I didn’t think I would be disappointed by adulthood in the ways I have. I thought I would be sad that I didn’t make more money, or that my pants didn’t fit anymore and I was developing more wrinkles than my coconut oil regimen could keep up with.
To my surprise, these things have been easy for me. I shop only at the cheapest grocery store always, and though our income has increased a bit, the budget has remained the same. Inflation is always keeping up with our raises. But this bothers me less and less the more I grow. I am learning that I will never be anywhere near a millionaire, and that I might as well hunker down in middle class and make a happy home here.
In the same vein, my pants don’t fit like they used to in college, and I don’t have as spry of a step or as plumpy of cheeks or as shiny of hair. But I’m not so devastated by this, like I thought I might be. I’ve learned a smaller pants size simply doesn’t equate to being loved, and when I spent times googling diet hacks or how to run for fat loss, that’s what I was actually seraching for all along. To be adored for who I was, not how many inches my waist contained. In fact, the sweetest type of love comes when it’s irregardless of the size of one’s clothes, especially when they’re bigger than we might prefer. When someone simply loves me, my soul—that’s the only thing I can’t live without.
And I think that’s why I’m becoming disappointed in adulthood. In my twenties, the Holy Spirit has been so gracious to me, allowed me to undo all the unkind narratives of “if I don’t make 100K a year, I’m going to be homeless and depressed” and “if I don’t fit into size X of jeans, then I will be fat and miserable.” He has held my hand through those hostile and unkind thoughts, and led me out the other side into freedom from the world’s ridiculous and ungracious expectations.
But I watch as so many people still harbor them. They wear these stories of bank account depression and body shame like a tattoo that can’t be removed.
And everyone is so busy. So busy they don’t even have a moment to notice just how misconstrued their motives have become.
“How are you?”
“Tried. Just been going every weekend.”
“This is the first Saturday in two months we haven’t been out of town.”
So busy chasing smaller pants and nicer homes and fancier vacations and higher achievements that real love and genuine community feel like a burden rather than a joy.
I don’t know if God has graced me with the realization that life isn’t worth living when I’m chasing after those things, but I feel very alone in this conviction lately, and today I’m just sad. Because honestly, I’m really happy and content in a million ways, but I’m also lonely in this happiness.
I really love not being anxiously bound to a particular income level or body standard or specific life I must live up to, but it seems like all the other Christians around me are worried about money, worried about perfection, so worried about buying a house or improving the one they have, that life and friendship and real community and genuinely thriving prayer life and intimacy with God are slipping through their fingers, and they don’t even know it.
They are all living in the future, but I’m here in the present waiting to be friends with someone and go to coffee and be thrilled that we don’t have kids yet so that we can go on spontaneous coffee dates, instead of always wishing for a future season of motherhood or retirement or something else. I want to talk about what we love about life now and what God is doing in our lives now, not in some distant season, with some distant salary.
And on this hypothetical coffee date, I don’t want to rush the time. I want to sip my cappuccino slowly, and linger at the table for more than an hour, and get kicked out because they are closing shop. And I want my friend to tell me what is on their heart, not just what is on their schedule. I want to hear the sins that are lingering closely, and I want to rip them off of them. And I want them to do the same for me.
I just want a real, life-giving, well-known and well-worn community. I want conversations with people whose relationships have been broken in, like my tennis shoes finally after a few months of wearing them. I want this more than I want a bigger bank account. More than I want my dream job. More than I want a smaller pants size.
I feel very alone in this sometimes.
Sometimes I think I’m part of the .5% who are willing to give it all up—worldly gain, etc.— to take time and build space to know and love and to be known and be loved.
I supposed I just wish that we were all willing to stop the extra work hours, to stop looking for another side hustle, to lower our standard of living so that we could live well, and not just live a lot.
I am willing to have a smaller house, non-fancy meals, and less and less clothes if it means I get more communion with God’s people, if I get to be closer with them and actually have time to look them in the eyes and have a real conversation on a weekly basis.
I want to be rich in relationship and intimacy with others and God, not necessarily in my bank account.
And sometimes I think we essentially say “this salary is worth more to me than deep relationship” when we give up one for the other.
Anyone with me?
I’m praying this over my own life, and over the busy, bustling, distracted American church today.
I know that we all have to have jobs and make money. I have a job and make money, just like everyone else. But I think maybe our standard for our bank accounts just isn’t the same as God’s. And His standard for our relationships is higher too.
Maybe I’m too much of a dreamer.
Or maybe God is just good enough offer us deep relationship, if we will just lay down our idols.
With all my love,