Where We Used to and Supposed to Be in Our Twenties

by Grace Sutton April 19, 2022

Yesterday, I lost my raincoat where it used to, supposed to be. On a rainy day at my parents’ house, I had hung it up in their coat closet without thinking. I assumed it would be lying on the couch or in the kitchen instead, because that coat closet in that house is no longer its home.

I’ve found the early twenties to be a time caught between where I used to be and where I’m supposed to be. These years fluctuate between housing situations, jobs, degrees, and relationships. Everything feels so impermanent, and yet we’re told these days could determine the rest of our lives.

Whether you have a marriage, family, or full-time job by the green age of twenty or not, the next decade seems to be spent trying to grow roots somewhere, whether in a geographical location, vocation, routine, community, or companions. My peers and I are trying to find “our place.” But more often than not, our roots are transplanted again, and again, and again, for better or worse. There are so many used-to’s and supposed-to-be’s.

I’m a day’s drive from the place I still call home, where my childhood wall drawings are hidden under layers of paint, there are spacious kitchen counters I bent over to learn how to cook, and my favorite flowers are planted beneath the kitchen windows. My parents lived in one place for so long, and I loved it. I’ll often go back and feel at home, but also lost. It’s where I used to, supposed to be.

Where are the early twenties supposed to be? Where do we belong when we find ourselves in transitory seasons?

As a pilgrim through my second decade, I know I belong in heaven, my home—our home. As Christians, we believe the promise that every twist and turn will end at the new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1). As the oft-quoted C.S. Lewis quote concludes, “We were made for another world.”[1]

We will be in a new place, but also new people. Adopted by the second Adam from heaven, our perishable bodies will become imperishable, resurrected ones, like his (Romans 8: 16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:47-49). Being changed, we will find ourselves at home with the Unchangeable One. Then, nothing will budge us when our roots will be as deep as the tree of life planted in the city where “the dwelling place of God is with man” (Revelation 21:3).

We are supposed to be in the new heavens because our home is there—God himself. Our twenties, shaped by countless different spaces of square feet we inhabit, are not determined by physical spaces any more than heaven is. Rather, it is defined by whom we find our safety and comfort (Psalm 90:1).

We are supposed to be where we won’t have to prove ourselves. In our twenties, we earn our place in the world through jobs, experience, or relationships. We need all these things, but they do not define our worth. Jesus doesn’t condemn us (Romans 8:1). What more approval will we need to work for? He will offer the water of life without price to us, but the price of his own life (Revelation 21:6, 22:17). What more value do we need?

We’re supposed to be where there will be no tears and sorrow (Revelation 21:4). The changes, losses, and impermanence that haunted our nights and stole our joy will be no more. The God who collected every tear and counted every sleepless night will stop his records (Psalm 56:8). He has seen them all, and he will make an end of them.

The twenties are a chapter in the larger narrative of being caught between the already and the not-yet. Until the book has closed, we will always somehow be living in both the world below and the world above, the world now and the world to come (Ephesians 2:6). We are at home in the body with the Spirit, yet away from home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).

As long as we are in our twenties (or teens, or thirties, or more, for that matter), we will not be where we belong, but we belong somewhere—not where we used to, but supposed to be: in God’s loving care.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Harper Collins, 2015), 137.

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