Well folks, today is special. Today, on the 19th of 2019, I turn—
I know. I was disappointed about that too.
Two years ago, I wrote a post commemorating my 16th birthday. The majority of it was spent rambling about the responsibilities of growing up, how frightening it was to be the age of Katniss Everdeen, and the seriousness of being so close to adulthood. I thought I’d reached a peak moment in my maturity that no amount of added years or experience could possibly top.
A friend told me, “Just wait until you turn 18. It gets worse.”
I didn’t believe her.
As the youngest child in my family, I’ve spent my life watching my older siblings grow up – observing, from the distance of years between us, as they learned how to drive or got their first job or were finally allowed to go to the grocery store by themselves. (A pinnacle achievement, let me tell ya.)
Every once in a while, they’d mention the fact that one day, I’d be doing those things too, and I would… well…
ME? Grow up? How dare they. I was beyond such a petty and insignificant detour in the human experience. I was ageless. An old soul forced into the immature body of a chubby-faced nerd. A fortress of precocious intellect. A bastion of wisdom beyond my years.
Me? GROW UP?
Honey, I already had.
I’d always lived in an ageless sort of bubble. My two older siblings are vibrant, explosive personalities who careen through life with as much vigor as (though fortunately more manners than) the Thirteen Dwarves. But I’m the Loki to their Thor. They feel with the burning intensity of a volcano, quick to explode and quick to cool. I, on the other hand, observe from the quietness of my own mind, filtering every thought and emotion through the cold eyes of logic.
They grew up with a burst of fireworks. My transition was much more… subtle. Thus, I’d somehow formulated the opinion that because I was more low-key than them, I was more prepared for life than them.
(Hint: I wasn’t.)
(Did I ever tell you that I’m as humble as I am prepared for the world?)
And THAT, my friends, is when the Lord decided to drop 2019 on me.
I don’t know why this year in particular put me in such a flutter. Maybe the realization that I’d no longer be a minor, but a legal adult. Maybe the knowledge that I could technically adopt a child. Maybe the fact that my library’s summer reading program wouldn’t let me be in the category for teenagers and instead stuck me in the adult section.
(I was thoroughly disgruntled. The teenagers get way better prizes. Like cookies.)
Whatever the case, it finally hit me: The knowledge of growing up — the thing I spent so many years viewing as a far-off process that couldn’t touch me — was finally happening.
And I was like…
I AM NOT PREPARED FOR THIS.
“You must feel like you’re on top of the world,” someone recently said. “Balanced on the cusp of your life and raring to see what the future has in store for you.”
At the time, I smiled and laughed. But I wanted to tell him that I felt like I was standing at the bottom of a mountain, staring at the peaks so far above and wondering how on earth I’d reach them. There is so much I don’t know — about the world, about myself, about the God I serve — and now, more than ever was I painfully aware of my ignorance.
But when I looked around, I saw the world lauding adulthood as some sacrosanct occurrence teenagers should be falling over themselves to get to faster. Because… because…
INDEPENDENCE! OPPORTUNITY! NO PARENTS! THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE! FUN! A FUTURE! ROMANCE! TAXES! MORE FUN! COLLEGE DEBT! EVEN MORE FUN! MICROWAVABLE KRAFT MACARONI! DEPRESSION! CAR REPAIRS! OVERDUE RENT! BORING JOB! BAD RELATIONSHIPS! POOR CHOICES!
And did I mention FREEDOM?!?!
Yeah, I’m not falling into that trap.
And yet, at the same time, I see the truth in their ideology. Sure, their concept of “freedom” and “fun” might be downright faulty, but they’re not wrong when they talk about the separation of child and parent. Where I was once Biblically compelled to follow my parents’ choices (Ephesians 6:1), I’m now faced with the vast responsibility of my own convictions. Hiding behind their beliefs is no longer an option.
Do I still respect — and NEED — their influence in my life? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, God will hold me responsible for what I believe.
Maybe… maybe that’s the terrifying part. Maybe that’s the thing keeping me up at night, the thing plaguing my life this year:
Because I don’t know what I believe.
When arrogance is stripped away and I’m being completely honest with myself, I know in the darkest corners of my soul that if I were to face the real world, I wouldn’t be able to give a proper defense for why I live the way I do.
“But JESUS!” I say. “But GOD! See what He’s done in my life! See how He loves me!”
Compelling reasons, I’ll give you that, and 100% true. But strip away the personal experiences, and what do I have? Why do I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? Why do I believe homosexuality is wrong? Why do I believe prayer is important, or selflessness, or a set moral code?
Because of my parents?
That’s not good enough.
