A friend of mine asked me the other day what my plans were for my 30th birthday. I hadn’t given it much thought. After all, my birthday is still 8 months away, and well, there are more than a few things I’ll be busy with between now and then! ☺
This whole “The Big 3-0” conversation got me thinking about this past decade… I started to really reflect on my 20’s… the highs… the lows… the grace of God… the power of Jesus… the grand adventure it has all been.
I began to think about things I know now that I wish I would have known when I first stepped into my 20’s. These lessons could have saved me from a few poor choices, bad decisions, and altogether dumb moments… moments that in hindsight have been followed by a very loud, “What was I thinking?!”
(Don’t play. You know what I’m talking about. ☺ )
Well, here’s my list. I share them with you in the hopes that they will help you navigate the season of life you are in, and help steer you away from one too many of the “What was I thinking?!” moments we as humans seem to excel in creating for ourselves! Enjoy!
1. It’s all about Jesus. In Heaven we won’t have any titles, we won’t have a certain salary or a platform or a traveling circuit or book deal. All we will have is what’s really important- Jesus and people. Keep Jesus and people the main thing on this side of eternity, and you can look forward to a “well done, good and faithful servant!” on the other side of eternity.
2. Your friends dictate your future. Choose wisely, and don’t allow sentiment to keep you in friendships too long that steer you a degree or two off from your God-given destiny.
3. You don’t know everything so stop acting like you do. No one likes a know-it-all. And in your 20’s there will be a lot more that we don’t know than we do. So take the humble approach and become a student of life.
4. Don’t pay much attention to critics; but do listen to contributors. There will always be people who think you should have done it differently; just like there are those who are all too quick to sing your praises. You are not the anti-Christ and you aren’t Jesus incarnate. You are somewhere in between- a flawed individual becoming more and more like Jesus. So listen to those who are running the race with you; who are serving alongside you and building the local church up close with you! The people you do life with are the ones whose encouragement and correction really matters.
5. If it isn’t building the Church; it isn’t worth doing. There is one thing Jesus is actively building on the planet right now- His Church. He is more interested in reaching the lost and making disciples than anything else! Whatever you put your hands to, make sure it is somehow building what Jesus is building!
6. You never graduate from serving! No matter what your job is or what season of life you are in, your purpose will always be found right smack in the middle of serving others. There is no task too big or too small in which we can’t serve!
7. “Shutteth uppeth” in the company of those older and wiser. Don’t do all the talking when around someone older with wisdom you admire. Be quiet. Ask good questions and listen. Position yourself to learn by honoring those who have gone before you and have diligently paved a road for you with their own blood, sweat, and tears!
8. Start with what’s in your hand and God will give you what’s in your heart. What has God currently entrusted you with? Give it your all! Throw yourself into making it the most excellent it can be! The tasks Heaven has currently assigned you to will lead you to the dreams God has placed in your heart.
9. You and you alone determine your level of passion in life. Your pastor, your church, your friends, and your circumstances ultimately do not choose how much passion you have in life! You and you alone are responsible for the passion you bring to each day God have given you! You get to decide what emotions you feed and what thoughts you starve that will lead to a passion that is not fleeting, but lasting!
10. Your character is more important than any opportunity. God can open doors and position you however He sees fit when He sees fit. He handles promotion. He doesn’t need our help in that department. But where He does need our cooperation is in the area of character. If you keep your attention and focus on becoming more like Jesus, you can trust He’s got your back!