Our 20s are full of discovery, adventure and opportunity. We get to choose where we journey. We get to choose where we live and who we spend our time with. More than ever before, the world is open to us.
It is a time of new beginnings.
We find it easy to fill every day with experience and activity, but uncertainty quickly creeps into the quiet gaps when we find ourselves alone. We feel that itch, a restlessness and dissatisfaction with what we have and who we are. We want more. We’re longing to find our place in the world.
The comfortable nest of safety, identity and belonging is gone. We’re confronted with a mess of issues we’ve never before had to face alone - pain, suffering, death, greed, relational breakdown and betrayal. We become increasingly impatient with God. We doubt His plan for our lives, distort the identity He has given us and experiment with living on our terms.
The freedom of will we first enjoyed deteriorates into an unrelenting unwillingness to die to self. In the desperate scramble to be accepted by the people around us, the understanding of our true identity is abandoned. Idolising status, success, the world and self is normalised, but every time we reach a new horizon we realise there’s another in the distance and our ambition turns to dust in our mouths.
We realise the time we used to dedicate to God has been consumed by white noise - work socials, catching up with friends, Netflix, social media, working out and spending beyond our means. The Sunday service we would never miss becomes a sheepish monthly pilgrimage. We lose patience over unanswered prayers and are gnawed at by the guilt of our mistakes and failings. God topples from our list of priorities in favour of other things we think will gratify our fundamental desires. We just want to be accepted, we want to be special, we want to be meaningful, we want to have purpose. We want to belong.
We were not made for this world.
When we deny our true identity we're left hopelessly lost and dissatisfied because - we were not made for this world. CS Lewis famously said ‘If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.’ Restless wandering looms in our future when we stubbornly stumble along, forgetting who we were created by and what we were created for.
We need to come back to Him. We need to come home. He wants us, He runs to us, He loves us.
Wanderer, you are not alone. You do belong. You are loved.
We must throw off every distraction and run the race we have been called to run. We are prone to wander, but we are welcomed home with arms of grace flung wide for us to fall into.
The opening statement was made by Justin Welby, days before the news of his biological father hit the press. He delivered these words to young Christians in Southern Africa “We need to be a church where I am who I am because I am in Jesus Christ. That’s the only thing that gives me identity."
Struggles fade in the knowledge that Jesus goes with you. Hope rises again as you remember that He has overcome. Adventure truly begins as you surrender your will and follow Him. There is no greater joy and freedom than discovering that ‘I am who I am because I am in Jesus.’ Let us be a generation with eyes locked on Jesus, safe in the knowledge that we are found in Him, and let the way we live introduce others to this new life of freedom and belonging.
It doesn’t matter how far you have wandered, the shame of your past or present, or who the world says you should be. None of it defines you. You are found in Jesus. Once you grasp this identity and seek to honour it with your every breath you’re given access to a life of fullness and abundance.
Wanderer, come home.