Being a Millennial is Hard. Here’s Why:

being-a-millennial-is-hard

I just received word from our financial adviser that, yet again, our debt-to-income ratio is too high to buy a house.

I have a good job. My husband has a good job. We both regularly bring in additional income with side gigs. And yet, here we are, 30 years old and still unable to buy a house.

Getting this news is always demoralizing. I’m instantly flooded with thoughts of inadequacy, incompetence, inability. I feel less than. My spirit is crushed. I choked back tears while on the phone with our financial adviser.

You might be tempted to think we are fiscally irresponsible. Our credit scores would tell you otherwise. We manage our money as responsibly as we can. While we do have some consumer debt, it’s not large and we are constantly striving to eliminate it.

The problem is that we have massive amounts of student loan debt. For me, personally, it’s practically the size of a mortgage.

I cannot adequately express to you how hard it is for me to claim that publicly, which should tell you something since I’m a writer with a Letters degree, so words are my thing. The balance of my student loan debt brings me great shame. So much so, that before Ryan, I was convinced no man would ever want to marry me when he learned of my debt situation. And when Ryan and I reached the point in our relationship where I needed to disclose this information, I ugly cried as I revealed it to him.

Owning a home is a lifelong dream of mine. In my entire life, I’ve never lived in a home that I or my family has owned. I’ve never had a house that was chiefly and supremely MINE. My grandma’s house is the closest I’ve come – she owned her home.

Student loan debt doesn’t just rob me of fulfilling my homeowner dreams. Though I have 2 toddler age children, I have to work instead of stay at home with them, which is what I’d rather do. And because I have to work, we pay insane childcare costs for someone else to spend the majority of the day with our kids. It’s heartbreaking some days.

You might think this is my own fault – I should have made better financial choices in college. You might be right, at least partially. Maybe I should have chosen a more lucrative degree path (that I probably would have hated it and have a terrible quality of life because I’d be working a job that would make me want to claw my eyes out). Maybe I should have borrowed less (though that would have made college impossible, because I only borrowed what was needed and worked 30+ hours/week every year of college except my freshman year). Maybe I should have done many things differently – and I’ll admit there are things I would change if I could go back.

I don’t think I’m entirely to blame, though. Statistics tell me I’m not alone in my situation – though sometimes it feels that way, especially when I have many friends my age who are in a much better position financially then we are, so it seems. Millennials are burdened by education debt moreso than any former generation – and the cost of education continues to rise. So, cut us some slack before you point fingers. I don’t think an entire generation – millions of people – would all have this in common if there weren’t a systemic issue at hand.

It’s like when you fail a test in school, and then you learn that 95% of the class failed it, too. Maybe it wasn’t that the class didn’t study well enough, maybe it was that the professor was terrible but was still teaching because he had tenure.

I don’t expect a handout, but a hand up wouldn’t be so bad.

All of this to say, I’m disappointed and discouraged, again. But, in spite of that, I’m going to continue working hard to accomplish the dreams Ryan and I have for ourselves and our family. Ultimately, I know my self-worth is not found in owning a home.  Though I sometimes struggle with feeling this way, I know that my value as a person isn’t based on the size of my student loan debt.

It’s just hard, some days. Today is one of those days.

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

— WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEITH GETTY, KRISTYN GETTY AND GRAHAM KENDRICK ©2014 GETTY MUSIC PUBLISHING (BMI) / MAKEWAY MUSIC (ADMIN BY MUSICSERVIES.ORG)

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#creationdebate And the Winner is…

Last night, my husband and I (along with thousands of other online viewers and a 900+ public audience) watched as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) debated the question: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”

Now, I won’t restate the arguments posited (you may go watch the debate if you desire). Both men advocated for their scientific position ardently, and though I favor one side more than the other, there was a third contender in the debate who I feel earned my allegiance more than Ham or Nye. Though it had no voice of its own, it was clearly represented in the discussion: critical thinking. 

The debate between Nye and Ham illustrated quite clearly the great need for critical thinking in regards to issues that involve “great mysteries,” as Nye put it. Questions such as “Where does consciousness come from?”, “What is the purpose of man?” and “Why should the Bible be an authority in daily life?” require thoughtful investment in order to edify the church, bear fruit for the kingdom, and bring honor to God.

What is critical thinking?

To think critically is to engage in the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. In other words, it’s thinking seriously about an idea or belief before making a conclusion about it.

Everyone thinks, it’s a natural process. But often our thinking is biased, uninformed, distorted, or prejudiced. However, we must become disciplined and “take every thought captive to Christ” as a part of our spiritual growth process. As a part of our sanctification, then, we must work through things thoughtfully in order to be raised up to the fullness of maturity in Jesus.

Why is critical thinking important?

Aside from some of the aforementioned reasons (unbiased thought, spiritual maturity), critical thinking is an essential part of the believer’s life for a few other reasons.

1. Blind faith is no faith at all.

“Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation.” – Charles Spurgeon

If you say you believe something, yet you can’t communicate why you believe it or what it is you believe, then can you truly claim to believe it? To believe in something is to let it take root deep inside you and infuse your very being, including your thinking. Part of “loving God with all your mind” is to be a lifelong student of His Word and the wells of truth which it contains.

2. It is part of reaching a lost and dying world.

“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15

Part of being in the millennial generation is the belief that to adhere to any religious tradition, especially to the doctrines of the evangelical Christian faith, is to sacrifice one’s intellectual integrity. Yet, there is logic and reason throughout Scripture. Believers need to know, and be able to share, how the Christian faith is a reasonable belief system. This is especially true for reaching and engaging young people with the truth of the gospel.

3. God is honored by it.

“Glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking…the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart.” – John Piper, Think

Some people are naturally more emotional, and some are naturally more analytical or intellectual. Our natural inclinations do not excuse us from loving God with ALL of our beings, our minds and our hearts. God does not say to Isaiah “Come, let us reason together,” (Isaiah 1:18)  if he does not intend to engage our minds through His Word for His glory.

Critical Thinking in 3 “Easy” Steps

I’m not advocating that we all be stoic scholars or intellectual elitists. Critical thinking doesn’t have to be some laborious process. Here are a few things you can start doing to help you start thinking more critically about your beliefs and the world around you:

1. Ask questions. What does this text mean? Where did that speaker get his/her information? What is the source of this evidence? Is this a reliable source of information? Evaluate evidence, look for weaknesses or flaws, and examine the issue from other angles or perspectives.

2. Consult knowledgable people/resources on the subject. Wikipedia might be a nice go-to for quick information, but it probably isn’t the most reliable resource upon which to stake your belief in something. Utilize the wealth of wisdom around you. If you’re reading something from the Bible or you hear somebody claim something from the Bible that you don’t quite understand, consult your pastor, youth pastor, pastor’s wife, etc. Even if that person can’t give you an immediate answer, I can almost guarantee he/she will hop on board to investigate it with you.

3. Make an informed conclusion. The aim of critical thinking is well-reasoned judgments that hold up under examination and scrutiny. As believers in Christ, our ultimate authority is God’s Word, and like the Berean Jews, we must ensure that our conclusions about our beliefs are in accord with Scripture.

“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20

There is much that could be said about last night’s debate. Above all, I think it is illustrative of the ongoing need for the Church to equip the saints to think critically about matters of doctrine and faith in order to bring honor to God, to edify the Church, and to bear fruit for the kingdom of heaven.