“The only thing that is constant (in life) is change.” -Hercules
I never knew how much you truly change in your twenties. My friend Heith used to always tell me that by the time I was hitting thirty I would be a completely different person; and I may not even recognize myself. (I was around 19-20 when he said this). And I would smile and nod- while also rolling my eyes a little. But this year proved that statement to me in just a few short months. And ever since it started; change has been extremely consistent in who I am.
I didn’t really expect to change. I didn’t believe people when they talked about how different they were “back in the day” and just assumed that they had ‘grown up’. I thought only events could change you. Besides the radical “Jesus saved me and changed my life” stories, I honestly didn’t believe that change was such a vital part of life. (Obviously circumstances and situations change, but I’m talking about personality change and emotional change.)
And then we hear stories about how “People change”. Typically, this is for the worse. Or it’s a lifestyle change. Things that you control yourself. Changing the way you eat or your daily exercise. Quitting an addiction or changing the way you treat people. These are things we control. But all the changes I’ve experienced are things that have just happened. Either because of what has taken place in my life or simply because I’m not done growing yet. A lot of it is God moving in my heart and making me into a different person- the process of being perfected that takes a lifetime. And I honestly think some of this change isn’t change at all. It’s simply me discovering who I really am; who I have been all along- which is a completely different person than I have known my entire life.
Life changes you. God changes you. My personality is different. I have always been an ‘extrovert’- and although I would still call myself one; I now see the value and the need to have time to myself. I often choose to decline things or people simply because I want solitude. This was never the case growing up. I felt like if I wasn’t doing something every night then I had no life. I couldn’t say no to anything. But now I actually value being alone sometimes- and I will do whatever it takes to get that. At this point in my life, I much prefer one-on-ones or intimate group settings over large gatherings of people. I need depth and intentional conversation- more than the shallow passing-by exchanges in a crowd. My likes and dislikes have changed. Food preferences, entertainment choices, activities that I deem as “fun”- all very different than what I enjoyed growing up. Some of these may be ‘season of life’ things; but I honestly believe that many of them are just ‘new me’ things. It’s kinda weird a lot of times and I still don’t understand it- but I can’t deny the reality that I am different.
My dreams, desires, preferences. My goals are different. Not just long-term, but even immediate goals. They all look so unlike what I’ve had before. It’s not even all spiritual stuff. I know that moving across the country and going to an intensive ministry-based school will change you for the good and affect many areas of your life. And yes, this did happen. But honestly a lot of these changes are just regular, normal life stuff. Even the way I process and think has radically developed as time goes on. I may have always been an external processor; but I have never loved writing the way I do now. I have never unlocked and fallen in love with this aspect of creativity like I have lately. I need to write. It helps me to get out of my head and put everything away so as to better live in reality. Now, I do believe that this is how God made me all along; and I just had to discover it. I never knew before what I truly was to become, but I am seeing more of my real self everyday. I am made aware of just how different of a person I am becoming as time goes on.
As you go on the journey of growing into who you are and who you are meant to be, everything changes. That’s just life. That’s how it goes. How it’s supposed to go. And once you realize the truth- everything you’re not has to get out of the way. God wants it like this. Why it happens in your twenties? Probably because those are some of the most critical years of your life when you begin to step into independence and become your own person. When you realize the “you” outside of your parents and your family and your backyard. So once we step away from all familiarity in life; that’s when God can start to show us our true person and purpose.
Take the time to re-learn who you are. Especially in your twenties. Honestly though, I believe this is a process that never ends; so we should be aware of how we change later on in life as well. If God never stops working on us and we are continually learning and growing- then we can’t expect ourselves to stay the same. The intentionality we have with getting to know our spouses and our children should be the same as the way we get to know the person in the mirror. Constantly. Re-learn who you are. We should like who we become! The changes in our life will keep reflecting more of Jesus as we continue to follow Him. If not, ask God to help.
I have only lived in Pennsylvania for a year, but everything is different. Much more than my hair color and fashion choices have changed. But I’m learning to be alright with that- and to love who I’m becoming.