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10 Ways to Avoid Delayed Adulthood

  • Lindsey Brady Contributing Writer
  • 2019 4 Mar
10 Ways to Avoid Delayed Adulthood

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

We don’t have too much information on how Jesus’ transition from childhood to adulthood looked. All we know is what Luke tells us, which essentially is as Jesus grew older, he gained more wisdom and more favor. But from the snippets of what we know of him as an independent child, it doesn’t seem like he’d have any trouble moving into adulthood. (Check out Luke 2:41-52. I mean, what 12-year-old do you know can make it on their own for multiple days?)

But have you ever wondered what it would be like if Jesus was living in this millennium? Would he live on his parent's couch until it was time for him to start his ministry? Would that verse in Luke read, “As Jesus grew older, Mary and Joseph grew tired of him living in the basement”? Or maybe, “As Jesus grew in height, he also grew in debt”?

Clearly, the Savior of the world wouldn’t fall into the trap of delayed adulthood and neither should we. So if you or someone you know (cough cough—I’m talking to you, parents of couch surfers) needs a swift kick into adulthood, here are 10 practical ways to become an adult.  


Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/CHAI SODA

  • 1. Be honest with yourself.

    1. Be honest with yourself.

    The first step is to be honest with yourself. You can’t start taking steps into adulthood while still living in denial. Now, I know it’s easy to get caught in the trap of denial. I’ve been there plenty of times before! I'd think it was better to lie to myself than to face the shame of my reality. But, the truth of the matter is, shame shouldn’t be the driving factor of growing into adulthood because there is no shame in your current situation! Instead, let’s focus on the positives of what lies ahead.

    Look in the mirror and speak this truth to yourself: “I’m a child of God. I’m worthy, loved, and enough. But I’m unnecessarily postponing growing into adulthood. I need to step up and start taking responsibility for my life so I can fully step into who God has created me to be.”


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  • 2. Stop making excuses.

    2. Stop making excuses.

    Great! Now that we’ve been honest with ourselves, let’s take the next crucial step: kicking our excuses to the curb.  

    “The cost of living was so much lower when my parents were my age.” 

    “Nobody ever taught me how to do my taxes, buy a home, or file for student loans.”

    “Even entry level jobs want 3-5 years of experience in the field.” 

    “I would move out, but my parents might get lonely without me.”

    These excuses, along with many more, are the number one thing stopping you from “adulting.” Are some of them valid? Probably. But are you using them as a defensive mechanism for your delayed adulthood? Absolutely. 

    So the next time you start excusing your way out of responsibility, honestly evaluate your thought process. Are you merely grasping at straws to avoid growing up, or do you have a legitimate reason? (Hint: your parents may miss you, but they also won’t mind when their 42-year-old son finally gets his own place.)


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/g-stockstudio

  • 3. Step out of your comfort zone.

    3. Step out of your comfort zone.

    With our newfound sense of honesty and accountability, it’s time to do something that’s terrifying: stepping out of the comfort zone. 

    I know it’s hard, trust me. I’m the queen of having a routine, and I despise change. I know myself well, and I know that I would have stayed in my hometown, lived with my parents, and worked at the high school I went to, all because it was comfortable. So instead, I challenged myself. I traveled the world for a year after college and then took a job on the other side of the country. 

    Why do all of this when I’d much prefer to stay home? Because I knew God had more for me. I knew I needed to let go of what made me comfortable, to grow my reliance on him. 

    God has more for you, too. I’m not saying you need to leave the country or move thousands of miles away. But start pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and be in awe of all the ways God provides. 


    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/anyaberkut

  • 4. Pay your own bills.

    4. Pay your own bills.

    As someone in my mid-twenties, people suffering from delayed adulthood are all around me. Many of which don’t look like it from the outside. They live on their own, away from their parents, and are working well-paying jobs.

    But under closer inspection, their parents are paying for everything: their car, their apartment, their utilities. They even have their parent’s credit card linked to their iTunes account! To top it all off, they get to the end of the year with saving little-to-money, despite having no bills to pay.

    While it’s great to have caring parents, this behavior is preventing the delayed adult from learning how to budget. They’re wasting their money on luxuries, not knowing the real cost of living. 

    If this is you, I recommend starting to pay your bills. Take over something small: your entertainment costs, your groceries, and your gas. Then work up to things like insurance, rent, and car payments. If you’re going to have these things, you need to pay for them. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/dima_sidelnikov

  • 5. Move out.

