WHY DID JESUS SPEAK SO STRONGLY AGAINST LUKEWARM FAITH?

To this day, I remember the message that brought me to Christ. The message was so strong that it still brings tears to my eyes because of the reverence and urgency in the speakers delivery…”What if Jesus were to come RIGHT NOW? Would you be ready?” Honestly, I felt so unworthy of God’s omnipresent love that I couldn’t even fathom that I, a lowly human being, could be forgiven of my sins through confession that Jesus is the Son of God and by being baptized into the watery grave. I have been a Christian for 11 years and I haven’t looked back.

It has not always been easy. Attending college and the need to fit in –  to surrounding myself with people who very likely did not have my best interest at heart… I became victim of being a lukewarm Christian. Because of my self-righteous complacency, my stubbornness and wanting to do things the “Kiara way.”

Over the years, I have realized how important having a relationship with God was. Not only that, but the guy that I would marry needed to have the same tenacity and longing for God as much as I do (iron sharpens iron). As Trey and I continue to court and seek out marriage, my dad suggested that before we get hitched, we go through spiritual relationship counseling. As direction given by our counselor at the end of our session, he challenged the both of us to read the Bible everyday. It wasn’t until I started reading the Bible not out of need because of something negative going on in my life, but out of necessity to feed my soul everyday was that I realized that everything I need as far as direction on what to do is in the Bible and is still applicable today.

I have found that for most of my Christian life, I have been a lukewarm Christian… until  recently. I don’t have much friends anymore. I enjoy attending church service and really try to hear, understand and apply the lessons taught and see how and where I can apply it in my daily life. But for so long, I was a lukewarm Christian. The beauty of it, is that you don’t have to be!

Read the devotion below and see how it can be applied in your daily life to boil in The Spirit!

DEVOTION

In Revelation 3:14–21, the Lord is describing the “lukewarm” heart attitude of those in the Laodicean church, an attitude manifested by their deeds. The Laodiceans were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm. Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can refresh and enliven. But lukewarm water carries no similar value. The Laodiceans understood the Lord’s analogy because their city drinking water came over an aqueduct from a spring six miles to the south, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. Laodicean water was not hot like the nearby hot springs that people bathed in, nor was it refreshingly cold for drinking. It was lukewarm, good for nothing. In fact, it was nauseating, and that was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—they sickened Him, and He said, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (verse 16).

The letter to the church at Laodicea is the harshest of the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor. By His indictment of their “deeds” (Revelation 3:15), Jesus makes it clear that this is a dead church. The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17). Their lukewarm faith was hypocritical; their church was full of unconverted, pretend Christians.

Jesus frequently equates deeds with a person’s true spiritual state: “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16–17). Clearly, the lukewarm deeds of the Laodiceans were not in keeping with true salvation. The deeds of the true believer will be “hot” or “cold”—that is, they will benefit the world in some way and reflect the spiritual passion of a life transformed. Lukewarm deeds, however—those done without joy, without love, and without the fire of the Spirit—do harm to the watching world. The lukewarm are those who claim to know God but live as though He doesn’t exist. They may go to church and practice a form of religion, but their inner state is one of self-righteous complacency. They claim to be Christians, but their hearts are unchanged, and their hypocrisy is sickening to God.

The fact that the lukewarm individuals to whom Christ speaks are not saved is seen in the picture of Jesus standing outside of the church (Revelation 3:20). He has not yet been welcomed into their midst. In love, the Lord rebukes and disciplines them, commanding them to repent (verse 19). He sees their lukewarm attitudes as “shameful nakedness” that needs to be clothed in the white garments of true righteousness (verse 18). He urges them to be earnest, or zealous, and commit themselves totally to Him. Our Lord is gracious and long-suffering and gives the lukewarm time to repent.

The Laodiceans enjoyed material prosperity that, coupled with a semblance of true religion, led them to a false sense of security and independence (see Mark 10:23). The expression “I am rich; I have acquired wealth” (Revelation 3:17) stresses that the wealth attained came though self-exertion. Spiritually, they had great needs. A self-sufficient attitude and lukewarm faith are constant dangers when people live lives of ease and prosperity.

