Today, I'm linking up with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: When. 

Five Minute Friday 4 300x300

As a youth worker, I often hear teens say things like, 

- "When I grow up..."

- "When I finish this year..." 

- "When this test is over..." 

- "When college is finished..." 

- "When I start my career..." 

- "When I get married..." 

Typically, these statements end with something like, 

- "Then life will be good... Or at least better than it is now." 

- "Then I'll have the time and resources to serve God." 

Often, such statements frustrate me. But then I think about where teens have learned them from and realize I have to look no further than the mirror.    

How often have I uttered similar sentiments? 

- "When I publish my first article..." 

- "When I get my master's degree..." 

- "When I write my first book..." 

- "When I get pregnant..."     

Such statements convey the same sense of restlessness and discontent I hear in my youth: The belief that when those things happen, life will improve, I'll be content, or I will have somehow "arrived". 

Don't get be wrong. Dreams are good - for me and the teens with whom I'm privileged to work. 

But I can't help but wonder if our obsession over "when" sometimes does more harm than good. 

When will we learn that there is joy to be found NOW? 

When will we learn that if we aren't content now, we're unlikely to be content in the future? 

When will we learn that God is in our now and that even as we work toward achieving our dreams, we can - young and old alike - serve and glorify him? 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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