So many of us start out in our 20s full of dreams and idealism, and then reality hits.

So many of us start out in our 20s full of dreams and idealism. We’re going to see the world. We’re going to address injustice. We’re going to touch the widow and the orphan.

And then—WHAM!!—reality hits. You get married, have kids, and get a job and a mortgage. Throw in the odd crisis—the loss of a job, sickness—and all those dreams fall by the wayside.

You feel the weight of responsibility, and who can blame you for giving up?

But the good news for any of you who wonder if life is passing you by is that you do have options. Here are five:

1. Prioritize Simplicity

Get a job that gives you the flexibility to live missionally. Who says you need to live at such a high standard of living? Why not buy a clunker instead of being strapped to a car payment? What if you were to rent an inexpensive apartment instead of buying a house? Take a Dave Ramsey seminar, and you might be surprised at the options that open up to you. If you had more time and money, you could be more missional. By living simply, my daughter Emily is leading a project in a Honduran orphanage right now. Downsize and you could join her.

2. Family Sabbatical

This is a great option if you’ve got a job that allows you significant time off. A lot of teachers have two months off in the summer, and some of them go on long mission trips. Beyond that, some people are able to take an extended leave of absence to volunteer somewhere. One of our best parenting decisions was to bring our kids with us on long mission trips to Mexico, Swaziland, and Peru.

Seth Barnes I'm a work in process. I've found that the main thing one needs in a relationship with God is hunger to know Him and be in His presence. As for the rest of my life, Karen and I are going through a transition as three of our five children are leaving the nest, leaving us with our two youngest, two dogs & a cat. One of our great consolations is the wonderful group of friends at AIM. They are truly the body of Christ to us. Life here is always an adventure and I wouldn't have it any other way!

More from Seth Barnes or visit Seth at

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