PRAYER

 Oh, Father, You have created me with the capacity for deep affections —  and You made me this way that I may glorify You by finding you my Supreme Satisfaction and the Fountain of everything delightful.

But I confess that my affections for You are often grievously tepid while my selfish interests steam.

  • I am bold to defend my own honor and reputation and often timid to defend Yours.
  • I am quick to satisfy my bodily appetites and often slow to feed my soul with the Bread of Life.
  • I squander moments devoted to communing with You while carefully protecting moments devoted to banal entertainment.
  • I am distracted from speaking with you by books that need straightening, email that needs answering, and a bald spot in the yard that needs seeding.

I am easily and foolishly concerned with worldly success and prosperity while languid and unmoved about the greater things of another world!

And I know that my errant affections are most offensive to You when I hear of the infinite height, depth, and length, and breadth of your love for me in Christ Jesus,

O gracious Father, thank you that your Son’s great sacrifice is so great and so sufficient that it pays even for such sins as mine.

Father, I am humbled to the dust that I am not more affected at what affects you! I repent of being “slothful in zeal”! No more, Father! Make me boil in spirit as I serve you (Romans 12:11)! To be moved by your glorious gospel and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) is why you gave me affections! Nothing in earth or heaven is greater or more important.

Today, I take to heart Your Son’s warning: “Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). Merciful Father, make me hot! Whatever it takes, whatever it costs me, give me the Spirit-salve for my heart-eyes (Revelation 3:18) so that I may see what is Real, believe what is True, treasure what is Valuable, and forsake what is worthless.

In the name of Jesus, amen.

This prayer was inspired by and adapted from a portion of Jonathan Edwards’s book, Religious Affections (the last three paragraphs of Part 1).

 

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DON’T WORRY, YOU’RE IN YOUR 20s!

When something doesn’t go your way, you can get a tinge of disappointment. It may also seem like you may not have it together because it feels as if you aren’t worthy. The good thing is, you’re in your 20s and probably have made more mistakes than you could count. What’s even better is that you’re only in your 20s and that’s the beauty of it. A contributing writer from Advice from a 20 Something blog, Chelsea Becker, gives an inside into what not to worry about in your career in your 20s.

A TITLE

Sure, having “manager” next to your name or some other fancy word feels good, but titles aren’t always the truest indicators of salary or responsibilities. Focus on the details behind the title. If you’re happy with those, don’t throw a fit over the name of your role. You may even come to find that roles without heavy titles are the best.

STAYING IN THE SAME FIELD

There’s a lot of pressure in college to choose a major or degree that you want to spend your career doing. And there’s a lot of stress about finding a job that correlates with your skills. The thing is, you can easily bounce around in your 20s to see how different roles and fields feel to you—no matter your degree or resume. You can’t necessarily do this your whole career, but that’s exactly what your 20s are for.

HOW “COOL” THE COMPANY IS

Living in the Bay Area, I hear of the insane perks that come with companies like Facebook, Pinterest, and Google. It can start to feel like a normal company isn’t cool enough. But before chasing a popular company, think back about your actual role and happiness. If you’re enjoying where you’re at, settle with the smaller, less-known company. The grass isn’t always greener!

BEING BFFS WITH COWORKERS

My first job out of college, I became friends with everyone I worked with. We’d go out after work and I even spent some weekend time with them. Then layoffs and drama happened and it was hard to draw the line between coworker and friend. Being pleasant to the people you work with is crucial, but don’t feel like you need to attend every Happy Hour or know all the office gossip. Your main priority is your job.

COMPENSATION

Like I said before, this is your time to experiment! You want to make enough money to pay bills and save a little, but if a job that you’re pumped about is offering less than something you’re not pumped about, take the pay cut. Learn to manage your finances and create a budget—make the money work. Your salary will eventually increase. This may be the only time in life we can afford to not worry about a mortgage or other financial responsibilities that come with age.

Have fun testing the field!

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STATE OF TRANSITION

Last Monday, I hit a milestone! It has been exactly a year since my blog was birthed. I got the crazy idea to start Fasst and Fab during my last official “summer break” of college because I wanted a challenge. Some people may think this is odd, as the average person does not want to inflict themselves with more work, especially as they prepare to start their final year of college. But since starting Fasst and Fab, I have grown in ways that I never thought imaginableMy purpose, I realized, is this; to encourage people to learn from my experiences. I want to be a resource for individuals who are struggling with day-to-day nuances. If others find what I am doing to be inspiring, then that’s great! This blog is an outlet for others to seek inspiration and positivity amongst a negative world. And if I can provide that by exposing just a bit of myself, then that’s alright with me!