    5. Move out.

    With the confidence of having bill payment down, it’s time to start shopping around for a place to live. Move, get out on your own, and experience what it’s like to be the adult in charge of your household. It’s amazing what you’ll learn when you have to be the one making sure there’s food in the fridge, or the one who has to pay the gas bill, or the one who needs to take care of the cleaning.

    Some people are unable to move out of their parents’ house because of legitimate reasons. If that's you, look for ways to step up in your parents’ household. Start paying them rent. Do the grocery shopping. Help fix things that break. Run some household errands. Do chores. Become a blessing in the house, not a burden. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Mike Watson

  • 6. Embrace the struggle.

    6. Embrace the struggle.

    One of the biggest misconceptions about life is that it’s normal to graduate college, immediately get a new car, buy a house, and fill it with the nicest things. Why do we think this? Because of the spirit of comparison. We watch shows or follow people on Instagram who are young, yet seem to have it all. 

    But that’s not the reality unless we take on a mound of debt from credit card companies and banks. Remember when used the excuse that our parents had it easier? They might have bought a house when they were 21, but they hustled for it. They worked long hours in a factory, saved up money, and had a house full of piecemealed furniture. They ate plain pasta five days a week and treated themselves to tomato sauce on the weekend. They didn’t go on vacation out of the state until they were 50. 

    It’s okay to embrace the struggle of living on your own, surviving on rice and beans for dinner, and listening to podcasts on your hand-me-down iPhone 4. Remember, life on your own takes work, and you’re not a failure because you are just starting out. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/diego_cervo

  • 7. Make mistakes.

    7. Make mistakes.

    As you step into adulthood, there’s one thing I can guarantee: you will make mistakes. A lot of them, in fact. 

    I have probably made thousands of mistakes in the five years since graduating college. I once forgot to pay the gas bill… for 16 months because I didn’t know I had a gas bill, despite having a gas fireplace. I dated at least three guys entirely wrong for me. I had to file an amendment to my taxes. I also hit two parked cars due to black ice. 

    But guess what? I made it through. I have a high credit score, I have a car that has no dings in it, and I even dated a guy entirely right for me, and now we’re married! All this to say, it’s normal to make mistakes. Pick yourself up and keep going. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/g-stockstudio

  • 8. Learn life skills.

    8. Learn life skills.

    There's usually a life lesson waiting on the other side of your mistakes. But, you can also avoid a lot of mistakes by taking the initiative to learn what you don’t know. We live in a time where we have a seemingly infinite amount of information at our fingertips. 

    Not sure how to file your taxes? Read an accountant’s blog. Trying to make a budget? Look for tips on Pinterest. Can’t figure out how to change the headlight on your car? Watch a YouTube video. 

    Don’t sit around lamenting that you can’t fix your dripping sink or that you don’t know how to get an ink stain out of your favorite shirt. Do your research and give it a try! Words can’t describe the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after you’ve successfully learned new life skills. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Bobex-73

  • 9. Have difficult conversations.

    9. Have difficult conversations.

    A well-known fact about me is that I hate conflict. I avoid it at all costs, and when I’m forced to face conflict head-on, I pretty much crumble on the spot. But, part of being an adult is having difficult conversations, even when you want to run the other way.

    Instead of leaving passive-aggressive notes for your roommate, sit down and talk with her. When your cable company heaps on a ton of hidden fees, call them and negotiate a lower price. When a relationship has run its course, step up to the plate and end it. If you believe you have earned a raise at work, ask for one. 

    You are now in charge of your life, so you have to start advocating for yourself. You can’t let people walk all over you. And while it might be nerve-wracking for some to engage in these tough talks, it will be well worth it once everything has been said. 


    Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/eggeeggjiew

  • 10. Grant yourself grace.

    10. Grant yourself grace.

    The final way to avoid delayed adulthood is to have grace for yourself. It can be quite intimidating to step out into the world on your own. But without grace, it seems like an utterly impossible idea. 
    Walking confidently into adulthood is so much easier when you permit yourself to fail. You don’t have to get it perfect. You don’t have to have it all together. It’s okay to stumble and fall flat on your face. It’s even okay to cry. (Well at least I hope it is because I do it a lot.)
    Circle back to the truths we told ourselves earlier: “I’m a child of God. I’m worthy, loved, and enough. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone so I can fully step into who God has created me to be. He is faithful and will guide me through this.”
    Lindsey Brady is a new wife and stepmother who loves to spend time in nature or going for long runs. When she's feeling a bit more sedentary, she'll watch an entire season of any Food Network show in a single sitting. You can follow her on Instagram at real.slim.brady
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