Eighteen…the age that every young teenager eagerly anticipates for years. Turning 18 is like taking your first small step into adulthood. It’s the age of legal responsibilities, voting privileges, bank accounts, and so much more. You’re technically still a teenager, yet the world starts viewing you as an adult. For most teenagers, turning 18 is one of those pinnacle birthdays.
I turned 18 on Monday. To be honest, my mind is swirling with mixed emotions. I am absolutely thrilled about starting my journey toward adulthood, yet…totally terrified about starting my journey toward adulthood.
Me? An adult? How can this be possible!?
When I woke up the morning of my 18th birthday, I started thinking about what adulthood might look like for me, as someone who stutters. I realize that turning 18 means that I will have to speak for myself much more than I used to. The world, understandably, expects more of me now. People expect me to be confident and a little more independent. They expect me to be able to clearly express my needs and concerns.
Am I ready for this? Will I struggle through every phone call, every job interview, every appointment? Will I still struggle to say my name a few years from now?
All of these questions scare me, and if I allow them, they could just keep mounting in my heart like a huge wave, growing and growing and growing, until it eventually crashes over me and keeps me from living the life I know God wants me to live. God never intended for us to spend our lives drowning in a wave of fear and uncertainty. No matter how fearful my heart or how threatening the wave, God is greater.
On the other hand, something about turning 18 excites me so much. This is like opening a brand new chapter in my life. And although it seems scary right now, I also realize that this chapter may contain some beautiful things. More opportunities to speak means more opportunities to speak life into someone’s darkness or to encourage someone with a kind word. Getting a job and venturing a little bit out on my own mean meeting new people and experiencing new things. Going to college means finally starting to pursue the passions God has placed in my heart.
I want my life as a young adult to matter. I want to shine for Christ and love others as He loves them. With or without my stutter, I want to go out into the world every day with a smile to share and the joy of the Lord in my heart.
Turning 18 forces me to start confronting everything I have avoided all my life. Ready or not, here comes a new adventure!
Much love, Makenzie