I have gone through so much in the past 2 months, and boy has it been a whirlwind! I have found myself in a constant state of transition. From graduating college to being in a solid relationship, and getting the opportunity to travel – all before beginning the newest chapter of my life at a company right out of college.

Graduating

One of the most liberating and monumental moments of my life was graduating college. I had one of those “pinch-me-is-this-real” moments while I sat with over 1,000 of my peers who, like me, had gone through the struggle of finding their place in the world and meeting constant deadlines presented by multiple professors at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment and I was very proud of myself. While I sat and listened to all of speakers go up and have their time to send the Class of 2016 off, I began to get emotional as I suspect anyone would during such a momentous time! Just like that, a few seconds on the stage concluded one chapter of my life.

My New Job

During the last few months of my college career, I began aggressively looking for a full-time job. I did not begin applying for jobs until January 2016, however, I began the process in November 2015. I felt that it was important that I take the approach that I did so that I was ahead of the game. It also gave me a sense of security knowing that I had secured a job exactly 2 months before graduation.

I work at an integrated marketing agency who is also a member of the 4A’s association, giving me a tremendous amount of resources to use in addition to the experienced professional’s I work with on a day-to-day basis. Since beginning my journey as a working adult on June 6th, I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. A characteristic of the company that drew me in was how they are truly an integrated agency. The company began as a production firm, but expanded into account services, business development, creative, and interactive/web development. We are the only agency in our area to provide all of those services which is why we win such great clientele. I am so glad that I was able to land a job that I like with a degree that coincides with the work that I do!

My Relationship

In keeping with the theme of being in a state of transition I have been dating a guy in the Air Force for over 4 months (it’ll be 5 months on the 26th!). At the moment, Trey is deployed and is expected to return in late September, beginning of October. Before he left, we were able to spend much needed time together. We traveled to the beach, I met his parents and friends for the first time and we visited the countries capital, D.C.

In the beginning months of us dating, he expressed how much he loved to travel and so do I! We have much in common and he has been a blessing. There have been challenges in our relationship, such as, the distance that always seems to be between us, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. There is a concerted effort between the two of us to make sure that distance does not get in the way of our relationship. While he gets the opportunity to travel the world, I am working on myself and ensuring that I am flourishing as an individual.

In the short amount of time we’ve known one another, he has gotten me through some pretty tough times where I was unsure of myself or a particular situation and he has always been there to lift me up, put a smile my face and tell me “everything is going to be alright, J.” And ya know, sometimes you need that. You need someone to tell you that it’s going to be alright because it will!

The only constant in life is change and I’m learning to embrace it. The hardest part for some may be adapting, but as long as you realize that change allows for growth and the fruition of all things, adapting isn’t so hard. I have learned that resisting change is disabling God from giving you something larger than what you thought you wanted. Change is trusting God.

Are you in a state of transition? Share your experience in the comments or on social media @fasstandfab!

 

 

 

 

7 THINGS COUPLES WHO STAY TOGETHER DO OFTEN

We all know that one couple (or maybe a few) who seem to be doing everything right. They navigate marriage (or relationship) with ease and make being a couple look so effortless. Don’t be fooled; a ton of effort goes into making any relationship a great one. Here are seven thing you can do everyday to make yours go the distance.

JOKE

A long-lasting relationship shouldn’t be so serious. Couples who can laugh and joke together on a daily basis develop a deep friendship that is essential in any marriage or relationship.

COMPLIMENT

Getting a little positive recognition for our efforts is something we all crave. Many times, it’s the people we are closest to that we fail to recognize. Giving each other regular compliments are the little things you love about them will really help your relationship go the distance. You smell really nice today, Thanks for working so hard, and You’re the best thing that’s happened to me, are all good places to start.

