Life tends to be black and white when you’re a teenager. This is a normal part of brain development (though a pain in the butt to live with). Remember phrases like “Everyone else will be there” or “I’m the only one who has to call her parents” or how about this classic one “Hey Dad, I learned in science today that if you don’t stop XYZ you will die. Hand me another piece of bread.”
The twenties is the time to move away from the illusion of control into the waters of uncertainty.
Think of it this way, there is comfort clinging to either bank of a river – albeit the very conservative “I’d never do that” or the equally liberal “I’d never NOT do that!” side. Comfort, yes, much movement towards a destination, no. You will continue to grow older, but you run the risk of stagnating if you cling to extremes.
Your 20’s are a time for growth – and the habits you start in your 20’s will serve you well the rest of life. The best place to grow is in the messy middle which is not so much a location, as an attitude. Am I going to take a risk, live life, and when I fail, fail towards God? Do I see God not only in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary too?
My advice to you? Learn to live in the messy middle because it’s a whale of a lot easier to learn in your 20’s than later AND it’s where reality is.
I submitted this a few months ago as a piece of advice for those in their 20’s. I never heard back but still stand by my advice.
Another piece of advice I’d add is to look for opportunities to laugh! Thanks to all who entered the contest to win a copy of Carry On, Warrior. I loved the reminder through the comments that LIFE. IS. HARD. Sick kids, death of loved ones, precious new babies that don’t like to sleep in the middle of the night, packing, bop (butt on plane … one flight too many), shingles, and being new to a city.
True, life is hard; but it’s equally true that we are drawn to a good laugh (and find Madame Bovary annoying).
And the one whose name was drawn to become a book stalker is Julie G. Congrats and I’ll be contacting you.
Thoughts on my advice? What would you add?
Know any good jokes? I’ve racked my brain, but can’t recall any.
Awesome advice! I am already hearing the comments from my teenagers.
:) … thanks for letting me know I’m not way off base! or out of touch!
Okay, just remember you asked for it. :-)
Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting in church. Angie was sitting very quietly, while Joel was giggling, humming, squirming and generally being a normal four-year-old. Angie finally whispered to him sternly, “Be quiet!”
“Why?” Joel asked. “Who’s going to stop me?”
Angie pointed to two men standing near the door at the back of the church. “See those guys? They’re hushers!”
I LOVE IT! Got any others? :)
My husband and I have talked about the illusion of control many times. In America, we have had the illusion of control but living overseas has taught us that we are not in control no matter what country we live in. God is in control and I am glad.
So, so true!
I floated the fast river near my hometown today with some friends in inner tubes. I hadn’t done it for so long that it was almost like doing it for the first time! At first the fact that you couldn’t see the rocks until you were just upon them was scary for me. Then I fell off in the middle of some rapids. I got scraped up and knocked about a bit, and thought, “Well, that wasn’t so bad!”. I slowly re-learned the lesson that going with the flow of the river usually keeps you out of trouble better than scrambling to paddle yourself this way and that every time you see a rock ahead.
This is why I really love what you say about failing towards God. We learn more from failures than anything else, I think, and nothing makes us closer to God. (I mean, King David, ahem. King of Mistakes. King of loving God.) Falling off that inner tube freed me from my fear of losing control! And only then could I learn about going with the flow…
Thanks as always for a great post. I will think of it now on as “the ILLUSION of control.”
Morielle — how timely :). Love that!
[ih-loo-zhuhn] Show IPA
something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
Being in my twenties I understand the idea of living in waters of uncertainty. There are times though that I just want to live with my illusion contorl. It may be false but it gives me an “impression of reality” that I like rather than the reality I am living with. It’s only in admitting that control is an illusion, that I truly live…live in the reality of life.
Oh sadly the desire to cling to the illusion isn’t just for those in their 20s :). I think it’s easiest to see at that phase of life, but not the only place it shows up. Sadly!!
David Rupert says
Well I just had a surprise announcement from my son — who got married over the weekend.
I could rail about his impulsiveness. I could be angry at his selfishness. I could go on about pain and shame. Or I can let go of the selfishness, which is deeply rooted to control, and embrace who he — and his wife — are today.
That’s what I did. I gave him my blessing and promise for prayer and now must once again, let God take over.
David, wow. Didn’t see that one coming and it’s not even my child. Will pray for you as the letting God take over isn’t just a one time thing, eh?!