Wednesday, October 21, 2015

discovering the real world

Growing up I continually heard the phrase "the real world". In school, my teachers were preparing me to enter "the real world"; at church, my leaders were helping me be a light in "the real world"; and at home my parents sheltered me from "the real world".

As much as I was being morphed into some strategic tool for "the real world," I didn't know much about it. As far as I was concerned (and taught) "the real world" was some big world "out there" that I would one day reach. No one ever defined when that one day would be, or how I would know when it arrived. Things would just happen, I suppose I supposed, and I would just know.

It wasn't until halfway through college that someone finally dispelled the myth of "the real world." And thank God he dispelled it! Because that truth made my life right then and there and from there on all the more worth it.

"You keep living as though you weren't living in the real world," he said. I was living as though the real world was coming, when, in fact, it was already here. It was now. All my life I had lived for that one day when I would enter "the real world" and really live. But the truth was, I was already living in the real world.

That pile of dishes, unmade bed, stack of papers, and crusted somethingorother on the floor? The real world. Those distant dreams, roads traveled, secrets whispered, and late nights? The real world. If no one's said it to you yet: Welcome to the real world! Life doesn't get any more real than the joys, heartaches, laughter, and bitterness that fills our lives.

At this point, everything felt a little bittersweet. Bitter in that I had been dreaming of the glamorous (and yes, perfect) life I'd have in "the real world." Yet sweet in that the lifelong wait for "the real world" was over. I was living in it. This was it.

So if you haven't already, start living the life you want. Start making every moment count. Relish the milk stains and colored walls and noisy footsteps overhead. Right now life might not look like you want it to, like you thought it would, but right now is where you are. Live alive. Then look back one day at how God took your mess and made it your message.