A new word has come in to common usage over the last few years, and I love it: “adulting.” It encompasses all of the work and emotion of being an adult and is generally accompanied by the description “is hard”. Adulting can be hard. Christian adulting can be even harder.
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul starts out with the command that Christians not be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed by renewing their minds in the Truth of the Gospel and message of Christ. As believers, we are to stand out from the world around us. We are to interact with an attitude of cooperation and love for our fellow Christians rather than competition. In our dog-eat-dog world, Christians are to be focused on lifting each other up. Unfortunately, even in the church, this kind of adulting is hard. Our natural state is one of skepticism, individualism, competition and self-reliance. Certainly, those are qualities our culture teaches and rewards. However, Christians are to be different, to honor one another, to interact as one body of Christ, to fulfill the Law by loving one another more than ourselves.
In this season of my life, I have experienced more hurt at the hand of other Christians in the church and Christian community than I can remember ever feeling as an awkward preteen. Gossip and rumors, slander and grudges, bitterness and rejection have been commonplace in my experience as a 30-something woman in the Christian community. I believe the hurt is deeper because this community should know better. But even in my pain, God has been faithful and has caused this to work for good. I have had a lot of practice with Paul’s command in Romans 12:18: “If possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” There is so much in interpersonal relationships that we cannot control. I can’t control what another person is thinking. I can’t control what gossip she hears and chooses to believe. I can’t control her assumptions or what she in turn says to others. But I can control what I do, think and say. I can fix my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith, keeping a guard before my lips so that I don’t speak out of anger or hurt feelings, and I can remember that my value is firmly established in who God made me as His child, no matter what mean-spiritedness comes my way. When I take my hurt to the Lord, He comforts me, strengthens me and provides the perspective necessary to come out of the darkness and have peace. No matter how hard adulting gets, my God is ever faithful to carry me through it. May we all thank our Father for His comfort in our times of hurt.