COMPROMISE

When you enter into a partnership, you become the other half to a whole. Your desires, whims, and needs don’t always come first and sometimes conflict with the other person’s. Anyone who has been in a happy one, you have to compromise. Your hubby/boyfriend loves sports or motorcycles? Sometimes you have to hand over the remote, or take a daring ride. It’s like a see-saw: you each take turns getting what you want.

SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

You can’t get to that diamond anniversary without spending a little quality time together. At least once a week, schedule a night to be with your special someone, sans kids. Go to dinner and a movie, hold hands in public, catch a concert, or drop the kids off at grandma’s and enjoy some quality alone time in your own house.

APOLOGIZE 

Two of the hardest words in the English language happen to be, “I’m sorry.”

When conflicts arise, evaluate whether it is more important to be right, or more important  to be happy. Don’t hold onto old arguments. Don’t wait for the other person to apologize first–you’ll cause an unnecessary standoff that will cost you valuable time together. Be the first to put your pride in your pocket and say, “I’m sorry” more freely. Besides, we all know, the sooner we apologize, the sooner we can start making up.

LISTEN, PROCESS, AND ACT

A major complaint of couples everywhere is a lack of communication, “He just doesn’t listen to me,” or “I can’t even talk to her without an overreaction.” Effective communication essentially means: listen, process, then act.

First, listen, without interrupting to what the other person is saying. Don’t react immediately. Take a moment to process and think about how you would like to respond. When you do respond, do so truthfully and earnestly. Lastly, act upon the request. If John voices his concern about Sarah’s latest designer shoe shopping spree, Sarah should first listen, without getting defensive, then take a moment to process and think about how her spree affected John. Lastly, they can decide on a course of action they can both be happy with. {Sarah knows she simply can’t live without the Manolo Blahniks, but agrees that the Jimmy Choo pumps can wait.}

TRY EVERYDAY TO MAKE THE OTHER PERSON HAPPY

The number one thing that couples who stay together do, every single day is make each other happy. When you truly love someone, you want to give them the best; you want them to be happy. When both of you feel this way, you’ve conquered the secret to a long-lasting, healthy, over-the-moon happy relationship.

GOD HELPS THE HELPLESS

BIBLE THOUGHT: “THE LORD IS WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARE WITH HIM. IF YOU SEEK HIM, HE WILL BE FOUND BY YOU” (2 CHRONICLES 15:2, NASB)

READ 2 CHRONICLES 14:9-15 for a better understanding of the lesson.

HAVE YOU ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Have you felt alone in the fight for the right or that you are weak and the forces of evil around you are so strong? Have you feared that the big bully down the street is always going to get the best of you?

To most eyes, Asa and his army were greatly outnumbered on the battlefield that day. However, with God on their side they greatly outnumbered the enemy.

No matter how weak we seem to be, no matter how strong the evil forces around us seem to be, there is no one like God to help the powerless against the mighty.

When we rely on God and draw our strength from Him, then we will overcome the difficulties of our lives.

When we are on God’s side, we are always in the majority, no matter how many are against us.

Give me a task too big,

Too hard for human hands.

Then I shall come at length

To lean on Thee;

An leaning, find my strength.

-Wilbur Humphrey Fowler

Sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Prayer: Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, for we rely on You. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– NANCY FERGUSON, Abilene, Texas

This lesson is brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

WHY ARE YOU HERE?

BIBLE THOUGHT: “I SOUGHT THE LORD, AND HE ANSWERED ME; HE DELIVERED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS. THOSE WHO LOOK TO HIM ARE RADIANT; THEIR FACES ARE NEVER COVERED WITH SHAME” (PSALM 34:4-5, NASB)

READ 1 KINGS 19:1-9 for an application of this lesson.

TRUE ISRAELITE prophets were often fiercely opposed by monarchs and the religious rich–sometimes threatened, beaten, and driven into hiding. Some lamented and complained. Some, like Jonah, fled. Consider Elijah, whose early prophetic career was sensational, miraculous, and heroic, was later seen hiding in the cave at Horeb. What happened?

At Horeb Elijah sought the safety of a sacred place, not God. Shamefully, it wasn’t where God told him to go. Elijah’s only prayers, motivated by fear, was, “Take my life!” Then he ran extreme distances. Horeb is 250 miles from Mt. Carmel. Damascus, where God finally sent him, is 540 miles north.

