I am amazed at how often “Millennials” are made fun of. Put down. Told they are lazy, entitled, spoiled, narcissistic. Even skimming articles online, I came across titles from prominent magazines and newspapers like:
“Millennials and Their Destruction of Civilization”
“This is Why Millennials Get Such a Bad Rap”
“Millennials are Uniformly Bad Tippers”
I have been constantly bombarded with negative viewpoints on this whole generation of people. I was raising three of them (with a fourth not too far behind) and every time they did something I didn’t like or agree with, I would dismiss it with “after all, their generation….yada yada yada.” I fell many times into the trap of blaming them for the ills in my home and in our world, jumping on the “Millennials Suck” bandwagon, complete with “eye-rolling” and outright contempt. NOT GOOD.
Allen and I (other than raising almost four of them) spend lots and lots of time with this generation. Between our nieces and nephews, our kids’ friends, the significant others in our children’s lives, and the young engaged and married couples we mentor, our lives are surrounded by men and women aged 22-37. Truth be told: WE LOVE IT AND WE LOVE THEM! News flash: they certainly don’t suck. They are an incredible group of human beings who have taught me how to live and love better. They are SO SO SO good for my soul! They have revealed God in a way that brings hope and healing to the core of who I am.
If there was anything that was hammered into my psyche from a very young age (by who knows what), it was the message that I should not reveal my true self. I should hide. I should only show the good parts of me, or what I think others will approve of. This was the way to keep the world, my marriage, my church persona and my friendships in tact. I even remember a deodorant advertisement that said, “Never let them see you sweat!” as if I couldn’t even have normal bodily fluids when I worked out. Millennials have shouted, “NO MORE!” “Sweat!” “Be yourself in all your good and bad.” “Be vulnerable and authentic!” Even writing this blog and having my podcast comes as a result of the permission I’ve been given to boldly be who I am, flaws and all. THANK YOU MILLENNIALS!
My parents were outliers in many ways in their own generation. Living in a world where their peers were living the “American Dream,” amassing wealth and pursuing happiness, my parents chose to give their lives for the “least of these.” This did not make my childhood filled with all rainbows and ponies (in many ways it was fraught with a host of difficulties), but ONE vital thing I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world is their hearts of generosity that penetrated my own. THANK YOU MILLENNIALS for listening to those outliers who went before you and solidifying this good place in me. You volunteer more than any generation before you. You believe it’s essential to GIVE BACK! You are changing the world, one cause at a time, one person at a time, with your love and commitment to the lost and the least. You remind me each day to live in and from this place of generosity, the very heart that God has towards me! YAY for you!
For years, I lived with the idea that if I could get my outer world under control, my inner world would follow suit. I believed that “to do” lists checked off at the end of the day would bring me what I truly longed for: a life filled with peace and joy. But the harder I tried to fix, fix, fix, perfecting my outer world, the more I realized it was impossible, sending me into much anxiety, wondering what was wrong with me. THANK YOU MILLENNIALS for challenging that lie, revealing the truth to me that tending to my inner world, my soul, where true peace and joy dwells, where God lives and moves and speaks and heals, is the best starting and ending place. You have helped me have an “anchor for my soul, firm and secure,” (Hebrews 6:19) one nestled in the very heart of God.
Today, on this very ordinary Monday, my heart swells in thankfulness for you, my friends, those of you who were placed into this world and especially my world “for such a time as this.” I am humbled and grateful for the deep truths that you have so willingly spoken into my heart, shattering the lies that held sway over me! Thank you for your vulnerability, your generosity and your wisdom!
To my own Millennials (Sarah, Cody, Jared, Josh, Daniella, Courtney, Brandon, Marina, Nick…with Rachel and Cara closely behind), THANK YOU for showing me who I am and how much I am accepted and loved, not only by you, but by the God who formed me from His very vulnerable, generous and wise heart! The best is yet to come!!