The ‘Best Years”….when?

Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to do many new things, go to new places, and meet tons of new people. The biggest contributor to this is college. Since starting college, I have done so many things that I never would have had the chance to do otherwise. I can’t imagine how this past year would have been if it hadn’t have been for college. Something that many people have said to me both right before starting classes last fall, all he way through to these pat few months is one thing. One saying. One piece of wisdom that many seem to want to pass on –

“These are the best years of your life. Enjoy them.”

Now, this saying has puzzled me recently. The first time I really thought about it, I was quite annoyed actually. Someone had told me while I was right in the middle of spring semester the week before midterms. If you could go back in time and in that moment, ask me if I felt like I was living in the “best years” of my life, I would tell you no. After the semester passed, I figured that the feeling would go away and I would start to believe this statement. I kept telling myself “Once you get through this first year of college, then you’l understand. Then you’ll truly see that what everyone is saying is right! You’ll understand the joy and happiness that they talk about when looking back on their college years that are long gone!”

Here’s the thing…..I still am waiting to feel that way.

It was soon after midterms passed that I penned some lyrics down in my lyric journal…

“They say these are the best years of your life
when do they start?
Cuz’ all the noise and chaos around
is wearing out my heart.”

I began to ask myself that question every day that I woke up at 6am to go to class after spending many late hours doing 30+ pages of music theory homework, an ear training exercise, writing a reflection paper on 4 chapters of Theology books, or studying for a huge New Testament Exam. I asked myself that question many times a day. It all boiled down to the second half of it later on. I wanted to know when these “best years” kicked in! I felt as if I was missing out.

Then one day, something hit me.

A profound thought that I hadn’t thought before…

What if I was living them out right now. What if I was in the midst of these mysterious “best years” and I hadn’t even realized it. What if I had been living them for months without actually knowing it. What if I had been asking for more and longing for some mysterious and fantasy future, without seeing that it was right in front of me the whole time!?

I am confident that God has opened the right doors at just the perfect time throughout my whole life. I am convinced that all that has happened to me thus far is just a small portion of the outworking of His perfect plan. I don’t regret any of the experiences and opportunities that have been offered to me just in the past year. They have all come at just the right time and not any sooner. Then, an even more profound thought hit me…

What if the “best years” have always been “now”?

As Christians, we have a life calling to witness, love, and be the outworking of God’s love. Not just when we’re young adults and are more spry than an older Christian is. That calling does not stop. Ever.
We are called to live a life of worship and service. To “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) which means, last time I checked, that it includes our whole life. We are a “living” sacrifice. Not just a people that live out that sacrifice through our late teens and early twenties. I most certainly hope that twenty years from now, after college is long over with, that I will be a much more mature Christian than I am today. I don’t want to have the “best years” of my life be only these precious few that we live out during our pursuit of a higher education.

I do not believe that God intends for it to be that way.

You see, to me, the “best years” are the ones spent closest to the Lord. The ones where my relationship with Him is ever growing on a daily basis.Everyday I should be seeking Him more. As I said before, I want to be closer in my relationship with God twenty years from now than I am now. I want to grow closer and closer as the years go past and I learn more about Him. I don’t want that to ever stop. I want to constantly be learning more about Him, how to be more like His Son, and walk in His will even more as my life goes on and I grow older.

So, perhaps these “best years” are always with us. Perhaps wherever we are in life and our faith walks is right where we are supposed to be. We should be constantly challenging ourselves and pushing on deeper and deeper into a relationship with God. I know there will still be times of doubt, fear, and pain, but I have the confidence that I am either in His will and learning through the experience, or I am pushing through to a deeper understanding of Him and a new place in life.

These “best years” are ever changing and it is my prayer that the Lord would be constantly shaping them for the betterment of His kingdom, and that I will forever be constantly learning more about Him through it all.

Life is hard sometimes. We all grow weary. We all fall. We all feel overwhelmed at some point. But I know that God is right there sustaining me and making this life new every day.  I leave you with another part of the lyrics that pop’ed into my head that day –

“Though this heart of mine is so sore
I’ll keep pushing on
until this fragile life is no more
You’ll keep me strong”

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8 thoughts on “The ‘Best Years”….when?

  1. This is helpful. Right now I’m on my summer break from a ministry college. On days when I’m not at work I wonder what my purpose is and what the big picture is. Just now, I realized that I will wish for this season again when I can rest and do ask please. Letting the idea of having “best years” can flow into the rest of life. It doesn’t have to be limited to my twenties. In the midst of chaos, it can be good.

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  2. Your post is very thought-provoking!

    If we get into the habit of waiting for the “best years” we’ll miss the joy and opportunities afforded to us today. We are only given today, and in this day God wants us to be diligent to glorify Him in whatever task is right in front of us.

    I had a high school teacher who, just before graduation said, “These are not the best years of your life. They may have been great, but you must always strive each day to make it a better day. Try to make each coming year a better year. Don’t live in the past or you’ll miss the present.” And this advice came from a non-Christian teacher! This is godly advice. Live in the circumstances God has given you and find joy in working for Him, no matter how much of a drudgery it may seem.

    God be with you as you live for Him today, and as many days as He grants you life!

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  3. The best years of your life are every moment good or bad, difficult or sweet, pretty or ugly, weary or invigorated. Because every moment leads to the next and teaches you something.

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  4. The equipping, preparing and training times of life are endless because God is never finished with us. I had post traumatic stress flashback for many years after graduating from college. Dreams that my finals were due and I never opened a book or I was enrolled in a class I never attended, or I couldn’t find the door to get in. The thing is life is stressful if you care at all about doing it right and this should be the catalyst to press toward excellence and, in our neediness, to our knees to cast our cares on the Lord.

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  5. The reason why people looking back at their youth, say that those were the best years of their lives, is in my experience, because as youngsters they were still brave enough to face new challenges and experiences and open minded enough to enjoy that. Also because time heals wounds and causes us to forget anxiety and other even worse experiences and naturally, because most of us are physically in better shape when we are young, than later in life.

    When we are young, we are often ignorant of a lot of the harsh reality of the world and many of us have families to rely on, in case something goes wrong, wich grants us a feeling of safety. A safety, that makes us brave to face the world.

    Conservatism of the mind often follows from fear of facing the potential disappointments, new day, new world and new challenges, instead of enjoying the fact that by those one can awoid boredom and find living each year as the best year by learning new things about the surrounding reality, others and ourselves.

    The best years are all the time when you decide to make them such. Sometimes things do not turn out as you plan them to go, and sometimes people face impossible odds and adversities, but even then it is better to take the good with the bad, than to suffer melancholia.

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  6. This really resonates with me. I had similar feelings when I was in college – I was always so stressed out and sleep deprived and thought “If this is the best life gets than adulthood must be terrible.”
    Now, as a recent graduate, I do miss college. I was good at school…I worked hard and it showed in my grades. And as I’m trying to navigate this scary post-grad life I do see how college was easier in some ways. I had four years to get into a college routine so adulthood just feels very new at this point.
    I love your thought that the best days of our lives are not a certain age but the years when we are closest/do the most for God. That wasn’t my college years. It’s not that I turned away from God, I just let my strive for my goal GPA take precedence over Bible reading and truly searching Him out. But in this new mindset, even as I’m trying to find a job, I can know that the best days of my life are still to come if I committ to pursuing God and work to know Him more. 🙂

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