Before God commanded Elijah to “Go!” God pressed him with a disorienting question: “Why are you here?” Elijah responded defensively, never answering God’s question.

What are you doing wherever you are? Why? God is asking. His plan is good, His delivery is sure!

Sing “Take My Life and Let It Be

Prayer: O Lord, may Your calling and claim on my life give it clear meaning and direction. Daily, may I faithfully seek You, Your help, and Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– CRAIG BOWMAN, Rochester, Michigan

Today’s lesson has been brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

POWER IN SERVICE

BIBLE THOUGHT: “YOU KNOW THAT THE RULERS OF THE GENTILES LORD IT OVER THEM, AND THEIR HIGH OFFICIALS EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER THEM. NOT SO WITH YOU. INSTEAD, WHOEVER WANTS TO BECOME GREAT AMONG YOU MUST BE YOUR SERVANT” (MATTHEW 20:25-26, NASB).

READ 1 KINGS 12:1-19 to gain a better understanding of this lesson.

THERE IS a paradox inherent in leadership. The more we attempt to control people the less control we have over them. Those who rule with a heavy hand, issuing edicts from on high, then sitting back to critique the labor of their subjects, will soon find rebellion and desertion among the ranks. However, those who lead by rolling up their sleeves and joining the workforce will win the loyalty and respect of their followers.

Peter understood this principle when he exhorted elders to be “eager to serve, of lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). Although we may not hold an official position of leadership, likely we serve as leaders in some capacity. As parents, do we work alongside our children as they perform their chores, or do we sit in our easy chairs, barking out orders while reading the newspaper or watching TV? As Bible class teachers, do we learn the memory verses along with our students, or peek in our Bibles as they recite to be sure it’s right? As coaches, do we play alongside our athletes or watch our athletes suffer in pain and smirk?

Let’s resolve today to follow the example of Jesus, our ultimate leader, who “…did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:28).

Sing “Lord, Make Me a Servant

Prayer: Father, please give us the heart of a servant and help us not to ask or expect anyone to do anything that we are not ready and willing to do ourselves. In the name of Your Servant, Jesus. Amen.

– JAN KNOX, Granbury, Texas

This lesson was brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

PRAYER IS A LIFESAVER

BIBLE THOUGHT: “THEREFORE CONFESS YOUR SINS TO EACH OTHER AND PRAY FOR EACH OTHER SO THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED. THE PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN IS POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE” (JAMES 5:16, NASB)

READ 1 SAMUEL 12:16-25 for a better application of the lesson.

I HEARD a story about a bald eagle soaring over a lake. The eagle sent his talons deep into the lake for a fish, but his catch was far too heavy! The eagle began to sink when two other eagles appeared. Each one went under one of the wings of their comrade and carried him to safety. What a beautiful picture of prayer.

I like to think that prayers build walls of love around those prayed for. The walls are built with sincere concern, promoting healing and well being in Christ.

Make a wall of love and prayers for someone today. You may not know the results of your prayers, but God knows. You can be strong, lifting wings for a friend in need.

Sing “Pray All the Time

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for answering our prayers. We worship, adore and glorify You in every way. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

– JOAN CLAYTON, Clovis, New Mexico

Devotion pulled from POWER, a daily devotional magazine.

A POWER-FULL LIFE

BIBLE THOUGHT: “‘MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS'” (2 CORINTHIANS 12:9, NASB)

READ 1 SAMUEL 1:9-20 for a better application of this lesson.

I REMEMBER driving nervously to the hospital on the day our baby girl was born, being so fearful that she would not be healthy. I prayed through my fears, “God I’m so afraid that she will not be healthy, happy, and all that we want her to be! If she isn’t… I can’t sustain that thought!” Then I knew the only hope was to give her to Him, “She is Yours, God.” I prayed that prayer with all the sincerity that Hannah prayed in her prayer to God. I knew that He agreed, “Yes. She is mine.”

Four years later, we learned that our precious little one had Type I diabetes. I held her tiny, trusting finger as they stabbed it for a blood test. Tears welled in both of us. What will this mean for her life? There is no cure. And every blood-lancing day since, she has battled that disease.