I want to hold onto my convictions because I know they’re true. I want to burn with the passion that only comes when I’ve made something my own. I want to scour the Bible until know; not because I was told, but because, with the Lord’s help, I discovered.
I want to “abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,” (Philippians 1:9) so when I’m faced with the world and the dark temptations Satan has in store, I won’t be led astray. I’ll know what is right and what is truth.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)
So today, the struggle finally becomes real.
Today, I’m a legal adult.
And it’s not like anything’s changed — not really. I am the same person today that I was yesterday. The thoughts and feelings and dreams and fears that churned inside my head as a 17-year-old still churn — some stronger, some lesser — as before. But perhaps the difference is that this year, more than ever, I want to grow in my faith and knowledge as a Child of God.
Whether you’re 14, or 16, or 18, or 20, I hope you do the same. There’s a big world out there that we don’t have to face yet. But when we do, we need to be ready.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Peter 3:15)
Also, look at this notebook a friend gave me for my birthday:
I REPEAT: LLAMAS.
Yes, I’m tacky. I don’t even care.
19 thoughts on “How Firm a Foundation // preparing our testimony for adulthood”
Wow, Sarah. This really resounded with me! Growing up is so scary, oh my goodness. All my life I have looked so forward to growing up and being an adult and now that all my dreams are materializing, I’m like WHOAH HOLD ON NO I’M NOT THERE YET FOLKS, YOU’VE GOT ME WRONG. I’M REALLY ONLY 12. (I’m going to be 18 in 3 weeks – what’s up with all these bloggers turning 18??) Like you, the older I get, the more I realize there is so much I don’t know. The older I get the more important it is for me to cling to my faith and realize WHY I cling to it and WHY it matters to me.
The thing that we can rest in is that just because we may be adults now, we are STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS! God is sanctifying us in His own perfect timing and so while we may not have all the answers now and never will, we get more and more answers and knowledge and understanding as we live and search out the Scriptures and strive to glorify God and learn more about Him!
So yeah, good post, Sarah. 🙂 Happy birthday!
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Wow…. You took my brain and turned into a blog post… You took copyright material…. Or you are secretly Constance Contraire….
I feel every bit of this post, only I still have a month to go before I’m 18 and I am unfortunately… The oldest child in my family lol. 😂
I needed this today.
Happy Birthday Sarah, hope it is as lovely and delightful as you. ❤
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Oh my did I post all that in a reply comment?
You did. XD
First of all, LOKI.
Second of all: L O K I
THIRD OF ALL: We need more Loki. XD
But seriously, this post?….
“Because of my parents?
That’s not good enough.
I want to hold onto my convictions because I know they’re true. I want to burn with the passion that only comes when I’ve made something my own. I want to scour the Bible until know; not because I was told, but because, with the Lord’s help, I discovered.”
….This post was IT. THERE’S JUST SO MUCH AWESOMENESS HERE, there aren’t the words for it. Every person no matter their age needs to hear this message, Christians can’t just keep hiding behind the authority figures in their lives (aka parents, pastors, etc), we can’t afford to be spineless sea creatures! — It’s our job to get into God’s word, learn what is right and wrong for ourselves and GET A BACKBONE. Otherwise this world is gonna squash us flat as pancakes.
And I don’t know about everyone else, but I sure don’t want to be a pancake XD
Also, H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y S A R A H! Make sure to eat some ice cream for me ;D
“I’d always lived in an ageless sort of bubble.”
PS. Guess who tagged you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! *Points at link below*
Marvelous and so true and agggghhhh it’s so inspiring to see people go forth with this mindset.
People think they won’t be swayed to do things just because they see other people doing them, but doubt not, you Reepicheep—your example in this will be such a good one to those around you. I’ve been realizing the importance of this at a slow burn over the last some time; how you will NOT be able to effectively show others WHY it’s a good idea (the best idea) to be a Christian if you live it, but couldn’t explain it if they asked you. It’s one thing to know all this intuitively, but if someone asked, I do NOT wanna be caught tongue-tied. (Esp. because some people literally don’t know things that I’d think should be common knowledge.) There’s so much. So much to become knowledgeable enough to speak about with confidence. The good thing is, when God is this important to us, it becomes that much more delightful to learn and talk about His ways. 😀
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EVERYONE’S FAVORITE BLOGGER. Guys, aren’t you glad God made a Sarah Baran?
Ooooohhh yes. This reminds me of something a friend said that I thought was very wise.
“As a child you were told what the truth is. As a teenager you were told why it’s the truth. As a young adult, you decide for yourself what you believe is true. And when you move out…You quickly see if what you say you believe is what you truly believe.”
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Welcome to 18.
By two years.
