The in-between

I could write hundreds of blogs about being “in-between” different stages of life. And maybe I will. But for now, here’s in-between blog 1. The focus: the patterns of this world.

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I had coffee tonight with a friend from Europe who told me about this girl he adores back at home, and how they can’t be together for a while because he’s studying abroad.

He told me he was upset, but that he’s resigned himself to acceptance.

I asked “So, when you finally move back home, then what? Do you want to get married? What are y’all going to do?”

“Oh, no. That’s not even an option.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“People in Europe don’t get married until they’re at least 30 years old.”

“No way!” I said. “Why?” (Maybe they had some really sophisticated, logical reason for it all.)

“I mean what’s the point? You just get divorced anyway. And it’s not like you get a real job making that much money until you’re at least 27. But, once you are making money, you use that money to pay for your car, your house, you know. People go to college, then grad school, then get an internship, then a job.”

Sound familiar?

It sounds so bad when you say it out loud like that.

But in my American, twenty-something-year-old bubble, I rarely questioned this “your- twenties- are- all- about- you” mentality.

Now, I do. But, I’m in between.

Is it wrong to dedicate a number of years to your self before dedicating a number of other years to someone else? To establish yourself before taking on a family?

Is it selfish? Or is it looking out for your best interest? Or is that selfish too?

Where do we draw the line?

Paul says in Romans, “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

God, please transform my mind to think like you.

I’m learning the “patterns of this world” go beyond physical behaviors; they’re thought patterns too, which may be harder to shake.

I don’t want to be a conformist with a “Me, me, me” diatribe. I want to be liberated from the pressure and prison of constantly having to please myself.

That’s what I want my twenties to be aboutand my thirties and forties and fifties and sixties, chasing after Him, making holiness and purity of heart the goal. Building up His kingdom, not my own. Pleasing Him, not me.

As our conversation continued, sadness and anger snuck in because I recognized the cultural conformist in me.

I don’t want to perpetuate a society that glorifies self above others, or most strikingly above God. I want to take on the responsibility of infusing God’s goodness and truth into this world, whether it be through the example of marriage, friendship or family.

As I pursue God, I feel the spiritual growing pains Paul describes in Romans 8:22-23:  “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

Part of the pain is God stretching me. Part of it is realizing my sinfulness and willingness to accept my culture’s beliefs for truth.

But, God is faithful. He will not leave me; He will not run because of the unflattering flaws in my heart.

He’s a selfless God. A God who conforms to no culture other than Himself. He continually, eternally calls his bride (The Church) to “Come and take the free gift of the water of life” Revelation 22:17.

So, while I may be in-between, He is with me and He is good.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. taracondon says:

    Reb, I have observed in young romantic relationships (and I’m talking teenagers here) the tendency to seek self-pleasure rather than self-sacrifice in the interest of serving another person. It’s easy to stand on my middle-aged pedestal and judge youth. I blame it on their undeveloped brains. Or lack of God-centeredness. Or a narcissistic, flawed character. But when I get honest with myself, I can see that even my “self-sacrificing love” can be self-serving. Am I motivated to love others because I like what I get in return? Sometime, yes. My heart longs to lean into God so completely that His love flows through me with no expectation of what I get in return. I think that takes surrendering to God and yielding my own humanity to allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing in me. 💜

    1. alexisreb says:

      Totter! Thank you so much for sharing that and for reading. Your thoughts are beautiful. I couldn’t agree more with all that you’ve said. “Am I motivated to love others because I like what I get in return?” Thats a painful one to ask yourself. But aren’t the hard questions the ones that promote the most growth in our souls? I think so! Love you Tot.

      Reb

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