Adulting in Christ

"Good adulting, Dad," my daughter complimented me, when I told her I had made an offer on a house in Illinois, and it had been accepted.

Adulting is a recently-coined word meaning "the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks."

It is also the title of a book Adulting: How to Become a Grown Up by Kelly Williams Brown.

For most of my 67 years, I have lived in houses owned by others.

I naturally spent childhood and adolescence in my parents' home, then for all but eight years of our lives, my family and I lived in church-owned homes or parsonages, as we do currently.

Now, as retirement beckons, for the first time, my wife and I will do the adult thing and buy a house on our own. We close on it this week.

I passed another milestone this year, graduating with a doctor of ministry degree. Completing a dissertation was a daunting task for me. I dislike the process of writing and I thought I would never get done with all the edits and corrections.

As it was, I procrastinated for years. But in May of 2019 I got my degree. It is still hard to believe that after eight years, that task is behind me.

Now I enter a new phase in my life. Achieving retirement has involved many tasks very distasteful to me. Adding to the pressure was the momentous nature of numerous decisions which had to be made.

These involved: income, health care, relocation, transition from my current ministry, social security, and house loans.

"What if I make a mistake?" was a question which haunted me. My wife reminded me of a Bible verse offered to Jerusalem at a time of great stress and transition for them. "Whether you turn to the left or to the right, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it.'" (Isaiah 30:21).

Clinging to this promise has helped me relax enough to make the tough and mundane decisions needed. Now, as we do the mundane, yet emotional tasks of packing and moving, I am trying to listen to God's voice of direction, rather than my own fearful what-ifs.

Of course, the ultimate in adulting will be a corporate endeavor. We are doing this maturing together in Christ and into Christ.

Paul, in urging the Ephesian believers to "walk worthy of your calling," gives the hope that the ultimate goal of growing up is "until we (all together as a unit in the body of Christ) grow up into him who is the head that is Christ." (Ephesians 4:1, 15).

So, let us do this adulting work together, helping each other grow to become the responsible adult which the body of Christ will be in the end. A few years ago, before lunch with a group of young adults, I teasingly followed the custom that the last person to put a thumb up had to say grace.

My wife said to me, "Just be a man, and say the prayer." So, I guess we all should just "be a man" and do what needs to be done, leaving the results to God. It is safe to do so.

Pastor Gary Brown serves New Zion Evangelical Congregational Church, Emlenton.