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Happy birthday, Sarah!! I’ll be praying for you as you enter this new stage of life. It’s not all fun, and it’s not all bad, but I know it will be all good. ❤
Also, I had my fingers shifted over one key when I tried to type that first line (new keyboard troubles) and somehow, "Happy" turned into "Gaoot." GAOOT. I then spend about a minute retyping my new favorite word over and over again. (Then I tried to type Happy and failed several times.) 😂
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, 18 years sounds scary to me.
…I want to hold onto my convictions because I know they’re true. I want to burn with the passion that only comes when I’ve made something my own. I want to scour the Bible until know; not because I was told, but because, with the Lord’s help, I discovered.
YES YESSS YESSSSS!!!!!!!!! This is now one of my favorite quotes 🙂 I will pray that as you “scour the Bible”, you will grow firmly established in the knowledge of the truth.
And I have a donut-covered notebook, so I can’t judge you and your llama-covered notebook. XD
This was truly beautiful, Sarah. I will pray that you will experience victory in Christ! Have you ever read the book “Victory in Christ,” by Charles Trumball?
May you be like the faithful and diligent believers at Berea!
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Welcome to the (completely overrated) world of adulthood. XD
(I think I covered all the important things XD)
Wow. This is so so true. I’m turning eighteen in less than three weeks, and it’s slightly scary? O_o. Maybe more than slightly.
And I think that our whole life we spend growing up a little bit more. I usually think of myself as so mature wherever I am right now, and don’t realize how much I need to change and focus more on Christ.
I really resonate with realizing that we’re at a point where we have to think for ourselves, and our parents aren’t deciding everything for us anymore. (Which actually caused a huge mixup because my mom was telling me something and I took it as I had to, not that it was advice I could leave or take.)
Growing up is hard. But yeah – all that is to say…happy eighteenth Sarah!!!
I appreciate your wisdom and sarcasm all bundled up together. It always makes me think and puts the focus back on our King. 🙂
And LLAMAS!!! That is awesome. 🙂
This was an amazing post, Sarah! 😀 Thank you very much for sharing.
AND HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Many happy returns. *gives you cake and throws confetti*
(Do you want to know something absolutely insane though…the 19th of July is the b-day of two other of my friends, and they both happened to turn 18 yesterday as well… O-o XD)
ALSO. LOKI. <33
Happy Birthday, Sarah! I’ve survived two years of adulting. More importantly, the world has survived two years of ME. I love your focus! I totally don’t think I had a thought in my head beyond cake and graduating at 18.
We can never learn all there is to know about God. We can never study His word too much. But the one thing adulting has taught me is that He will not allow the world to only ask the questions you have answers for. He doesn’t want us to give glib answers and feel good about ourselves for giving them. He wants those questions to send us to our knees, crying out for clarity, and for forgiveness for our failure to represent Him. He doesn’t want you to have it all together, He wants to keep you running to Him, because He knows how desperately we need Him.
When the world triumphs over your inability to answer the questions it puts to you, remember that you have not failed if that inability sends you back to Jesus. Your journey won’t end when you turn 19, or 25, 50 or 100. God is beyond our comprehension, and we will be learning about Him for eternity. And if that isn’t a mind-blowing thought, I don’t know what is 😀
Happy Birthday, Sarah! You didn’t mention this, but you’ve also reached the age for voting and Michigan is a swing state, so your vote actually counts (*cough* California *cough*). How’s that for pressure? 😛
Since I’m 17 at the moment and beginning to apply to colleges, the scariness of having to stay true to your own convictions really resonates with me. May God help us both 🙂
Wow, happy belated birthday!!! I wish I had read this post on the day-of. But still, THIS IS HUGE and believe me, even though I’m still sixteen I can completely relate to trying to figure out exactly WHAT I believe and WHY I believe what I do. The struggle is real at all ages, but especially as one gets older. >.<
I can't believe it's only two years until I'm an adult. Reading this post reminded me of what a huge deal it is to "grow up" (though hey- even if you're legally an adult, you can still be a child at heart 😉
You're 18… WOW. But God's got you, Sarah. <33
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! ❤ ❤ Oh Sarah. Sarah Sarah Sarah. This has made me rethink my liiiiffffeeee. I'm pretty far away from adulthood, but not really, y'know? Wow, I mean, you really get me thinking! Like, WOW. Thank you for all this thoughtfulness. You'll make it. 😉
Also, LOKI. It's LOKI. ❤
I’m turning 16 next month, and I can clearly remember a time when my younger self looked upon 16 as like, SUPER OLD. I said, “There’s no way I’ll live that long.”
It’s also kind of amusing, because I’m pretty short, and I get people either thinking I’m way younger than I am, or way older. They never get my age right 😂 I AM AGELESS.
Also, love your llama notebook. 😃