“Just wait until college. That’s when the real hard work begins.”

“Just wait until you have a full-time job; it becomes so monotonous and annoying.”

“Just wait until you get married. You’ll see how hard it is!”

“Just wait until you’ve been married as long as I have; you won’t be excited to get home to your husband then!”

“Just wait until you have a kid; that’s when you really never get to sleep ever again!”

“Just wait until you have two kids.  One kid is a cakewalk compared to having two.”

If ever there was a way to strike unnecessary fear into the soul of a person, using the phrase “Just wait until” is it.  Let’s do better than this, fellow Christians.  I know we can do better.

My hunch: Any person who uses this phrase doesn’t even realize what the words are revealing about his or her own heart.

Let’s think about our motivation when we use these words. Allow me to ask a few rhetorical questions, will ya’?: When we use this phrase, what is our objective? Is it to tear down the other person? Is it to brag about how much more we deal with than the other person? Is it to give advice?

Friends, I’d like us to drop this phrase from our culture completely.  Consider this: Thessalonians 5.11 says “…encourage one another and build each other up…” (CSB).

I just want to really spell it out, here: This phrase used in this way is literally not an encouragement or help to anyone.  It is not a way to build up another person. It is exactly the opposite: A way of tearing others down–a way to deflate another person.

As Christians, we should be encouraging one another, cheering for one another. When we spit out these words under the guise of a warning or an attempt to advise another, we are not encouraging one another.

We. Just. Aren’t.

And consider this: In the third chapter of James, he says that the tongue “is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” used to “bless our Lord and Father” and “curse people who are made in God’s likeness” (James 3.8-9 CSB).

Fellow Christians, when we use this phrase in this manner, we are being a poison to the hearer.

Sheesh, Rebecca, that seems harsh.

Remember? I’m speaking to myself, too.

We are essentially telling others to trade the treasuring of this moment to the fearing of the future, to expect to be married to someone for decades without really even enjoying them, to view children as merely a nuisance, to refuse to see opportunities as gifts from God himself, to dread the upcoming stage of life instead of embracing it and leaning into Jesus Christ who has saved us from evil.

I don’t want this type of speaking to be my legacy.

I have a sneaking suspicion you don’t either.

Sistas, hear me!

Now, let me speak to my Christian Sisters for a sec, mmk?

I truly believe that, at every stage of life, there is someone younger than us who can learn from us.  We can teach our younger siblings (if we have any) just about anything when we’re kids; we can tutor elementary students when we’re in high school; we can lead outreach to high school students when we’re in college; we can minister to college students once we’ve graduated; we can coach engaged couples once we’re married; we can encourage newlyweds and new mothers after we’ve gone ahead of them and had these experiences.  I, myself, have participated in almost all of these endeavors and count myself blessed to have been mentored by sweet Christian women who I admire and aspire to emulate to this day. And I have a mentor who I meet with regularly who encourages me to see how Jesus is pushing me and growing me, even when I just want to vent and complain.

So, let’s be sure that we’re encouraging younger women properly–biblically. Titus chapter two says that older women (read: not just old ladies, here, but ladies who are older than some other woman, which is pretty much all of us) “are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered” (Titus 2.3-5 CSB).

Instead of teaching younger women to dread the challenges that can come with being part of a marriage, let’s encourage them to see the gift that a husband is and the joy that is experienced in treasuring that man exclusively for decades until death does them part.

Let’s encourage younger women to find professions that will not just provide the monetary needs of life, but help them serve the Lord–whether it’s in the work itself or in the ways she gets to minister to coworkers or even the ways she grows and becomes stronger in the faith through challenges that come with the job.

Let’s encourage younger women to see their children–current or future–as gifts instead of sleep-stealers or nuisances who ruin everything. And let’s encourage them to teach their children to love Jesus while we’re at it.

Let’s encourage women to experience the joy of giving their child one or more siblings, if they so choose, instead of selling a dooms-day gospel that everything will be terrible if they add a second child to the mix.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure there’s an equivalent message for men to encourage one another, too, but I am not in touch with how men speak to one another.  Ya’ know, being a woman.

I exhort you, fellow Christians, to join me and consider making these changes–and changes like them–to interactions with other believers:

“Just wait until college. That’s when the real hard work begins.”

College is a great time full of challenges and hard work. Just like any stage of life, make sure that your pursuit of Jesus continues during those years.”

“Just wait until you have a full-time job; it becomes so monotonous and annoying.”

“Yeah, I’ve been working for 12 years; I’ve been fortunate to always have a job that God uses to provide what I need and then some.  It’s important to be sure to find something you love doing and bring Jesus to work with you every day.”

“Just wait until you get married. You’ll see how hard it is!”

“Marriage is an unbelievable journey. It’s difficult to describe and, if you find a man who loves Jesus more than he loves you but loves you immensely in God-honoring ways, you should definitely take the opportunity to love and serve that man for the rest of your life!”

“Just wait until you’ve been married as long as I have; you won’t be excited to get home to your husband then!”

“Oh, you’re a newlywed and can’t wait to go home after work to see your husband? That’s so sweet and wonderful!  Keep loving him well and keep putting Christ at the center of your marriage.  A good marriage is a major blessing.”

“Just wait until you have a kid; that’s when you really never get to sleep ever again!”

“I really love my baby and I try to enjoy every moment that I can. I remember how frequently I learned more about God’s love for us when my baby was teensy weensy.”

“Just wait until you have two kids.  One kid is a cakewalk compared to having two.” 

Ha, I suggest we never say anything to anyone about having more children. But if they are close friends or the topic is at hand, you might get away with something like this, “There was a learning curve for us when we brought home baby number two, but there were so many sweet moments between my kiddos in those early days and I am glad I chose to focus on those when they were happening. Those moments were definitely gifts from God.”

Because when we use our words for God’s Good, The Gospel is strengthened.