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May 2013

The 20 Something Years

Paper & Glam - A Field Guide to Getting LostAttribution Unknown

The Quarter-life Crisis is the amalgamation of doubt, confusion, and fear that comes with facing an overwhelming set of identity issues and societal expectations at once. - Christine Hasler, Twenty Something Twenty Everything

Once again, I find myself in the Bermuda triangle of the 20 Something Years. This is my second time hitting the quarter-life crisis, so it's time to write up some instructions for finding our way out should this occur for you or me in the future.

Confronting our identity demons in our twenties rather than waiting until our forties or fifties, means I don't think we're going to have a midlife crisis. - Alexandra Robbins, It's A Wonderful Lie

Step #1: Read. Books, blogs, and the Bible.

The Bible reminds us that there's "nothing new under the sun," (Ecclesiastes 1:9) which means others have gone through whatever it is we're facing, have made it out, and most likely about it. 

With 40% of twenty-somethings moving back in with their parents at some point, and a third of us moving annually, I know I'm not the only one feeling in-between as the figurative age 30-deadline looms closer {source}. 

I'm a grateful twenty-something. I've lived in my little Denver Dreamhome for three years, I've got a solid career, a community of incredible people that anchor me and move in my life with both the dependability and the force of an army, and still yet, here I am feeling stuck like my life is not moving forward. Somehow I stalled and I can't change gears. It's like watching Bill Murray's Groundhog Day, or a reality TV marathon you've seen before, but can't manage to get up and change the channel.

Here's some reassurance from Relevant Magazine and two of my all-time favorites, Donald Miller and Bob Goff:

In our culture, your 20s are about getting educated, your 30s are about accumulating resources (becoming financially sustainable), your 40s are about building (families, houses, careers, ministries, impact), and your 50s are about enjoying what you’ve built (and perhaps pressuring your kids to get married and make babies). He did not intend this as advice, he was only making an observation. But I tend to think it’s a pretty good path. It takes time to build influence, to establish connections and to build confidence in others at your abilities {source}. - Bob Goff

As I read and I pray through this, I'm realizing that this isn't just the part where we find out who we are, but also the time when we become who we're meant to be. There are many roads in life, but there are no shortcuts in the journey of becoming. 

The journey back toward faith came in flashes and moments and entirely though pain…I loved those years. Those years made me believe in the journey and respect it. I know what it did in me, and I don’t take it lightly. I have some very sobering scars and memories that I carry with me as reminders of that season. They remind me how dangerous that path is, and how beautiful. - Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Step #2: Spend time doing the things that make you who you are.

What lights you up? More on this here.

Step #3: Spend time with people who remind you who you are and who you're becoming. 

Equally as important as the journey itself, is who we travel with. For me, maybe this season isn't so much like Groundhog Day, but more like an episode of Friends. We sit in coffee shops, we laugh and learn with each other, we do life together, loving each other into our futures.

There is no friend like the friends who walks beside you without flinching no matter what appears in the path of life. God doesn't (usually) appear in a flaming bush in our path, He appears reflected out of the people He so graciously sends us. 


"I don't care whose DNA has combined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching, they are your family."
{Jim Butcher}

Step #4: With steadfast faith and mad hope, believe that change is coming for you.

In Exodus, the people of God were wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, and God appeared as a cloud above them, guiding them and assuring his people he was with them. In that time, in an agricultural society, rain clouds where not a symbol of hard times, but of growth and new life.

If there is a cloud over our lives, we can rest assured that God is on the move in them.

He will revive us, He will restore us. 
Let us press on acknowledging the

As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come like the rain.
{Hosea, 6:1-3} 

Every time we press through that lost feeling, we acknowledge that we trust God to find us right where we are. Let us pray, and ask for the faith to keep trusting that God is good, faithful to His word, and exactly who He says He is.

Wherever you are on journey, remember we may not know where it ends, but we know wins.