But every day since she has also exuded God’s beauty, His goodness. She sees life as God’s art. We could not change a single thing about her including her disease. And she agrees. She often quotes the full passage of our Bible thought as she testifies to God’s grace to her in her weakness. She is thankful even for this weakness and its pointing to God’s power.

Sing “The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Prayer: Lord of life, help us today to see the glory of Christ shine in our weaknesses. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– PHIL PHILLIPS, Westlake Village, California

This lesson was brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

20 THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU WILL HAPPEN AFTER YOU GRADUATE COLLEGE

I am beyond excited to be graduating from college. I have been here for 5 years and after all the adversity I had to overcome during my time here, it makes me feel that much more ready to face the real world. Some soon-to-be-grads may find that graduating is daunting but John Acuff, a bestselling author of five books, including his latest, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work & Never Get Stuck, gives us some reassuring advice for those scared out of their mind to graduate college.

  1. The real world is more fun than grumpy adults have ever told you.

Don’t listen to people in their 40s who act like the best part of your life ends the minute you get your diploma. Is the real world all cotton candy and unicorn rides? No. But neither is college. Misery loves company and recruits it too. When you start a new job there will inevitably be a group of people there who don’t like their job and don’t like being an adult. Avoid those people like the plague. They’ve brought into the cultural lie that a “job is just a job” and that you should only work for the weekend. Nonsense. Your job can be meaningful. Your weekdays can matter.

2. One of your friends will be instantly successful.

This does not necessarily have to be a close friend, but rather an acquaintance that you use to call on for a study buddy. You just know each other because you either took a really hard class together or you both are enrolled in the same major. They may move to New York City or San Francisco and make finding a job seem easy. They will earn the kind of money that allows you to pay for your own HBOGo pass instead of stealing your parents’. You will hate them for a little bit because watching their meteoric rise through the filtered window of social media will make you feel like it will never happen for you. Don’t get caught in the trap of comparison… as long as you continue to set goals for yourself you will be able to achieve just as much as your envied friend.

3. Your first job might not involve your major in a major way.

This is only a minor problem. You have 40+ years to reunite your job with your major – or you find that your major does not have major bearing on what you do in life and that’s fine. For me personally, I have found a job that complements my major but it I’ve realized that it’s alright if I go outside of the box. I want to be multi-faceted and so should you!

4. Your 20s are lonelier than you think they’ll be.

With the exception of your 21st birthday, arguably the last milestone that one could say is the most exciting. They’re glamorized in culture, presented as the time of your life. As you binge watch an entire season of House of Cards on Netflix, you will wonder, is every other person my age at an amazing party right now that I didn’t know about? They’re not. The truth is, when you leave college, you leave the tightest largest concentration of people who are your age. Suddenly, you’re scattered around the country and community won’t involve walking out onto the quad. You’ll have to fight for it. That’s not failure, that’s reality. Seek it out. It’s not easy to make friends as an adult but it’s definitely possible if you’re brave enough.

In addition, you may not be able to get together with your friends from college as often as you’d like because of your work schedules or you guys are not geographically close to one another. That’s an opportunity for you to plan with them and set a date to meet up or go on a mini vacation. Setting a date give you something to look forward to!

5. Being an adult comes with an obscene amount of paperwork.

Stay on top of it. Taxes, 401K enrollment, healthcare, apartment contracts… Prepare to be awash in forms that make the Apple iTunes agreement seem pleasant. Don’t ignore the paperwork. I once did and assumed the company I worked for would handle a healthcare issue I had. (I thought I had kidney stones; turns out it was just an ultimate Frisbee injury. What an adult I was!) I threw the paperwork in the trash. I didn’t think anything of it until years later when a collection agency came after me for $81 and my credit was garbage.

6. Your generation gets unfairly labeled for entitlement. Don’t accept that. 

Be humble at work. Show up with questions and a willingness to learn. Don’t act like you know everything already. You don’t, but you know what? Neither do we. People my age and the generations older than I am are a little afraid of you sometimes. We’re scared of the technologies you might know about that we’ve never even heard of. We don’t want to look dumb when we ask, “What is YikYak?” The truth is, we need you, just like you need us.

7. Pay attention in meetings.

Roughly 93 percent of your job depends on your ability to do this. You might have been able to tune out in a class of 400 people for an hour but if you try that in a meeting at work, people are going to notice. Don’t text under the table with your phone either. We can see you.

