You’re about to learn two things about me: one, my life has a soundtrack. I tend to relate a lot of life experiences to music and songs of the time. Two, I’m old enough to remember the early 90’s popular band from Sweden, Ace of Base. According to Wikipedia, they plan to tour in the U.S. in 2009, but the last I heard of them, Stephanie’s girl band was playing “The Sign” in Full House re-runs. Anyway, in their 1995 album “The Bridge,” there is a song called “Blooming 18.”
The song is about the rebellion of a young lady who is just turning eighteen years old. “Reality is always such a drag for a barely bloomin’ 18… the barely bloomin’ 18 wants to know what’s keeping her from searching… what’s hiding in the shadows.” Keep in mind: I was ten years old in 1995. Well, I was scanning through Donna Schillinger’s interview with Trish Perry (which I recommend, and is linked to from her “Straight Talk” column), and she was describing her target for On My Own Now Ministries as 18-23 year-old women. I got to thinking – I’m on the upper end of that, but my readers aren’t necessarily. So how do I relate? What was I doing five years ago?
I gotta tell you, I remember feeling a lot like the girl in the song. I turned 18 the day before I moved to college, and although I was on a spiritual high at the time, I was quite immature in my faith. What little I knew of reality seemed like a drag, so, naturally, I rebelled against it. I knew that to keep my full scholarship I had to maintain a high GPA. I knew studying interfered with hanging out with friends. Sleep also interfered with hanging out, and in the battle between rest and relationships, my body and mind suffered. Then, imagine what a bummer it was to when I came to realize that I didn’t actually have a lot of friends. And most definitely worst of all realities: I knew that I wouldn’t get married for a long time, and I shouldn’t have sex until I was married, and yet I really wanted to have sex. (I’m sort of hoping my parents miss this issue of Single!) My thoughts and attitudes were not always pure.
What I did not know when I was 18 is who I actually was. I did not know how to learn self-discipline or how to talk to other people about God without sounding judgmental. I didn’t know how to cook. The first time I ever did laundry, I called my mom from the dorm laundry room and said, “Ok, reds and whites go separate, right?” I didn’t know how to make friends. I didn’t know how to act around the friends I had. I didn’t know what the boundaries were with boys in the dorm environment. I didn’t know what my own boundaries were. I didn’t know that being alone on a Friday night can be wonderful. And unfortunately, I didn’t know that the university’s police department sometimes RADARs the street by my dorm at 2:00 in the morning.
There are no big revelations, lessons learned, or examples of how I overcame my obstacles to offer just now. And I’m not going to quote scripture or apply the Bible to a real-life scenario. I just want to say that growing up was hard. When I was barely blooming 18, despite my spiritual high, I was actually quite confused. I rebelled against a lot of things I shouldn’t have and learned a lot of lessons the hard way. I had no idea that the world can be a very dark place, and if you’re anything like I was, you may not believe it until you come face-to-face with it too.
I can’t come close to saying that I have all the answers now, but I can see I have made progress. I got my degree – without losing my scholarship, and I learned how to make friends. Overcoming the temptation of lust has been the single-most difficult thing in my life, but I’m comfortable believing that sex is worth waiting for. I’m still really bad at laundry.
Maybe next month I’ll be able to put into words how I learned some of that stuff along the way. When we’re right with God, life happens at the pace its supposed to. Until then, don’t give up. The reality that God has planned for you is not a drag at all. Just don’t let a youthful rebellion keep you from searching for it.