Excerpted from Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama by Sarah Francis Martin. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. ©2012. Used with permission.
Stepping out, taking the risk to dive into this crazy world as an adult, as Miss Independent (cue Kelly Clarkson), can be totally scary. We like to think we are self-sufficient and not at all apprehensive about living out on our own, out from under the wings of the grown-ups in our lives. I remember when I moved into my first apartment post-college. It was a seven-hundred-square-foot space that was mine to decorate, leave messy, and clean up only if I felt like it. Exciting . . . until it came time to pay rent for the first time. Yikes. After writing the check I hurried off to work. Suddenly the fact that I must work my tail off in order to live became all too real. That invincible feeling of independence soon faded when tough, grown-up decisions filled my plate. The things I once left up to my parents, I was now required to figure out on my own. Miss Independent turned into little Miss Indecisive, Miss Afraid—someone who was not the least bit confident that she could make it as a “big girl.”
Suddenly questions about how to do grown-up life swirled around me, and all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and hold my childhood blankie. I thought, How in the world am I to figure all of this out on my own? What if I royally screw up on my taxes and the government comes after me? What if I pick the wrong health insurance and I contract an awful illness that the insurance won’t cover? What if someone robs my apartment or I have a fire; how do I figure out renter’s insurance? What if . . . what if . . . what If . . .
I call these items of concern Life Mechanics. These are the nuts and bolts of everyday living that we all must buck up and take care of. These things are not fun to think about, I know. Trust me, I would rather play with my paints and crafty materials than balance my checkbook; but it must be done. There was a time, in fact, when I flat-out ignored the life mechanics and found myself in a sticky situation with a bill collector because I neglected to pay a very small fee for a trip to the urgent care during a bout of strep throat. Another time, denial about being a grown-up set in, and mounds of bills and important bank statements piled up, literally, on my dining room table. We are talking stacks and stacks and stacks of envelopes. I slipped into a state where the responsibilities piled up so high that an overwhelming sense of helplessness kept me from handling the everyday life mechanics of my bank account. Thankfully my mom stepped in and helped me sort through the pile and explore my reasons for not properly handling my newly found grownup Life Mechanics.
It all goes back to fear, intimidation, and anxiety. Do you experience a pure lockdown of all rational behavior when you fear? Are you intimidated by your Life Mechanics? Are you anxious about how to handle it all on your own?
Waiting at the throne of our King, our Hiding Place, means we take even the mundane Life Mechanics straight to Him. When I am tempted to curl up and throw the covers over my head because I can’t handle the stress of being a grown-up, I’ve learned that the more productive action is to curl up at the throne of my King and wrap myself in the soft blanket of His wisdom. This soft blanket comes with action on my part, though. I can’t just wrap myself up and hide away in ignorance, I must take action and actively trust Him and bring my fears to my Hiding Place. The ability to do this built up over time through prayer.
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. (Philippians 4:6–7 The Voice)
At the throne of my King, our Hiding Place, amidst stress and uncertainty, let us pray without ceasing. Let us not think that anything is out of His control or concern. Let us always see God as the One who cares about even our trivial questions about grown-up life. When we don’t bring the Life Mechanics to the throne and wait on Him for direction, we miss out on perfect illumination of how to navigate life. We miss out on little details that could affect us later in life. God protects even things like our financial credit, our decisions over which house to purchase so we don’t end up in major debt, the fine details of our 401(k) retirement account that is so crucial for our future. Nothing is beyond His hand and power. Allow your King to sweep up into the Hiding Place all of the minute details of grown-up life, wiping away your stress so you are free to really live life in your newfound dependence on Him.
If you are feeling stressed about these things, let the Lord know about it! He wants to hear you whine and cry like I did when I could no longer handle the pile of papers on my table. But we can’t whine, cry, and crawl into our beds in fear if we want His help. We must do the grown-up thing and acknowledge where we need help and lay it before Him—trusting that our King will guide us in our next steps. Because a true woman who clings to her King, Jesus, knows that she is never truly independent, but completely dependent on the Lord for guidance, direction, protection, and emotional support.
Sarah is teaming up with FaithONCampus.com to giveaway 3 copies of her new book! In order to be eligible simply leave a comment with your answer to the following question:
What practical advice would you give a 20-something who’s struggling to find a balance between living a life of independence (as an adult) and dependence on Christ?
Winners will be selected at random next week. (Winners must be residents of the U.S.)