If there is one trait in which my generation excels, it would be the inability to let go. Well, that and making the most of an Amazon Prime account. But the desire to hold on to and relive the past as much as possible is definitely up there.
Don’t believe me? Pay attention to your social media feed this week. Chances are there will be some sort of headline calling for 90s kids to recall the foods we ate, toys we played with, and our first brushes with technology (Disclaimer: My Tamogatchi never made it through the night.) Fans of Hawaii 5-0 had to wait 30 years for a reboot. Not us. Boy Meets World, Full House, Veronica Mars, and Gilmore Girls have all either already seen some sort of reboot or there’s one currently in process, several of those less than a decade after the original went off the air. Have some free time in-between all your Netflixing? We’re even making coloring cool again.
Our generation loves nostalgia and looking back to the things that made our youth enjoyable. And while that’s great and I was as excited as anyone to find out we would find out how Cory and Topanga were doing, I worry we have a hard time living in the now.
And our cultural regression isn’t just about our entertainment. Young adults are living in their parents’ home at a higher rate than we’ve seen in 75 years. Jobs are harder to find. (Although some of that hinges on the fact that many decide to include their parents in the interview process. This is a thing that really happens.) College costs are getting higher. There are insane amounts of turmoil and violence in the world and that only brings uncertainty and a desire to hold on to the things that are safe.
It only makes sense for us to cling to the things we know and that have brought us happiness in the past in hopes that they’ll do the same in the present.
In many ways, that’s fine. I really don’t care what TV shows you choose to binge watch when you have the time to do so or if you have a gallery’s worth of coloring books. But I worry that that same attitude permeates our religious lives as well (not that we should have “two” lives, but go with me here).
In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer rebukes them by saying:
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
(Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV)
My prayer for my fellow Christians growing up in our generation is that we are able to grow up spiritually. That we quit relying on others for all of our teaching and all of our guidance and that we seek to crave solid food. That we become teachers. Real teachers, who know basic principles and can share them with others. Not teachers in search of a megaphone but with nothing of substance once we get there. That we’re able to go out and show others the way to Christ and we don’t rest comfortably and safely while expecting others to do it for us.
I think some of our reluctance to do so comes from fear. When we’re worried about our futures, or even our present, we think less about Him and more about ourselves.
Who am I?
Where am I going?
Will I be ok?
What am I going to do with my life?
Valid questions that need answers. But what happens is we start looking inward instead of upward. We begin to focus on what we need to do in our lives. How we can find our peace and our happiness and our comfort. How we can accomplish these things. When the whole time, what we need to be doing instead is looking to God for both the goals we need to be aiming for as well as the strength to help us get there. Rather than just making sure our Bibles are journaled with Instagram-ready margins, we need to make sure our priority is pouring ourselves into the words of life contained within.
Growing up is scary. Jumping is terrifying when you don’t know where you’re going to land. But Christians are never asked to jump alone.
We can be leaders. We can be teachers. Real ones, who have studied and are built on God and His Word. We can continue to learn and grow and be strengthened in Him, all the while being confident that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
You are not powerful or strong or enough on your own. I’m certainly not. But God is. And through Him we can do some amazing things in His kingdom. We just have to trust Him to believe that He will grow us into what He means for us to be and quit holding on to what we were.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”