The Young Adult Life

You know, there are some days where you feel like you’ve totally got this whole ‘adult’ thing down, and there are other days that seem to chew you up and spit you out. I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for everything that’s out there in the world once they turn eighteen.

As a child, I thought I’d have to deal with big issues like being set on fire (stop, drop, and roll, anyone?) or the Bermuda Triangle and all those missing ships. Things like ruffians, thugs, poison ivy, quicksand.

It turns out the modern American life as a young adult woman living thousands of miles away from family is less adventurous (and far less glamorous), than what I could have thought.  

Instead, we have to deal with bigger issues, like bills you weren’t expecting, having to replace things like a car battery, and watching out for people trying to take advantage of us. The list could really go on and on. But for the purpose of this week’s blog, I’m going to focus on that last one.

People who want to take advantage of you.

It had been a bad week. I’d not been sleeping well and I already felt stressed. I’d run into Walmart to grab a few things with a friend and was walking down the aisle when suddenly a man stepped into my face. He was offering some sort of deal that I ‘qualified’ for. I tried to pretend to be ignorant, and walk away, but he was in front of me, halfway between me and the cart, and I couldn’t step around.

I tried to question what he was offering so I could deny it and step away politely. But once I did, he mocked me. Looked me into my eye, mimicked my voice, my stance, and repeated what I’d said back to me in a nasally, dramatic way.

Totally a great sign to get out and away from the situation, right? Well, yes, normally, it is. And it would have been, if he hadn’t mocked me in the exact same way my childhood bullies used to.

I knew it was a scam, but I didn’t see an out. I started panicking. I stopped thinking. Before I could understand why I was freaking out or what was going on, he’d signed me up for the program and sent me on my way.

I felt like I was going to puke. I finished my errands in a daze, drove home, then called my mom and proceeded to bawl my eyes out. (Super adult response I know).

I felt so stupid and like the progress I’d made, all the freedom and capabilities I’d worked so hard for, were tossed out the window…

There is joy in every situation.

I could say the joy is that I ‘learned from my utter and complete idiocy. That I’ll refuse to be intimidated or taken advantage of ever again and that at least I learned to not be so stupid all the time’. At least, that was what I wanted to think.

Sometimes, when we feel like the progress we’ve made has been tarnished or lost, it’s easy to sit down and accept defeat. To look at the mess we’re in, throw up your hands and say ‘yes, they were right. I am an idiot/failure/whatever demeaning, negative word, the enemy has assigned to you’. But here’s the joy: That’s not true.

Just because we’ve taken a step back, messed up, doesn’t mean you’re stupid or a failure. It was a mistake, which, newsflash is not the end of the world.

I had to bawl my eyes out before I could see that, just because I was intimidated, it didn’t mean I was weak.

The joy is that there is grace. Not the demeaning, judgmental, ‘well, at least you’ll never make that mistake again’, grace. I’m talking about the calm, gentle, ‘it’s okay, I don’t think you’re stupid’, type of grace.

Sometimes you must bawl your eyes out before you can find joy. But once you do, and once you’ve felt your feelings, it’s there, waiting in the grace of the Lord.

So, if you’ve ever made a mistake, or been scammed, or have taken a backward step in your healing journey… it’s okay. I don’t think you’re stupid, and most importantly… neither does God.

By the way–I’m judging a writing contest! Anyone is welcome to participate, so please, check out the details below!

(Check out the details here!)

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