Well, it’s official. My brain is fully developed. Now, I have no excuse for my shenanigans.  

I turned twenty-five today, and as I think about the past year of life, I reflect on what a wild ride it was. For some reason, as a kid, I would always try to picture what ‘twenty-four’ would look like. I’d imagine myself as a married woman with a baby on my hip, grocery shopping. Or a businesswoman, wearing slacks and looking Professional™.

Yet, I never once pictured myself as a published author living in Cambridge, Ohio, over 3,000 miles from my family. In the past year that I’ve been twenty-four, I’ve herded pigs, published a book, and moved from Zanesville to Cambridge.

But the question approaches: Have I done enough? Did I accomplish what I wanted to? Or have I wasted the year of twenty-four? I don’t think I can be considered a ‘young adult’ anymore. Did I waste that part of my life?

Birthdays tend to bring up big life questions. In fact, it’s so common that it’s actually called ‘the birthday blues’ or ‘birthday depression’.

Something about growing up makes you think about the big existential questions about the universe.

Well, I’m no expert, but upon reflecting on this past year, here are three things God has taught me about the age of ‘twenty-four’ and maybe these mindsets can help you.

1. You’re not going to know everything you need to—and that’s okay.

When you turn eighteen, there’s a lot of pressure. Choose a degree, pick a college, and figure out life as fast as you can. But it takes a while to figure out what you want to do with your life. In fact, I’d argue that it can take a lifetime to figure that out.

You don’t need to know everything. And you certainly don’t need to be perfect at doing something once you learn how to do it. Being an adult isn’t knowing everything. It’s learning to ask for help when you need it.

2. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Life is change, and change is hard.

But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean you’re going in the wrong direction. Hard things are often worth doing. (I wrote a whole blog about this here).

3. God really, really loves me.

This is a lesson He’ll be teaching me for the rest of my life because, at this point, I’m certain I will always be discovering new ways God loves me. New depths to his affections for me. This past year was the year of learning how God loves me through other people.

Funny enough, this lesson started at the same time last year, right around my birthday. It was March 2023. I was having issues with my relationship with God and feeling His presence and love. For some reason, something just wasn’t clicking for me. I was also having a difficult time accepting positive feedback on my work. I remember sitting at the table in the office with my mentor, Brad, on the other side.

Through tears, I explained to him my situation. That my need for affirmation and positive feedback was like a bottomless well inside of me that nobody but God could fill—and if nobody but God could fill it, then I couldn’t accept it from the people around me. It was unrealistic to ask anyone to even attempt to fill that well, so I’d boarded it up with nails and wooden boards. Nothing was going to get into that well.

“But Alli,” Brad leaned forward. “What if God wants to use other people to fill that need?”

The concept shocked me. I’d never considered that God would use the Christians around me to reassure me of His love and truth. It was at that moment that I shifted the wooden boards I’d nailed over the top of the well. I opened up to the idea that I didn’t have to just accept the negative things people said about me but that I could actually accept the positive, too.

It was that beginning moment, that tiny part of my heart saying yes to a new idea, that changed everything. From that moment, God started teaching me about His love and His presence in those around me. So many people have poured into me since then. So many people have changed my life since then.

Being a young adult is hard—being a human in a broken world is hard. But going through a broken world alone and isolated is harder.


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