Essential Steps To Set Up Your Life

Developing a young adults Singles Ministry has its challenges, but it is also a space to positively impact those moving through young adulthood. I carried some life lessons into my twenties.  I also learned some crazy life lessons during this important time in my life. Now I have an opportunity to help develop and encourage others who are sizing the shoes I once wore. Looking back, I can recognize a few crucial things that I’m so glad I learned that now help me live life in a way I never would have considered before. 

William Shepherd

Here are 6 essentials for your twenties

that can help you live to the


1. Relationship with God not Religion

Focus in on learning and internalizing who God says He is. We spend so much time listening to what other people say about him, but what we really need to dive into scripture and find out for ourselves who He is and what God really is all about. When I was a teenager I set myself up for failure in my early twenties by building a foundation on religion, not relationship: a relationship with God that would withstand every religious attempt to do right. I eventually realized I couldn’t do right all the time on my own. I got frustrated and my shallow relationship with God led me out of church completely. So with that said, discover a relationship with God and develop that through daily prayer, diving into scripture, and connecting with others to hold you accountable. Don't just "go to church" or "do the right thing" all the time. 


2. Find your Identity

When you know you are somebody, you will quit wasting time trying to be somebody. Colossians 3:3 says, " For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. "  So often we try to identify with a group or circle of people. We do this to be accepted. When we gravitate to being accepted by others we start losing who God created us to be! Everyone is created uniquely to complete different things for God’s kingdom. You can't  effectively do what God created you to do if you are trying to change who you are. When you know who God created you to be , you begin to identify the “labels” that limit you, and you begin to know yourself. Knowing yourself will launch you into #3..


3. Discover your Calling

Consider corporate calling (Why do we exist? What are we here for?) Why? Because when you see the big picture clearly, it becomes easy to use that as a filter for the smaller picture of your personal life. We complicate God’s calling on our life too much! It is simply this: use how God’s wired you (gifts, skills, personality, experiences) to further “the big picture”. The reality is that you can do anything with your life. But if you have the blessing of living a long healthy life, toward the end when you look back , will you be able to say it was time well spent for what is coming next? I used to think I had all the time in the world. Now, as a man in my thirties, I realize how fast my twenties actually went. I can never get that time back. Find out what God is calling you to do, start ASAP, and stick with it! 


4. Develop Some Character

Character development is a life-long process, but during young adulthood your character is being formed in a way that can set the tone for the rest of your life. Invest your time and thought into this. It will open up doors for you. It will lead you into knowing your personal gifts and into your calling. It will define relationships and it will become your greatest gift to others.  I think of David in the field tending his father’s sheep. He spent a lot of this time wielding a sling , doing basic shepherding , and farming before he became a King. However, these years shaped his heart in a way that would set him up to be an incredible leader. Looking back I’m thankful for my parents and people in my life who showed me tough love over the years. I am also thankful for the people spoke many words of wisdom in my life that have stuck with me.  Your character is what makes you, you. 


5. Commit to Discipline.

Discipline is a characteristic that comes at a price. It requires pushing and stretching yourself in ways  that will be uncomfortable. Since I was kid , I remember being taught that it takes discipline to reach goals and improve my life. There was one spring I can remember wanting a 10 - speed bicycle. I asked my parents for it. We had a 4 acre field that was going to be used for gardening that summer. I was told if I wanted the bicycle , every rock larger than a golf ball had to pulled out of the field and moved to a rock pile on the other side of our property, and at that point I would be reward with the bicycle I wanted. So, every morning I got up early for months, I pushed a wheelbarrow and removed every rock out of the field. Later that summer I was riding a sweet yellow Mongoose 10 - speed. The point of the story is that what I wanted didn’t come because I only wanted it. It took discipline to get it. Discipline took me from wanting to having it. I have carried this principle with me all my life and never forgot how I got that bicycle. For years, I have woken up early in the morning to plan out my day. For one hour every morning I sit with my coffee and do nothing but personally develop. I read, pray, meditate, and strategize. That time is strictly devoted to becoming better at figuring out “what rocks I need to move”. Discipline is what is going to set you apart from everyone else. It is what is going to make rise to the next level of excellence in life, and in your relationships. 


6. Find Your Values.

Determine early on what matters most to you and write your goals down. Ask yourself what matters the most to you, and then ask yourself , "Does this matter the most to Jesus?" Look at Jesus’ life as an example. Study what He valued in His earthly ministry. Pick some role models who value the things that line up with God’s principles. Remember that goals are always time-specific, but values are timeless. Your values will guide you through the major times in life. What you value will determine your outcome in business dealings and personal relationships. Values also align your priorities, priorities will determine your habits, habits will determine your lifestyle, and your lifestyle will determine your destiny. 

-Will Shepherd
Singles Ministry Director, CityLight LA