Adulting is hard, especially when you’re a person who has made being socially awkward an art form. Being a responsible member of society, whether or not you like what is required of you, can be uncomfortable. Normal adulting situations like paying bills instead of going to the movies or working when you’d rather sleep are easy enough. It’s when situations veer into social arenas that problems arise.
Recently, I went to a visitation without my social butterfly husband. Twenty years ago, I would have skipped adulting and stayed home. But the grieving family means a lot to me. So, I went. As I stood in line questions plagued me. Are they going to be offended that I didn’t wear a dress? What if I say something stupid? Do I hug the person or shake their hand? What if I go to hug them, and they want a handshake? How long should I stay?
I revisited those questions a few days later when I attended a friend’s wedding alone. The sanctuary was almost full when I entered. Standing in front of everyone, completely under-dressed, again (I really should invest in a nice dress for these occasions!), I scanned the pews for a place to sit. An elderly lady motioned me to her row. That’s how I found myself sandwiched between complete strangers. If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, there was no receiving line. Great news, right? Wrong. Instead, the new couple dismissed each row, greeting every guest. No ducking out to avoid potential embarrassment. That’s when those anxiety driven questions started again.
At this point, I’ve reached my quota for adulting. I’d love to tell you I don’t have to adult anymore for at least a year. Not going to happen. With my first book coming out, I’m going to be thrown into a whole new set of adulting situations. Book launch events, advertising with social media, and talking about myself and my book with others on a regular basis are way out of my comfort zone. The idea of these things is great. The reality that I have to be an active participant in them brings a little more anxiety. The promotion side of publishing is definitely the least comfortable part of the process for someone like me, but it is necessary. So, I have accepted the fact that the near future will find me adulting yet again.
There is truth in the idea that growing up is hard to do. We gain freedoms as we age, but with them come responsibilities. We can’t limit ourselves to doing whatever we want, whenever we want. Part of growing up is learning to do difficult things, because they are the right things to do.
This applies to our spiritual lives too. When we first come into a relationship with God, it’s enough that He loves us and provides forgiveness for our sins. But we can’t stay in that place forever. We are reminded to keep growing in “the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We do this through time spent in God’s word. Hebrews 5:12 even cautions us to not be content to stay spiritual babies.
Our increased understanding provides great encouragement and freedom, but, as with physical maturing, it also brings extra responsibility. When we mature as believers, we can’t be content to simply know and feel the things God shows us. We are called to be “doers of the Word” (James 1:22). Sometimes what we are called to do is easy. Other times, God calls us to things that go against our own desires. It’s hard to forgive. It’s hard to love the unlovable. Sometimes, it’s hard to pray “Your will be done” and mean it with all of our hearts. But allowing God to work in us to do the hard things is what growing up in our faith is all about.
By the Book: What are you doing to grow in your faith? If you don’t already have one, consider joining a Bible study or hosting one yourself. There are a lot of good ones out there, and the accountability of a group can be helpful to stay on track.