Oh, the dreaded quarterlife crisis. Having entered the scene with the millennial era, it’s crippling 20-somethings in droves. Essentially, it’s centered around the base questions of humanity: Who am I? What am I made for? Am I enough?
As kids, we were told that we could all make a change, that each one of us would be president, astronaut, queen, whatever we desired. We received trophies for sitting on the bench.
Now, when the glory days of little league are over and life is hitting, fear begins to set in. “What if I end up like my mother?” “What if I never live up to my dad’s expectations?” “What do I even want to do with my life? Once I figure that out, what if I can’t do it?”
While friends level up in their dream job, start having kids and families of their own, we’re here wondering if there will ever be an opportunity for us besides our current jobs. Maybe the epidemic hasn’t hit you yet, but you’re beginning to feel the symptoms.
Maybe it’s caught you full-swing. Maybe you’re the one with the dream job who’s still wondering if you’re on the right track.
Whether you’re dreading it or fighting it, there are tools to conquer the quarterlife crisis before it takes over.
Take a Social Media Fast
It’s hard to hear Christ whisper His unique plan when a hundred other people are broadcasting their own.
We all by now have heard the adage “comparison kills joy.” In this day and age, social media is idealism’s H2O. With this bit of sustenance gone, food for discontentment will be limited, and more thoughtspace will be freed up.
While fasting from the feed, center on the now.
Check out the board-game night that record store you’ve been curious about. Read that book your dad recommended while you wait in line at the DMV. Volunteer at the local food bank.
Whatever it is that focuses your mind on the here and now instead of the “what if I nevers,” dive into that this week.
Wage War on Idleness
Rest is not idleness.
Self-care is not idleness. Idleness is unproductivity. It’s sitting on the couch wishing you had something to do, while never moving a finger. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6, we are warned to “keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness.”
Leading ultimately to discontentment, such supineness spins into a vicious cycle of mental wanderings to all you wish you were doing, leading then to discontentment so discouraging it draws you back to the cementitious idea that there’s nothing to be done, so why try?
If as you’re reading this you realize you’re caught in this spinning drum of epoxy, go back to what you did at first. What did you revel in as a child? If you painted, pick up a brush, even if it’s been a decade.
Invest in these organic joys.
Allow them to spark in you once more the same inspiration they did when you were little. There was a reason you loved them- find it again.
Fight Fear With Love
Recognize that the Master Creator knew what He was doing when He formed you. The dreams you have are there for a reason. Stripped down to the core, they were instilled by God for a purpose. Because the enemy has twisted so many areas which once were beautiful, we often forget that the Lord Almighty is the Author of satisfaction and pleasure.
According to James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
However, for those from broken backgrounds, the thought of a “good gift” can be somewhat intangible. So, we step in, try to help God out, make sure He doesn’t forget anything, or that what He has in mind is actually good. Fighting the lies of insecurity with the truth of who God is is one of the most important steps to conquering a quarterlife crisis.
Until we fully trust Him with our lives, we will not be able to understand that in the end, our lives will be beautiful only because of Him and His unfailing grace.
Recognize That It’s Not All on You
You will fail.
You will let the people around you down, at least once. It’s inevitable. And life will continue on. You are simply one element in His master plan for humanity, but you are an ingredient nonetheless.
Just like a craftsman, God will ensure that each piece of His puzzle is working as it should, given that we allow ourselves to be moldable. When you live your life in obedience, He promises to “make straight the paths before you” (Isaiah 45:2).
It’s not up to you to be perfect, just to keep your eyes on Him. He will guide and direct you. We get so caught up in the grand scheme of things sometimes that we forget our Father cares about our job situation, our home life, our relationships, everything. We forget He is Lord over those, too (or perhaps we try to become “lord” over them). As you come to terms with the fact that it’s not about you, the pressure will slowly lift.
As you realize that our Father is purely good, loves you infinitely more than you could fathom and is in control, anticipation begins to build. As you learn that your life calling, be it as an accountant, filmmaker, football coach, whatever, is for the good of the Kingdom,thus inherently blessing you as a child of the Kingdom, excitement begins to grow and the fear surrounding any life crises leaves.
You don’t have to be subject to this millennial epidemic. Following Him does not mean putting your head down and accepting a boring, mediocre life. Because He has so much more for us than this, the enemy will fight to steal that joy and adventure.
This is a massively effective derailing tactic of his right now, so it is imperative we know how to effectively fight back and strengthen our own guard rails as the rising generation.