If you want to see inside the heart and mind of a Christian Millennial, check out INK, a blog written by Hannah Sillars. She gave us permission to repost one of her blog entries from a few years ago when she was still a college student. If her words are representative of other young Christian adults, the church is in good hands.
“You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors/it’s the morning of your very first day…”
Songs are written about being fifteen. No one writes on ages twenty, twenty-one or twenty-two, and I know why. This is the Great Unrest, when you are wise enough to know better but still not wise enough. Everybody says this is the time you choose who you want to be, and what you do (or fail to do) determines the trajectory of the rest of your life.
Face-down and eye-level with the ants on your dorm room carpet, you don’t try to smoosh them anymore. You see them flailing and know how it feels to carry three times your body weight.
You get used to the taste of sleep deprivation in your mouth. It tastes like desperation and dining hall coffee. You doubt you will feel nostalgia about this, ever.
Still, around lunch tables, over cups of milk and curly fries, you find kindred spirits. There are the people who dislike you for no apparent reason. There are also the ones who love you, even (and especially) when you can’t tell why.
But, it’s in an empty racquetball court after a most overwhelming day, when you’re all pink and stained and heartswollen, where God finds you. He comes in the form of Mrs. Rienhardt, who asks what’s on your mind, and reminds you of all the things you should know already, but have forgotten.
Then, stressed beyond belief over your sudden lack of motivation, beneath a sky of faded stars you consider collapsing in the soccer field for dramatic effect. You’ve heard of it done before. (Maybe God hears prayers best when spoken from that position?) Don’t do it (ticks).
You never work out as much as you should. You will never unsay all those things you said. You will never be as whole or perfect as you would like to be. You will never be able to rewrite this story. But who you are in Christ is who you are. Your identity in Christ is your real identity. It’s not the future version of you, the perfect Form of you that He loves.
People do things you don’t understand. They fail you. You can choose to let your educated mind wallow in the safe realm of facts and abstract truths–or you, too, can forgive as Sonia to an unrepentant Raskolnikov. You can live the poetry of Penelope at her loom, choosing peace and daily fidelity in a world of pyre-frenzied Dido’s.
There may never be Four (discernable) Causes clarifying the particulars of your circumstances, making them manageable. But you know the Prime Mover, and He has told you His name. All-Power has grace enough for your all-frailty.
Remember, love is often the wound, but always the cure.
Remember, remember, remember. Sleep-deprived and fighting to stay on top of assignments, sometimes we forget that one day, we’ll want to remember this. Our troubles are smaller than we think, and reasons to hope run deeper than reasons to worry. We’ll see.
Hannah Sillars is a blogger and author. She wrote this blog repost while she was still in college.
Judy Bumgarner is a freelance writer in Nashville, Tennessee. She also works at Brentwood United Methodist Church in the church’s Caring Ministry.