As we continue our discussion on entering adulthood this month, we discuss one of the biggest obstacles faced by young adults today: feeling like valid, contributing members of their faith community. Lauren Lytle is a public relations professional living in the D.C. area. She shares her thoughts here on how she is navigating her life while growing her faith in God’s plan for her.
I’ve been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my entire life, and throughout my childhood, I grew up dreaming about my future when I’d be married in the temple to the man of my dreams, living in a house with a white picket fence, and raising my beautiful children. I thought that when I had those things, then I’d be a true grown-up.
I’ve now learned that being an adult has very little to do with your marital status and everything to do with being true to yourself as you progress in life through trials and through uncertainty.
Life almost never goes the way we plan, and in my case, my young adult life has not been what I imagined it would be.
After I graduated from BYU in 2011, I got a job in Seattle and had been living on my own for a couple years. At this point in time, I had imagined my life would be a lot different. I was single, living in an old house with six other girls, and working a demanding job. I wasn’t miserable, but I wasn’t necessarily happy either. I didn’t feel like a child, but I also didn’t feel like an adult. I felt like I was living in limbo just waiting for my life to begin.
A few months later, I came across the following quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “Don’t wait for happiness to be thrust upon you. Seek it out in service and learning. Make a life for yourself and trust in the Lord.”
After reading this, I realized that I can’t wait until I’m married to be happy or to feel like an adult. I was defining my happiness by my marital status, thinking I wouldn’t truly be an adult or truly be happy until I was married. This is obviously not right. Happiness is a choice. You have to seek after happiness and keep choosing it every day.
My favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5–6, which says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I’m not perfect, but I try to trust a little more in the Lord every day. More specifically, I try to trust that Heavenly Father has a perfectly mapped out plan for my life.
As a young single adult, I know I have a purpose. I know I have a lot to contribute, and I know that I have a lot to be grateful for. I also know that my marital status doesn’t define my maturity or my level of adulthood. Every day I’m learning more, taking on more responsibilities, and being more of a grown-up.
Although my journey is not over, I have learned a lot about how to trust in the Lord and to stay true to the gospel through times of uncertainty. I think these two things define adulthood.
My advice to other people in my same situation is to spend less time focusing on your problems and more time focusing on others. Don’t wait until you’re married or graduated from college or have the perfect job to let yourself enter adulthood. We don’t know if or when these events will take place, so we have to press forward with faith, remembering that we are children of a loving and all-knowing God.
Gordon B. Hinckley summarized this well when he said: “It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future.”
No matter what stage of life you’re in, I testify that you can be happy now. Through serving others and filling your life with meaningful things, you can find joy. True joy comes through following the commandments and trying a little harder each day to be more like Christ. As you do this, you’ll both temporally and spiritually mature into adulthood.