Hindsight is a wonderful gift. I have reflected on what I would have done differently in my younger years. Actually, it is not so much what I would have done, but more how I would have lived. Here’s my list:
- Slow down! What is the rush after all??!! No need to try to conquer your world in a day. I have learned much in the past 10 years of the wisdom in slowing down the decision making process, the response time, the expression of my opinions, and much of else in life. I used to go for morning runs. Now I walk. Amazing how much more I see along the way….That’s a good metaphor for life.
- Savor life. Everything from a meal to a road trip to a lingering conversation is to be savored. God has been teaching more deeply lately that life is to be experienced, not consumed. That is a tough lesson for one shaped by a consumer culture. Contemplation is savoring. That goes for prayer and all of life.
- Don’t push yourself. My unconscious motto used to be “if I can do it I probably should.” Now I know that just because “I can” does not necessarily mean “I should.” I used to push myself so hard in sports, work, everything. Do more, bigger, better, faster. That is not necessarily wise living.
- Keep reading and learning. My formal education gave me a foundation for learning the rest of my life. I have learned to give myself permission to create space to read and learn in as many venues as I can. Whatever it takes, keep learning. Those who finish well are life-long learners. Further, as we age it is required we learn from those younger than us. After all, the demographic is going to be increasingly younger around us, so be willing to learn new ways of doing things from the next gen.
- Keep your nose in the Word. Study the word. Break out a commentary and dig in. Often. Deep. Repeatedly. Be a woman or man of the word. Allow it to flavor everything you do. Hard work? For sure. Takes a lot of time? Yep. The fruit is worth it. Also, sit with God afterwards. Move from cerebral engagement to heart engagement with God everyday from the Word.
- It’s OK, some things take years to grow in. I was always in a rush to grow up. I would complain to God, “Look, you can see what’s wrong with me, and you haver shown me where I need to mature, so let’s move this thing along and grow me up!” Not very patient, was I? A tad arrogant as well. God is urgent in his redemptive work, but seldom in a hurry. It takes all of our lives to mature. So be gracious with yourself. Be patient. God’s work is a slow, deep work.
- Relationships are everything. Period. It’s all about relationships. It is never about the product, the program, the task. In fact all those efforts are meant to enhance relationship. Always make it about God and people.
Those are some of my words of wisdom to a younger me. What would you say to your younger self? I’d love to hear your thoughts.