Delayed adolescence is an increasing trend in our society. What is meant here by delayed adolescence is the increase in young adults that choose to live with their parents into their later 20’s and even early 30’s. I am a product of this trend myself. I moved back home after college and lived in my parent’s basement until I was 24 years old.
There are many reasons given as to why we move back home and live with our parents for so long. One of those reasons include the difficult job market. There are a large number of Starbucks baristas who have college degrees… it’s tough out there. Another reason is that there are so many opportunities we don’t know which one to choose; we don’t want to be tied down into one career for the rest of our lives like many of our parents are/were. Another reason is that it is so expensive to move out and live on our own. Unless we have roommates or wealthy parents who will foot the bill, money is a problem, especially considering we have all that college debt to deal with. So these factors, and many societal messages, have contributed to the trend of delayed adolescence.
Another issue that fits into this delay is that many middle school and high school students are not challenged well to become strong people of character, integrity, hard work, principle, or responsibility. Parents and schools and churches have done a poor job of calling a generation to a higher standard, and I think we are paying the price for that. We do not often challenge them to take on responsibility or to develop principles they base their decisions on. We do not often teach them how to gain wisdom and discernment and integrity, but often expect them just to have it. We often do not lead well in the realm of character and integrity, so they do not always have the best examples to follow. This is a harsh word, I get that, but I think it is the truth. Now, obviously, there are always exceptions. But be careful immediately thinking that you are the exception. Take an honest look and examine the facts.
Jeremiah from the Bible is one who wanted to avoid his challenge. He did not want to live up the potential God saw in him, and he did not want to live out the hard work and responsibility placed on his life. Here is what Jeremiah says he did when God called him to a great work that would require wisdom, integrity, and discernment, as well as hard work and perseverance:
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” (Jeremiah 1:7, ESV)
Jeremiah made an excuse! It is so easy to do, and we have so many good ones to give. But I don’t think there is a person who made excuses that ever made much of a difference in this world. We aren’t on this earth to make excuses and live in our comfort zones, but we are here to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. We have an opportunity to be His hands and feet, and to minister to His creation as His children and ambassadors.
How does God respond to Jeremiah’s excuse? Check it out in the next two verses, 7-8:
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
God’s response is to say that He will be with Jeremiah. There is comfort in knowing that we are not doing this alone. No matter how great the potential or responsibility, we don’t have to go it alone. God is with us. We don’t have to fear responsibility or fear failure or fear what others will think or fear not knowing what to say or do. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit we will receive discernment, wisdom, comfort, help, healing, guidance.
So DO NOT BE AFRAID. DO NOT HOLD YOURSELF BACK. Instead, take up the challenge, challenge those around you, and make a difference in this world as you bring glory to God by following His example and His Word. God receives glory when we obey Him and trust Him. Obey and trust God and you will be able to move forward in faith, knowing that God is with you. If God is for you and with you, who can stand against you? “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), so start doing some impossibly difficult things and see how quickly they become possible when they are done through God’s plan and strength and for God’s glory.