your moment,” “be the best.” It’s okay to do well and care about your future, but don’t miss what Jesus is trying to teach you in the midst of those opportunities. Instead of obsessing over what God has for your life, walk in what He has for you now and you’ll discover your future along the way.
So be PRESENT in the right now of your life.
Jesus was so present He dropped everything to give attention to those who needed it. His disciples, who spent the most time with him, who were in his presence day in and day out, still struggled with this. This is the nature of being human. We strive. We think we know what we need to do, we think we get the point, but most of the time, without the prompting of the Holy Spirit and if we’re not attuned to Jesus’ heart, we will get so caught up in trying to get it right that we miss the moments He’s crafted for us right now. The practice of being present will hopefully redirect us toward Him first. He’s calling us to “being,” not doing.
Personally, this is really hard for me. I still struggle with this. BUT I’m learning that when I align myself with Jesus, my next steps start to align themselves. So don’t worry so much about getting everything figured out. Lean into your faith; know it’s okay to be vulnerable and unsure. You’re not alone. And be present with the people in your life and focus on loving well.
I like the way one of my gracious mentors, Henri Nouwen, put it: “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”
Our lives and futures will sort themselves out as we follow Jesus. Move forward with Him, asking the questions that really matter.
We’re in it with you,
Cheryl Drummond, wife, mother of Sarah, grandmother
Sarah Grant, wife, mother, daughter of Cheryl
(Edit cred: Jennifer Ahl, friend)