We grow up believing certain implications of what it means to be an adult and all the “therein rights and responsibilities.” I’m currently challenging those preconceived notions, and I think I’m only recently okay with that challenge. I’ve got one on my mind specifically today. While I must admit that I like challenging the traditional limitations that the church has imposed upon women (some are more in our past than others), it is a challenge I recognized early and was eager to meet. Now, living the way I am, is viewed as irresponsible and yet… I can’t answer specifically what I’m doing that is “wrong” by God’s standards, merely what the world looks down on and what is contrary to the beliefs of my upbringing.
A child might look at it this way… Little girls are supposed to grow up and get married and make babies and cook dinner and keep the inside of the house clean. Little boys are supposed grow up and get married and work all day and mow the lawn. The mommies and daddies do this every day for the rest of their lives until their retirement when they can’t do anything anymore but be visited by their grandchildren.
Whether you’ve put it in so many words or not, all of us grew up with certain expectations of what adulthood would be like, mostly based on our own experiences growing up. To put it very mildly, I have not lived up to my own expectations.
Failure #1: Single. While this may yet change, I’ve stopped holding out hope and planning my life around it happening one day. Sheer numbers and statistics are just not in my favor for it to happen at this point, so why depend on something unlikely? Do I want to be single all of my life? No, I don’t think I ever wanted that. But I’m now 30 and 1/2 with no serious boyfriend and a hilariously short history of dating. I prefer being realistic instead of painfully optimistic.
Failure #2: Lack of independence. I had achieved this and proudly so! I had determined I would *not* become one of those people that would go back to living with their parents. By golly, I was gonna make it on my own out there, because I’m ridiculously stubborn like that! Ah youth… (a mere 6 years ago) And here I find myself back in my parents’ house temporarily to save money. Which brings me to my next failure…
Failure #3: Lack of regular income. Part of successful adulthood was supposed to mean 5 days a week, every week, routinely working 40 hours (or so). I had that too! Now, not so much, or rather, not at all. I am thankfully not completely destitute, and I have had some work since I moved out of Cincinnati in August. But I still feel like a failure and consider myself “unemployed.” I think part of “adulting” is learning to phrase life situations in a more positive light, for example: “I am a freelance interpreter” sounds much better than “I’m unemployed.”
So. A single, 30-year-old, “unemployed”, Christian woman is living with her parents in her small-ish home town after supposedly having a successful independent life in a big city far away from here. Yup. Pretty pathetic. According to the world’s standards anyway…
God’s opportunity #1: I am unattached. I can pack up, pick up
every thing I have, and be on the road ready to go almost instantaneously. The possibilities for the Kingdom of God are only limited by my courage, not at all by God’s resources to make it happen.
God’s opportunity #2: Humility. I didn’t even know I needed this one. But He knows better, doesn’t He? It’s not shameful that I’m not living the American Dream. As a citizen of Heaven first, my living situation is not shameful to my King and is therefore acceptable to Him. Just need to convince my pride of that as well.
God’s opportunity #3: Providence. Whereas what I’m preparing for would be slowly chipped away at if I were living completely on my own, I’m able to store up the resources needed for whatever venture comes next. Yeah, it’s embarrassing according to the world’s standards that I’m back with mommy and daddy, but I’m not out to be a people pleaser.
I don’t remember all these God opportunities every day. In fact lately, I dwell on those failures. I’m not perfect, and I tend to be pessimistic. But I am telling you that I need to, and am working on, changing that thinking from a problem to a probortunity. My problem is not the end of things. God can take my problem and turn it into an opportunity.