Yesterday Relevant Magazine published an article entitled 11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask. Written by Paul Angone, the premise is that as twentysomethings leave college and fully enter adulthood there is a lot of confusion on where one is headed, or where one wants to go for that matter. Angone writes,
“Often, the question of ‘what now?’ plagues us in our twenties like chickenpox. The more we scratch, the worse it itches. The overwhelming vagueness of ‘what am I doing with my life?’ can crush us like the bully who sat on our head in third grade.”
The article must have hit a nerve, because it’s been shared over 5,000 times since being published yesterday afternoon. Having just left the terrible twenties 113 days ago, I can testify that my twenties were full of more confusion and questions that I ever would have imagined. Some of that confusion has not left now that I’ve hit the magical age of 30 either. Looking back over the past decade of my life, I agree with Angone that “if we don’t ask the right questions, we will forever remain stuck.” Where I disagree with Angone is in discovering the right questions to ask.
The 11 questions every twentysomething should ask “to be successful,” while not wrong in and of themselves, nevertheless are not the right questions to be contemplating. Each question posed rests upon a me-centered philosophy of life rather than a God-centered philosophy, which concerns me coming from a Christian magazine. Unfortunately, much of my confusion in my twenties wasn’t because I thought too little about the ‘me’ and ‘I’ questions; it was because I thought too much about them.
Rather than go through each question in the Relevant article and explain why I disagree with its overall message, I’d like to share 12 questions I wish every twentysomething would ask to find true purpose and success. These are questions I’ve learned to ask myself and ones I wish I asked more often.
12 questions I wish every twentysomething would ask:
1. Do I love Jesus and others?
Is my love for Jesus more than a warm and fuzzy feeling once a week while singing my favorite worship song? Am I seeking to obey him daily? Am I willing to lay down my life, both literally and metaphorically, for him and for those around me? (John 14:15; 15:12-15)
2. Do my closest friends love Jesus?
Do those who have the greatest influence in my life urge me to know God and pursue Him, or am I unequally yoked in my relationships? It’s important to have genuine friendships with people who do not share my faith, but do my closest friends hinder or help me grow in godliness? (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
3. Do I have multi-generational friendships?
Am I seeking out the wisdom, counsel, and discipleship of those older than me? Am I offering wisdom, counsel, and discipleship to those younger than me? Do I recognize the danger of only hanging out with people ‘my age?’ (Titus 2)
4. Do I recognize it’s not about me?
Do I agree with C.S. Lewis that, “Man is not the center. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake.” Am I arrogant enough to think I’m the main character in my story, or do I recognize that the main character is God? Do I make decisions, wrestle with indecision, or plan with God’s purposes in mind, or my own? (Acts 20:24)
5. Do I care that the Holy Spirit lives within me?
As a Christian, am I aware of the reality that the Holy Spirit lives in me? Do I care? Do I realize I’m never alone? What am I thinking, feeling, and doing with my body in the presence of God? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
6. Do I live and love in Christ’s strength or my own?
In a world that makes mini-gods out of personal strength, am I choosing to live and love in my broken strength or Christ’s perfect strength? Am I willing to admit and boast about my weakness so that God’s power can be demonstrated in me and through me? (2 Corinthians 4:7; 10:17-18; 12:9-10)
7. Am I willing to be nothing and go unnoticed?
Have I discovered the reality that I serve an Audience of One? Am I willing to work hard, love faithfully, and live fully when no one seems to notice and I amount to ‘nothing?’ Have I discovered that there is more freedom in going unnoticed for God than in the fleeting success of the world? (Psalm 116:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
8. Whose kingdom am I building?
Am I living to build the kingdom of self, or the Kingdom of God? Am I a loyal child of the King, a faithful steward of the Master, or do I try to usurp his sovereign rule? (Matthew 5-7, 25:14-30)
9. Can I articulate my faith?
Do I know what I believe and why? Can I give reasons for the hope I have in Jesus Christ? When my faith is questioned and attacked, can I respond with confidence? (1 Peter 3:14-17)
10. Am I committed to a local church?
Am I committed to a local church family, or do I approach church like speed dating? Am I learning to love, forgive, and be forgiven with fellow believers who are being transformed by the grace of God? Do I recognize that I cannot reach full maturity on my own? (Hebrews 10:19-25; the whole New Testament)
11. Do the things that break God’s heart break mine?
Does my heart break over sin, injustice, evil, and pain? Do I weep with God over a broken world? Does his compassion for the broken and lost motivate me to be his ambassador of faith, hope, and love? (Micah 6:8; Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 13:3; James 1:19-2:13)
12. When I stand before Jesus Christ what do I want to hear him say?
A day is coming when I will stand before Jesus Christ and give an account of how I lived. When that day comes, will I be concerned if I accomplished health, wealth, and prestige, or will I be more concerned to hear, “Well done, My good and faithful servant?” What will matter to me in that moment? Do I live today in light of eternity? (1 Corinthians 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:6-11; Revelation 22:12-14)