8. Treat email like it matters.

The other 7 percent of your job will be managing email. I sure wish it wasn’t because I hate email. (In fact, if you want to give me feedback about this article, just tweet me @JonAcuff instead. Feel free to say, “@JonAcuff your commencement tips are awesome/suck” depending on how you think it’s going.) You have to communicate clearly in your emails. You need to respond to your managers and coworkers quickly. You need to stay out of stupid passive-aggressive traps, like CCing someone’s superior, as a veiled threat. Work your inbox like it’s your job. Because it is.

9. Take risks.

You don’t have mortgages or kids or other responsibilities yet. Want to go abroad for a year and make a micro-salary teaching English? Want to start a business specializing in a heritage breed of rabbits for hipsters who are tired of suburban chickens already? Go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You try it for a year, it fails and now you’re 23. You’ve got the rest of your life to play it safe.

10. Don’t put off your college loans.

The 9,000-pound elephant/gorilla/large scary animal in the corner is your student loans. Sallie Mae doesn’t mess around. Ignoring that you owe money doesn’t make them go away. Paying them back does.

11. Hold your money with an open hand.

Money is a something that pretends to be an Everything. It’s perfectly fine to take a job for a few years just to pay the bills and get by. There’s nobility in that. As your career progresses though, be careful that you don’t chase money at the exclusion of everything else. The amount of cash that will make you perfectly happy is always a “little more.” It’s a never-ending chase that has hollowed our many a 40-year-old.

12. If you move home, make sure you bring an exit strategy with you. 

Pay rent to your parents. Do your own laundry. Buy your own food. Have a deadline for how long you’re going to stay there. Home is comfortable but the distance between comfortable and complacent is surprisingly short.Just because you’re sleeping in the same room you had in middle school doesn’t mean you have to act like an adolescent. And if anyone tries to make you feel ashamed to be living at home with your parents, don’t listen to them.

13. Don’t spend all your time with idiots and then wonder why it’s hard to meet someone great to date.

If you moved to the desert and then told me the kayaking there is terrible, I would agree. Then I’d ask why you expected sand dunes to offer optimal water sports. “Become the kind of person you want to be with” might be cliched advice best suited to Hallmark cards, but “Go where the people you want to be like are” isn’t.

14. Don’t ask to work from home the first week of your new job.

Though more companies are offering that option, it’s still a privilege, not a right.

15. Jump into the wild west of side jobs.

The days of having the same job for 40 years and then getting a gold watch when you retire are over. Hooray! Your job won’t be limited or defined by geography. The internet has leveled the playing field. Anyone can connect with anyone. You don’t need a physical storefront or even a physical product to start a business. Your ability to make money will only be limited by your ability to hustle.

16. Figure out which part of your career needs the most work.

The best careers and biggest adventures are determined by our ability to invest in four distinct things: Relationships, Skills, Character and Hustle.

17. Don’t become a dinosaur.

Just because your formal education might have ended doesn’t mean you should stop learning. If you don’t keep old skills sharp and continue learning new ones your career will become obselete.

18. Don’t burn many bridges.

Every industry is smaller than you think. Do your best as many relationships intact at every job you have. Chances are, you’ll work with a lot of the same people again during your career.

19. Put your phone down when you’re talking to someone.

Nothing says “this job doesn’t matter to me” like staring into your phone when you’re having a face-to-face conversation with a coworker. Want a simple way to build the kind of character that will serve you for a lifetime? Ignore your phone instead of the people you’re with.

20. Drake was right.

You are going to start at the bottom. That’s OK. Put your pride aside and recognize this as a starting point. This isn’t your final job, it’s your first job. You’ve got one foot on the ladder and now you get to climb it. Give yourself time and be patient.

Welcome to the real world, where people who are almost 40 reference Drake in a thinly veiled attempt to seem hip. I’m not. I need you to teach me about what’s coming next. So does everyone else.

Congratulations on finishing college.

Congratulations on joining the real world.

We’ve been waiting for you.

Jon Acuff is the author of five books, including the recent Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work & Never Get Stuck, which focuses on building a long-lasting career by investing in a “Career Savings Account.”

 

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