12 Essentials for Your Twenties: Practical advice for 20-somethings (Part 2 of 2)
Your twenties should be the best decade of your life as you grapple with the world, your beliefs, your identity, your worldview, your faith, and your calling. It’s a time of adventure and struggle as you figure out who you are, how you fit into the world, and what you were made for. (Of course when you enter your thirties that should become the best decade of your life – catch my drift there?) This post is the second in a two-part series meant to empower 20-somethings to live your best life. If you missed part one, you can read it here: 12 Essentials for Your Twenties: Empowering Christian young people to Discover, Develop, Become, & Be (Part 1 of 2)
Part 2 of 12 Essentials for your twenties:
7. Become a servant.
To serve is to love. It’s in the laying down of our lives, agendas, time, and energy that we can give ourselves to others like Jesus demonstrated with the disciples. He wasn’t into prestige or title or fringe benefits. He got dirty, gave up the best seat, and set aside privilege in order to demonstrate what love in action looks like. Make it a focus of your twenties to become a servant. Not because you want to impress God, or prove yourself as good Christians to pastors, leaders, family, or friends, but because this is the greatest gift we can ever give one another. And because it’s the greatest gift we can ever give the Lord. Become a servant because Jesus was and don’t let yourself get caught up in a world obsessed with fame and the online phenomena of micro-celebrities and egocentric self promotion through social media. The reality is, life isn’t all about you and when we try to make it that way we look like fools to those around us, end up with a pretty dissatisfying inner life, and we inadvertently dishonor God and a world that needs us to pull down the Kingdom. It’s a lose-lose situation from every angle.
8. Become a giver.
Giving doesn’t get easier just because you get older or richer, so if you’re waiting for day when your college loans are paid off or when you get that dream job, or get married and have two incomes filtering into your bank account, then you’re fooling yourself. Start giving while you’re young and purpose in your heart to be a person with a generous spirit, no matter what’s in your bank account. You will never regret learning what a blessing it is to give while you’re still young. Not only will you see what it’s like to be a part of seeing miracles unfold for others (and sometimes even for yourself), your view of God will be enlarged. Loaves and fishes (Matt 14:13-21) are multiplied when given, not when shared.
9. Become educated.
Learn about the “big” world: the worldwide church (not just your own denomination!!!), justice issues, nations, politics, and current events. Learn also about the “little” world: how healthy families operate, your personal history (and how to actually make it your history), and how to maintain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Now that you’re a grown-up, nobody is forcing you to learn anymore; so use this opportunity to enlarge your mind and pursue the things that matter to you and will set you up to begin your adulthood well.
10. Be mentored.
Every example of a solid leader in the Bible had a mentor – Joshua (Moses), Elisha (Elijah), Paul (Barnabas), Peter (Jesus), David (Samuel). Learn what Biblical accountability looks like. This means pursuing it, not waiting for it to drop in your lap. Find someone you look up to and attach yourself to them (in a non-creepy sort of way!). It’s important to do this with a “live” person, but you can also be mentored by authors if you choose wisely what to fill your mind with. You might also consider entering a discipleship program (like a YWAM DTS) for a period of time. If you do some type of program or internship, I’d recommend six months to two years, but I think two years is ideal. (The 20-somethings who I’ve seen commit to two years or more of being mentored are the ones who I’ve also seen have more success in their personal and ministry growth.)
11. Be a mentor.
The best way to grow is to give yourself to someone else’s growth. I’m absolutely convinced of this and have seen it to be true hundreds of times as I’ve observed young people through my work in YWAM and in the local church. Put yourself in a position to mentor and disciple, and then access your own mentors as things come up that are over your head. God designed us to be constantly giving away what we’re receiving. It’s never too early to think about multiplication. You should always be taking people with you.
12. Be an explorer.
Get out into the world and see it, experience it, and live it. Let God break your cultural boxes and see how the rest of the world not only lives, but sees life around them. Most people in their twenties (or early twenties at least) aren’t locked into a career path yet, a mortgage, or even a marriage and children. This is such a perfect window to really get out and travel. Consider what would be a “safe environment” for you. It might mean some missions trips, an overseas training program, studying abroad, or backpacking with a solid Christian friend. (Yes, you’ll absolutely need that support and accountability when you’re traipsing the world!) As you become an explorer you’ll have unprecedented opportunities to face your fears, test your talents, and allow yourself to dream about how you can make the world a better place. Go on, pack your bags and get your feet wet! Life-as-you-know-it will always be waiting for you… but what you find beyond your borders just might change your life. Whatever it is that you’ve been waiting and hoping to do, figure out a way to put the wheels in motion and go for it.
Discover, develop, become, be…
These are all ways to grow into yourself as you wrestle with what it means to be an adult and live a fulfilling life that will influence the world around you for the better. Your twenties should be the time of your life as you set about unwrapping what God’s made available to you… and unwrapping who you are in him. It’s a decade that is exhausting and thrilling, surprising and super fun. And it’s a decade that should be deeply satisfying and rich with growth, discovery, and revelation.
If you missed it, be sure to go back and read part one of 12 Essentials for Your Twenties where I talk about God, identity, calling, character, values, and discipline.
Dear friends, if you are in your twenties, what’s one thing you can focus on to grow your life in God right now? Are you practicing these things already? And if you’ve moved on from your twenties, what wisdom would you pass on to your younger self or to others?
p.s. Shhh… don’t tell, but the thirties might even trump the twenties. Just you wait. Life keeps getting better.
- “Why are you still single?” (A single woman’s perspective on the dreaded question.)
- Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor.