It was just a few months ago that I heard the word “adulting” for the first time. I have to be honest. I was a little taken aback with its mere existence. That is, the very presence of the word should speak volumes to us in that if we even need such a word, then we obviously have some sort of struggle taking place with achieving its status.
Pastor, Counselor, Coach, Or Dad?
I say it all the time. I am not a pastor, counselor, or a marriage coach as much as one who seems to take on the fatherly role of teaching people lessons they should have learned years ago. Whether the lessons involve getting along with a spouse, securing peace in our souls, managing time, or making money, I feel more like a father than a coach in that many seem to be stuck between the ages of 13 and 20.
The Battle With Adulthood
Within the last few years, I am finding more and more people that seem to be at war with adulthood. That is, they seem to be in a perpetual battle with either acting like an adult or learning to enjoy the responsibilities that come with adulthood. Below are just a few of the aspects of adulthood with which many seem to battle:
If you are guided by simply your emotions, you are not an adult. Of course, emotions are important and God-given, but they are to be the car behind the engine as feelings make a marvelous caboose, but a lousy locomotive.
In chapter 3 of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, I discuss how feelings make a very poor marriage counselor. We also discuss how with many a couple, the true god of their marriage is their feelings instead of God the Father. This is always an issue because no marriage will ever rise any higher than its true God or god.
A Giver Instead Of A Taker
Manhood did not come my way until I started to wake up thinking about God, my marriage, and my children first. Of course, I believe in what Matthew Henry calls the law of self-preservation, but keep in mind that the best way to secure joy is always to give opportunity for others around you to enjoy the same. This is why Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.
I find that what keeps most people from consistently showing up in marriage, church life, and business is sameness, that is, doing the same thing at the same time and in the same way. However, it should be noted that children grow weary of the mundane. Adults, on the other hand, find purpose and joy in even the most mundane of tasks.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He changes not, and there is no variableness with Him (James 1:17). Without God’s sameness, we would all perish as the sun would halt and the fields would refrain from yielding crops. It is amazing, however, how we want God to be more faithful to us than we are willing to be to Him and, especially, for Him.
Marriage, parenting, building a business, establishing a career, and learning a trade all require the ability to keep showing up. However, if a person is internally at war with consistently dealing with the same environment and the same people, then, in my opinion, they are at war with adulthood as 90% of success is having the ability to keep showing up.
There is a great life skill in learning to love what you despise. Now, I have to admit that I love my job, but there are a few things to consider even in this:
1. I have to do a lot of things that I don’t necessarily like to do to be able to do what I love to do.
2. I did not get to this point overnight. In fact, I bet I could almost beat anybody if we had a contest for how many jobs or business ventures in which a person has been involved.
People that love practice more than the game, excel. Those that want the event more than the process fade away.
Success requires embracing the process and learning that the process can be just as rewarding as the destination.
Working Well With Others
Mark it down. Selfish people are always surrounded by conflict, and selfishness is one of the main characteristics of children.
Proverbs even deals with this in that it teaches that “when a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)
Facing The Giants Of Life Head On
Adults face their problems head-on. Children run, escape, and hide.
In our day of escapism, it is important to face our problems without the escape hatches of excuses, blame, alcohol and drugs, illicit behavior, or fantastical thinking. Be brave. Face your problems head-on by the grace of God. God will make a way, and you will find that there is no such thing as a wasted experience.
You Don’t Get A Cookie For Being An Adult
Herein lies my main beef with the presence of the word “adulting”. The words seems to often be used by people that want a cookie for doing things that should be what I feel are no-brainers.
Sorry, but getting up early, going to work, doing laundry, eating healthy, and balancing the budget are just a part of life. They do not deserve any special attention on social media nor from anyone around you. These things are not what adults do as much as they are what people have done for thousands of years without any expectation of a supposed prize.
On a further note, while we as a western society give emotional medals for showing up and doing the most basic of tasks, other countries are dominating us in the business world.
If our highest goal is just to be at work instead of excelling at work, then we are doomed for disaster as a people group. The rest of the world will not be politically correct and stay behind their borders. They will overtake us before too long and we will no longer be the exceptional people we once were.
Jesus said, “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
I feel this verse in intriguing in that Jesus is not handing out gold stars for doing the most basic of exercises. Jesus is teaching that there are certain basic duties that should need no reward.
The Real Problem
The real problem is not laziness, a lack of toughness, or a lack of perspective. In my estimation, these all miss the mark. The real issue is that we have not allowed God’s adult-like characteristics to benefit our souls. When this occurs, we in turn lack the purpose and the internal strength to be as adult-like as our Heavenly Father.
When I was a young man, I loathed speeches and articles like the one I am writing. I only despised them because my problem was not a lack of want-to as much as it was a lack of power and purpose in my life to implement what I knew to be right.
To be very frank, once I started to truly fellowship with my Heavenly Father, my power-to started to become parallel with my want-to. Then and only then was I able to truly start acting like the adult God was calling me to be.
The Irony Of It All
The irony of this entire article is that I am able to act like an adult because I keep a child like attitude inside of me. I believe I am able to do this mainly because I sense the presence of my Heavenly Father (John 14:21-23). This allows me to enjoy the little things of life, sleep in peace, view my life as a story that He is writing, believe in happily ever afters (especially in eternity), find humor in areas where others only see seriousness, and let God fight my battles.
Every child is born with a light in their eyes, but I have found that life has a way of blowing it out. My readers will do well to keep a sacred place within themselves that no one else can touch. God calls it the soul, and in that place you will never regret having a place where you can spiritually run and play on His playground of prayer and meditation.
God is good! – Dr. Force