You Know You’re (Really) a Grown-Up When…

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Back on my 19th birthday. It wasn’t that long ago, but I was such a kid!

I have graduated high school, gotten married, had children, bought a car, and passed drinking age.  All those things notwithstanding, I feel like this past year or two was when I really claimed my adulthood, for the first time.

Sure, I still have an inner child and I hope she will never go away!…but this is the year where I stopped being a shy, passive, self-conscious girl and accepted my rightful place as a grown-up woman in the grown-up world.

I didn’t see it coming because it took so many forms.

It could have been different for you, but I have found that in my personal experience…

You Know You’re (Really) a Grown-Up When…

You have a voice.  I no longer live under the impression that I couldn’t say anything worth hearing.  I can see that God has given me freedom – and a call! – to use my voice for His glory.  In some social situations I am still quiet, but generally I’m not afraid to speak up and use my voice, or to share my written thoughts with others.

You know your life is primarily work.  It took me several years of marriage and kids to realize that I still treated my duties like the chores I had as a kid – “If I do these three things I can be done for the day!”  By now I know that work rightly consumes the majority of my day, and play is what I do when my work is done.

You’ve realized that it’s not just you – all people are afraid of each other.  It’s not unreasonable.  After all, we are dealing with fellow immortals who we might spend all eternity with, in heaven or hell.  Though only God has always existed, He created us in His image, including eternality.  Free-thinking, independent, judgment-making, outside-our-control immortals are a scary thing to talk and interact with every day!  But we are also only human.  Everyone makes bad first impressions sometimes, offends others, says stupid things, and kicks themselves later over their mistakes.  But we humans are all afraid of each others’ outward facades!  And for what?  I know now that I am just as “scary” as the next person, in their eyes…and they are probably just as insecure, broken, and altogether human as me.  Others need my patience, understanding, and graciousness just as much as I crave theirs.  They aren’t stronger or less in need of grace!  And the love of Christ can overcome all fear of man.

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

You are a free agent.  I am under God and various human authorities in different spheres: my husband, my church leaders, the government, etc.  But I do not need a direct command or a stamp of approval to have the confidence for every little thing I do.  I’m a grown-up!

You find joy in being genuine.  I’m learning and growing, but also take joy in being myself and expressing who I am as a new creation in Christ.  This is me!  I can express my God-created new being, while abhorring and rejecting the old me of sin wherever I find her.  I’m less fixated on looking put-together and more eager to share my inner self.

You encounter times when people simply don’t appreciate your efforts on their behalf, and WHATEVS.  If I’m helping, being a good friend, showing affection, and other things for the appreciation I get, my life will be miserable indeed because the universe does not, in fact, revolve around me.  I have recognized the freedom of living for God and not for man’s gratitude or pats on the back.

You know you’re part of the problem.  I’m just as sinful, annoying, misled, confused, and mistaken as any other person that might bother me.  If I think I have a spiritual or moral high ground over others, it’s a sure sign I’m sinking under the weight of my own swollen ego.

You form your opinions (mostly) independently.  My parents did a lot of things right, but I don’t merely do things the way they did them because that’s how I was raised.  I research, study, think, pray, and may or may not do the same thing in the end.  I don’t simply take one pastor’s word for it because I trust and love their ministry.  I seek out other opinions, even those in complete opposition.  I’m not content to be a sheep.  In the end, the course of action I take won’t be because so-and-so said it, but because I feel like it’s in accordance with God’s Word and what He would have me do and believe.  (Of course my husband’s thoughts are involved too…we are one flesh, after all!)

In short, I stand on my own feet, in my own right, looking adults in the face instead of looking at my shoes.  I am a grown-up.  I am no longer waiting for the world to say, “Come on in.” I’ve taken the jump!  I may be last into the pool, and maybe the water is cold, but I’m not afraid to get wet, and I’m not afraid to make some waves that will flash and shine with the light of Christ reflected in me by His grace.

Of course, “grown-up” is a relative term.  There’s always this.  😉

If you’ve gotten to that point – when did you realize you had really grown up?

Leave a comment


  1. It’s been an honor to watch you come into your own with all of these things. I’ve actually known you for almost 6 years! 🙂

  2. About the first time I disagreed with how someone treated my children and I was left to comfort them… When I had to start being an advocate for my kids

    third would be passing drinking age and STILL realizing that I just don’t like the taste lol

  3. juliet Applegate

     /  June 13, 2014

    You are a woman who has accomplished things herself. You have earned your stripes. You do have something to say worth hearing.

    • Thank you! I really appreciate that, Mrs. Applegate. Or maybe I should say Juliet? – I’m still getting used to the part of adulthood where it’s okay to call other adults by their given names! 🙂 Especially when it’s someone I knew growing up, it feels better to stick with the title that is most familiar.

  4. netraptor001

     /  June 13, 2014

    I had that realization this past year. Living a state away from my family, I’ve discovered that I have to be the mom. Nobody else is there to care for my children, council my husband, or keep my house. Of course I already did those things, but the presence of my parents was a mental crutch. Now I don’t have anyone, so I have to be strong. Like those pioneer women who settled out here and made a life for their families.

    • I think traveling solo (with baby) brought this whole topic to my attention. I had been feeling very adult before then, but didn’t notice until I confidently flew alone – a year or two ago it would have been very intimidating, but I had every confidence about this trip, even before I knew my sister-in-law was taking the same flight out as me.


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