Sunday, June 10, 2012

Young adulthood. It is said to be the time of life when one discovers one's identity. Apparently we go through childhood and, especially, adolescence in a constant search and struggle for who we are. However, I am finding my own experience to be rather different. I knew who I was when I was a child. Even into early adolescence, I knew who I was and where I stood; I was significantly more convicted in my values and beliefs. And then I left home for boarding academy, later to college. While I in no way fell off the deep end, I lost my grounding in many ways.  As I went through high school and college I began to see a world with blurred lines and complicated problems. I met people and had experiences that were faith shaking, to say the least. It seems to me, that the time in our lives when we are supposed to be "finding ourselves" is precisely the time when we lose who we truly are.

Society would have us believe that our late teens and early twenties are for self-discovery-- a time to try new things and make mistakes. Throw caution to the wind rather than proceeding with caution. But this is what I have found: all the "self-discovery" that I have experienced has actually been re-discovery. It seems to me that early adulthood is vital in the shaping of one's character for the rest of life.

Somewhere between the age of 15 and 20 I lost big pieces of myself. Now, as I concentrate on shaping my own character, it is those qualities that I strive to get back. Passion for whatever it is I may be doing. Excitement over everyday things. Genuineness. But the more I long to get back sincerity of my childhood the more challenging it proves to be and I want to go back in time and tell my 15-year-old self "don't lose this part of you. Hang out to it with all you have. That friendship, it's not worth losing your depth and sincerity. And that boyfriend, he in no way deserves to steal your innocence." The fact is, we all make mistakes when we're young. But I would suggest that when we reach this so-called point of "self-discovery" that we don't go searching for someone new. Because maybe what we need to journey back to the simplicity of our younger years. Take the sincerity of your childhood and combine it with the perspective from your adult experiences.Be genuine. Be passionate. Be bold. Be sincere.

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.'"
Matthew 18:3-5

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