Explore Identity and Purpose

Explore Identity and Purpose

Help emerging adults discover what life is all about.
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Reflect with them on the difference between constructing an imaginary future and living with vision. In Facing 30, Lauren Dockett and Kristin Beck write, "How we deal with aging in large part depends on how well we deal with the age-appropriate task of accepting reality." An imagination submitted to the Lord can be a wonderful asset. To have vision for our future or even to set our minds and hearts on heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-2) requires some amount of imagination. Living with our own fantasized idea of the future, however, creates specific expectations in our hearts that often lead to disappointment.

God calls us to live with expectancy—to trust that he is at work and will continue to write his story through our lives. To live with expectancy (instead of self-created expectations) creates a hopeful vision. In John 8:32, Jesus proclaims that knowing and living in truth will bring freedom to us—and he clearly reveals that he is the truth (John 14:6) and that the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Learning to stay connected with reality involves being dependent on the Holy Spirit and staying rooted in the perspectives and truths of Christ. That, along with openness to the insights and feedback of other adults, can help emerging adults exchange the temporary comfort of living in a daydream for the freedom of living with vision.

Help them see the "30s crisis" as an opportunity. Young adults can use the angst they feel as a motivator to take stock of their life and press toward new growth. They may need to revisit prior expectations for this stage of life and grieve over unmet goals or desires.

When emotions have been acknowledged and expressed, the focus can turn toward developing a vision for the next stage of life. Areas of dysfunction and patterns that are no longer appropriate can be examined. New goals for growth can be established. Disciplers can help the disciple celebrate this stage as one that can be spiritually rich in its challenges and opportunities for growth.

—Richard R. Dunn and Jana L. Sundene; excerpted from Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults by Richard Dunn and Jana Sundene. Copyright 2012 by Richard R. Dunn and Jana L. Sundene. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press.

For more on ministering to emerging adults, use our resource Meaningful Groups for Emerging Adults.

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