Have you ever heard the term “adulting?” I’ll admit that when I first heard the word I was like, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? If we’re not adulting are we “child-ing?” Are we “teenage- ing”? Are we just adding “ing” to the end of words because it sounds funny…ing? Also, when did adult become a verb? Yes, I know what a verb is; don’t be so shocked. Now, what I am about to tell you is not a joke. I started to get so overwhelmed thinking about “adulting” because it reminded me of when they added letters to math.
a2 + b2 = c2
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? A + B = C? No! It equals the word ab.
I’m not sure I’m even adulting this very moment. I lived with my mom until I was married and moved out days before I got married! If that is not enough proof, this was my initial view on marriage: I’ll play golf in the hot afternoon sun, come home to a hot meal prepared by my hot wife, and then we would have, you guessed it… hot sex at least five times.
Is adulting age-related? If that’s the case then I’m definitely adulting because I turned 40 last year. I’ve been alive for four decades, and that idea made me think about my twenty-year-old self. What would I say to him? What advice would I share with 1999 Judah that could assist in his adulting journey? Immediately I would tell him don’t frost the tips of your hair blonde. Remember, frosting the tips? I don’t know how that became a trend, but I fell for it.
There are three things I would tell frosted tips Judah. The first is, be careful what you pray for… you might get it. I know it sounds strange because why would anyone be upset about getting what they pray for? Isn’t that point?
I believe in praying about everything. I pray for parking spots at the mall. I pray the Seattle Seahawks will win every game. Why do I do that? God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to talk to him, and he wants us to ask him about everything. The idea though, that all will be perfect in our lives when he answers our prayers, isn’t true.
I’m a preacher, so I’ll pick on my kind. We pastors are notorious for praying big magnanimous prayers. “God, bring your children in by thousands! We are prepared for the throngs of people. With these thousands, we will go into all nations and find more thousands!”
This is not a bad prayer. I’ve prayed similar prayers, but on the other side of it often comes more than we anticipated. What really comes with thousands of people? More staff, more buildings, and more responsibility. A responsibility to care and tend to the souls of more people including, your families and your own. What about parking for thousands? Parking is huge!
What are you saying, Judah? Don’t pray for more people to hear the story of Jesus? No, what I’m saying is, you might get what you prayed for. An answered prayer isn’t the end-all answer. Life can become harder. You might find yourself frustrated, tired, or unsure. Suddenly, without even noticing, the very thing you asked for has become a source of anxiety and self-doubt. But here’s the encouragement:
When God does answer your prayer, he won’t leave you. How reassuring is that? God has already prepared a way for you to handle whatever comes after. He will walk with you through every step of your answered prayer.
The second thing I would tell my younger self is, be content with where you are because you are only wherever you are. Young Judah’s response would be much like mine from earlier, “WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?” It means to enjoy the moment.
I’m definitely that guy at the party who tells the people talking about work the next day to “Live in the moment.” Why talk about work tomorrow when we could be laughing and dancing right now? I always want the moment I’m living in to be the very best moment. I don’t want to get caught up in last week’s moment or next month’s moment. I want to fully be where I am—present and engaging all my senses
The word content means to be in a state of peaceful happiness or a state of satisfaction. My pastor, Brian Houston, likes to say, “Life is long and life is short.” Life is too short to be wondering about where you want to be or could be and miss out on a good conversation over gluten-free food with friends. Enjoy life where you are.
As a matter of fact, living in the moment can take off the pressure of pleasing everybody. Many of us deal with being people pleasers—young Judah sure did. Today, I can still fall into that lifestyle. I want to be with my wife and three children 24/7 and make sure they are happy and well. I also want to be with my friends playing golf where I win but they win too. I also want to be with our Churchome family every second of every day. I want everyone to be HAPPY! Do I have an issue? That’s not the point! When you live in the moment, you become content with where you are. You stop worrying about other moments you might be missing out on. You forget about what someone, somewhere, may be thinking about you. Where you are is a good place. Where you are is where God has you right now.
The final thing I would tell twenty-something Judah is, be careful how you use your words. Words are so powerful. There could never be too much emphasis on the words that leave our lips. What we say to people and to ourselves is significant. Dare I say, life-altering.
Chelsea and I have a rule in our marriage, we never use the “D” word. Divorce. Why do we have that rule? Words have power! I don’t want to imagine the pain I would cause my wife by inserting that word into an argument just because I was hot and bothered. The phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” could not be further from the truth. It should be “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can kill my soul.”
In the same way, words can make all the difference in someone’s life. A few encouraging, kind words can change a person’s entire day. I say, “love” a lot. I tell my wife and kids I love them every chance I get because I LOVE THEM and I want them to hear it! I also love my family, friends, golf, eggs, clothes, bright colors, and the uber driver from earlier today. I don’t love cats. I can tell you that much. I use the word love so much friends have started to call me out on it.
“Judah, do you know you say the word love a lot?”
“I know man. I do love you though. Also, I really love that linen shirt you’re wearing.” “Thanks, but you realize you just told the barista you love them.”
“OH!! I DID? That’s embarrassing, huh? Well, the thing is, I do.”
I recognize that I tend to be dramatic, but I love the word love. Speaking kind words to others will never go out of style. I love (see what I did there) Proverbs 18:21 (MSG). “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Wait a second, did he really say it is our choice? Words can kill or they give life, and it’s our choice? Yeah, a choice we have to make a thousand times a day! I read once that for every negative word used, it will take five positive words to counteract the power of the negative.
Can you imagine if the entire world for one minute only spoke life-giving words? I think the results would be amazing. Jesus was always intentional with his words. He spoke love, life, and truth and never once used them to kill. That sounds pretty adulting to me.
Judah Smith is the Lead Pastor of Churchome, formerly The City Church, with locations in Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California. Churchome is a thriving multi-site church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus.
Judah is known around the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. His fresh, anointed, humorous messages demystify the Bible and make Jesus real. Judah is also the author of New York Times best-selling book, Jesus Is ____. Judah and his wife Chelsea have three children, Zion, Eliott, and Grace.
Follow Judah on Instagram @judahsmith