This one is for everyone 18 years of age and younger. (Parents, grandparents, teachers and other assorted adults may read along.)
The people who say this to you will always be older than you. Typically, they will say this to you right after you talk about how much homework you have, how many music and athletic practices you attend and how many chores you have to do on top of all those activities.
The person older than you might be a parent. They might be a teacher. Or an older sibling who has all of two years of college under their belt. This person older than you will listen to you talk about your full schedule and then say this:
“Just wait till you get to the real world.”
We understand what is meant by those words. They are saying you don’t yet have the responsibility of a full-time job or career. You don’t yet have the challenge of marriage or parenting children. You don’t yet have social, civic or church duties to fulfill.
With due respect to everyone who’s ever said the words, “Just wait till you get to the real world”, (I’ve said them to my own kids), I put the question.
How does the absence of marriage, parenting, or a career make your life any less real?
This morning, when your parents woke you up and asked what you wanted for breakfast did it go like this? “Top o’ the mornin’ me parental units! And aren’t ya kind fer’ askin’. Let’s see…since I’ll be spendin’ me whole day with leprechauns and pots o’ gold, I believe I’ll have some Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious, ya know! Pink hearts, green clovers…oh! And would ya look over there! It’s me school under a giant purple sky and a rainbow with unicorns jumpin’ over! Oh, it’s going to be a grand day in Fairy Land today!”
Or did that Algebra homework you did last night seem a little too…real?
Psalm 139 says, in part, that God has all our days written down in His book before there was yet one of them. This means that the God of the universe who created the world and hung the stars in the sky put time and forethought into your life.
Let’s think logically.
Is God perfect? Yes.
Is God omniscient (all-knowing)? Yes.
Is God sovereign? Yes. (There is no such thing as “partial sovereignty”. You’re either sovereign or you’re not.)
Then does it follow that it’s possible for a perfect, all-knowing, sovereign God to write down days in His book that aren’t “real”?
Nope. Not possible.
Which is to say that this day of your life at 12, 14, or 16 is as important as any day you’ll have at age 24, 37, or 55.
Does this mean doing my high school physiology homework is as important as my Dr. Mom doing open heart surgery?
Yes. That’s what it means. Here’s why.
It’s not about the activity in your day. It’s about Who authored your day. In the book of the Perfect, All-Knowing, Sovereign God there are no throw away days.
But what about my baby sister? All she does is lay on the floor under that mobile with the jingle bells and the fuzzy dog hanging from a string? She’s just playing. How can that be more important than performing a quadruple bypass?
It looks like play. But your little sister is discovering her world. She’s learning what her fingers are, how they flex, how they move, how they grasp and release. Baby’s not playing. Baby’s working. Discovering her world is her job at 4 months old. It’s every bit as important as what your parents do in a day. Because there’s no cardiac surgeon alive who mastered a scalpel before they mastered grabbing the fuzzy dog on the string.
The real world doesn’t start when you turn 18 or graduate high school. Real life started the moment you were conceived. You’re in the real world. And, for the sake of argument, if you’re not in the real world, why are you bothering to do your homework? Why go to school at all? If life doesn’t count till you turn 18 why not play fast and loose with your relationships? Why does it matter if you treat people well? If everything before legal adulthood doesn’t count, why bother being responsible?
Trust me, as parents, we wish it were that easy. It would be a breeze for us to do nothing but sit back and wait until two weeks before you graduate high school, go down to the Magic Button Store and buy the button that turns you into a functioning, responsible adult. We’d have a big party for you and after the cake and ice cream we’d gather everyone around. “We will now commence with the pushing of the button!”. You’d push it, there would be a buzz and a glow and some smoke and you, the person who ten seconds earlier didn’t know how to pick up a wet towel, would suddenly transform into an eloquent, intelligent human being capable of taking care of yourself for life.
But it doesn’t work that way. God has a purpose for every day of your life. There isn’t one more or less important than another. When a perfect God authors a day, He has a purpose for it. Because, as it says in Ephesians 2:10, “God has prepared good works in advance for you to do.” The reason for real life in your youth is to prepare you for real life as adults.
One of the biggest lies of the enemy is that life begins “after…”. After graduation. After college. After you land that first job. After you get the promotion. After you get married. After you buy the split level home in the ‘burbs.
Because if the enemy can get you to believe real life begins in the future, you’ll never truly live in the present.
Don’t buy the lie. Today is the most important day in your life. Live it. Squeeze every last drop out of it. Believe that you are significant, knowing this day has divine purpose because the perfect, all-knowing, sovereign God wrote it down before time began.
There are no throw away days.
Next time some well meaning older person tells you to wait till you get to the real world, tell them you’re already living it.
Todd A. Thompson – toddthompson.net
I am seeing these writings of yours in a book maybe entitled “One Eye Out” or “The Real World”. Any thought to putting your writings in book form, Todd? I do enjoy your wit and wisdom and the way your present it on paper.
Sheryl, Thanks for your kind words. Work on the E-Book has begun in earnest. Still haven’t landed on a title yet but pulling all the material together. My goal is to have it out by end of summer. Pray for me! 🙂 – tat
Todd, As always I enjoy your writing style and thoughts you share. I will share this with people younger than myself. Each of us is valuable to the LORD God. Thank you for the reminder that each day is counted and given by He who created us, sacrificed His SON for us. Let us glorify the Father and Son as we are led by the Holy Spirit each new day!
Phyllis, Thanks for your encouragement and taking time to read. God is so good to us. Better than I deserve for sure. Blessings to you! – tat
Such truth Todd. Even though I was considered too old to read, I went ahead and read it anyway! ;0) Thanks for your insight and wisdom on living each and every day to its fullest and encouraging our kids to do so as well. Many blessings to you!
Kippi – You’re no where close to old. You’re just a puppy. Thanks for the encouragement. Your family is a huge blessing to us. When I would go to Bahama Buck’s in the Phoenix valley back in the 90’s I never would have dreamed that I’d ever meet the founders, let alone be blessed with your friendship in wind blown Lubbock TX. Thanks for all you do for us! Blessings – tat
Nicely said Todd!
Rusty! Thanks for the good word. I’m blessed to have you as a friend. Give your wife a hug from us! Blessings – tat
Thanks Todd for sharing your God given wisdom
Thank you, Mary! I appreciate you taking time to read. Blessings to you and yours! – tat