Rooted Recommends: Go Outside, A Devotional for College Students and Young Adults

Just in time for graduation season, Jared Wilson and his wife Becky Wilson have released a book you’ll want to give all the fledgling adults you love: Go Outside, and 19 Other Keys to Thriving in Your 20s

Married for 27 years, the Wilsons have two college-aged daughters. Both husband and wife have spent years in ministry to young adults, with Jared serving as a professor at Midwestern Seminary. They know the needs of their audience well, and they speak with authority as middle-aged adults who have walked with Jesus for a long time. 

The Wilsons’ mission with this book is to provide some insights for young adults who may not realize they are setting many of their lifelong habits during their college and early graduate years. They aim to encourage their young audience to develop practices that will lead to a “future oriented around the things of God, the things that matter most and matter eternally” (p. 13).

While their tone is light, the Wilsons address serious matters head on. They do not preach, but their position is always clear. For example, in a chapter entitled, “Church membership isn’t optional,” the Wilsons acknowledge current trends away from church attendance among young adults, but they demonstrate the clear need of every believer to invest time and relational capital in local church membership. Their appeal is both biblical – “The New Testament knows of no Christian faith apart from commitment to the ‘one another’ context of the local church” – but it is also practical: “A healthy local church provides a multigenerational family that is a much healthier environment for growing in wisdom than simply attending a regular program with people your own age” (p.49). 

Other chapters run the gamut of experiences: “Find a mentor (or two or seven),” “Find your friends carefully,” “Marriage will not complete you,” and “Porn is more toxic than you realize.”  Many are centered around spiritual matters, including, “You will never regret time spent with the Lord,” “Learn to be friends with Jesus,” and “Center on the gospel.” Every chapter offers practical guidance and grace, but even deeper, the Wilsons remind readers that our expectations for our lives are often founded in idolatry. Young adults would do well to understand their idols and place their hopes for the future in Christ, rather than their own vision of what life should look like:

The best job in the world won’t be able to do for you what only Christ can do. The best spouse in the world won’t be able to meet the deepest needs of your heart like only Christ can. No dream, no matter how audacious, in reality matches the goodness of Christ

Pg. 64

For those of you who enjoyed Rooted’s devotional The Jesus I Wish I Knew In High School, you’ll find Go Outside an excellent companion book. Both books start with the same premise: older Christians share what they wish they had known about life and faith when they were younger. While the former concentrates on developing a deeper understanding of the person and work of Jesus, Go Outside helps young adults look toward the future with practical applications of the gospel for their daily lives. As one endorser writers, “This book is fun, honest, practical, serious…”, a book you’ll be glad you shared with the young adults you love. 

Anna is a single mom of three young adult sons. She is the Senior Director of Content at Rooted, co-host of the Rooted Parent podcast, a member of Church of the Cross in Birmingham, AL, and the author of God's Grace for Every Family: Biblical Encouragement for Single Parent Families and the Churches That Seek to Love Them Well (Zondervan, 2024). She also wrote Fresh Faith: Topical Devotions and Scripture-Based Prayers for College Students. In her free time, Anna enjoys gardening, great books, running, hiking, hammocks, and ice cream. She wants to live by a mountain stream in Idaho someday.

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