A few months ago, I was talking to someone older and wiser than me, and he said, “I think of my twenties as my least favorite decade of life.”

I turn twenty-three today, and I can’t decide whether or not to be encouraged by that thought.

In context of our conversation, the statement was really an observation about the Christian life. It was a reminder of the element of time necessary for maturity. Unfortunately, there’s no rushing through the process.

I’m tempted to “fake it ‘til I make it,” pretending to be older than I am until I get there – but I can’t. Wisdom informs our actions at every age, yes; as my dad often told us kids growing up (and still repeats from time to time), “We never get to not be wise.” At the same time, though, there seems to be a certain kind of experiential wisdom that only comes from… experience. I can’t just behave now as if I’m 30; I have to live to 30. (And then, if the Lord wills it, 40… and so on.)

As one of the great sages of our generation sang, “How can a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22?” At this start of my 23rd year, I think I might know less than ever. In the midst of the compulsive self-reflection that tends to come with birthdays, I’m reminded of the words of another (more ancient) sage: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Who knew “vanity” could be a comfort?)

Here’s remembering the time for 22 and looking ahead to the time for 23.

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