Happy Memorial Day

Paper Fashion American Flag

{Souce: Paper Fashion}

Out of respect for those who have fallen fighting for our country, and for those who are still fighting, I'll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled post. Don't miss it, it's a good one! 

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
{John 15:12-13}

Have a beautiful start to summer 2013.

Love Wins,

This is the Part Where You Find Out Who You Are

This is the Part Where You Find Out Who You Are

Do you ever fall into an existential crisis, and you can't remember the point of it all?

That's where I've been living lately. The last time I fell into this perverse, foul little mood was after I graduated from college. Instead of being excited to start my post-collegiate life with youthful resolve, confident that I would tackle the coming years with optimism and tenacity, I was depressed by the thought of spending the foreseeable future sitting behind a desk waiting for 5 PM five days a week.  In that tempest of confusion and catharsis, I moved to Denver. 

Five years later, I find myself back at the same crossroads, exhausted, burned out, and lost. I'd love for you to think I have it together; but the truth is, in spite of the grace, love, and opportunity life has shown me, I still feel lost.

It's not that I don't appreciate my life, deeply, I do. As I type, Sunday (my puppy) carries around her pet elephant, Ellie. Ellie has holes in her ears from Sunday carrying her around the house. Where Sunday goes, Ellie the elephant goes. I find Ellie on the deck, in my bed, and hidden in the cabinet that houses the snacks.

I'm smiling, but I'm still lost.

Do you ever feel lost like you can't see the future, and you can't manage to get the present right either?

Last Monday I woke up at 4 AM to write a post inspired by The Great Gatsby, and I spelled "Gatsby" wrong. Really?! I'm about Fitzgerald like I'm about God, glam, Vogue and Voltaire. 

What's happening to me? I'm just going through the motions, but I'm not all there.

This week in my haste to get my inbox down to double digits, I sent out an e-mail to my team with "region" auto-corrected to "groin." Where is the Holy Spirit when you need Him? I haven't done laundry in so long I wore swimsuit bottoms to work. What is my life?

I thought I was past this stage of quarter life crisis. I thought I'd learned the secret to joy is learning to live above my circumstances. Learning to live above our cirmcumstances is a crucial lesson, because when our happiness has no dependencies we're free.

I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I've found the recipe for being happy whether hands empty or hands full. Whatever I have, whatever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. {Philippians 4:12-13,23, MSG}

Monsters Under the Bed

But what happens when it's not external circumstances we're fighting? What happens when you realize the monster under the bed, is inside of you?

I won't run, and I'll try not to hide. I won't date over these feelings, shop over them, pour a bottle over them, or work over them, and I won't do some combination thereof. I won't try to escape. 

I'll work through this. 

I'll be honest and vulnerable. I'll say what I mean and own what I feel. I'll trust that I'm safe, and though I feel lost, I'm right where Gods wants me.

Pain is God doing surgury, removing what's holding us back. Pain humbles and reveals where God is working and healing. Pain empties us of ourselves and frees us from what enslaves. 

Here's great advice on what to do when we feel lost:

"This is a great time to start counseling. Unravel the knots that keep you from living a healthy whole life, and do it now, before any more time passes. This is the perfect time to get involved in a church that you love, no matter how different it is from the one you were a part of growing up. Be patient and be prayerful, and decide that you're going to be a person who grows, who seeks your own faith, who lives with intention.

There is a season for wildness and there is a season for settledness, and this is neither. This is a season about becoming. Now is your time. Become, believe, try. Walk closely with people you love, and with other people who believe that God is very good and life is a grand adventure." {Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet}

If you're lost, hold tight to your faith and the people who never let you go. The quickest way to find yourself is to lean into the hurt, and let it teach you what it came to teach you. If you run, you'll escape the pain, but you'll lose the lesson. Then five years later, the same feelings will come knocking on your door, asking if you're ready to feel the pain to get the growth and the freedom that came with it.

Why do we suffer under a just God?
This is a knot that must be untied.
{Voltaire, 1755}

It's ok to be lost, it's good that we're here. This is the part where you find out who you are.

Love wins,