All has been quiet on the blog front the last couple of weeks – for a whole bunch of reasons. One of which being that I turned 30 and had some birthday celebrations! Despite joking around about growing old, needing a hip replacement soon, lacking any ability to use technology all of a sudden and other ‘old man’ banter – I’m actually feeling fine about this age. Infact, there are lots of things I hear from those far older and wiser than I who have shared great things about this coming decade in my life.
I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks some of the things I’ve been learning in the last decade just gone. I thought I would put them into a post on here, maybe it’s helpful for anyone in a similar position to me age-wise, or maybe you are in you are younger and just simply fancy some advice from somebody who is a little closer to the point in life where Antique programmes are vaguely interesting (just FYI, I’m not at that point yet!).
1. I really don’t know anything. I used to think that I know everything about everything. Then I came to a point where I thought “OK, I might not know everything but I’ll get there soon”. I’m now in a season where I’m comfortable not knowing everything, and in fact I tend to come at things in life with a sense of ‘I have no idea about this’, with a hope that I’ll learn something, but also I’m now fine to ask for help – most of the time 😉 The quicker we come to the point of realising that we don’t know everything, the better.
2. Qualifications are not everything. Now, hear me on this. Education is great. It’s important too. Work hard to get the grades you need in order to have a great chance to succeed in the area of life you’re pursuing or hope to pursue. We are so privileged to have the opportunity to learn so don’t waste it. But don’t base your life on it. Don’t let your identity as a person be based on your qualifications (or lack of). Most people I know don’t work in the area that they studied in at university, and loads of people I know who didnt get the grades they wanted on exam results day are actually doing fine! Also, the kinds of people who do like to go on about their qualifications – are usually a bit annoying actually.
3. Enjoy your free time. As time goes on you get less of it. Infact, your time becomes ‘communal’, shared by other important people in your life. This isn’t a bad thing, but its something to be aware of. Make sure when you get some free time, you are making the most of it.
4. God’s will is a field, not a tightrope. Too many people are deeply stressed and anxious about their calling from God. What does the future hold for me? What direction should I go in life? Sure, these are big decisions, but don’t think God’s will is some thin, difficult tightrope to walk along – that any sway to the left or the right or one wrong step here or there means total disaster and ‘game over’ in your life. God’s will is more like a field – there are very general boundaries that you can see in the distance, but there are so many directions to run in and so much space to play, try things out and enjoy. You may have a variety of choices, and the truth is God never leaves us, he’ll be with you no matter what you choose! So go have and a skip around in the field.
5. Be good. It makes life so much easier. Apparently when I was younger before school age, I made a decision and shared with my family that I was going to be good. When asked why, I told my parents and sister that ‘its easier to be good and saves so much hassle’ (paraphrased by the 30 year old me). I stick by that today. I’m not talking about staying silent when you disagree with something (although I can still be guilty of that sometimes), but I do see the importance in bringing goodness to other people, and situations. There are enough people in this world who like to stir up trouble and bring disunity amongst groups. Be somene who brings goodness and peace to others around you. One of my favourite verses is 2 Timothy 2:23 where it says “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” Sometimes the Bible says stuff so simply and clearly eh?
6. Don’t lose your imagination. It’s not considered normal for an adult to have an imagination.But its using our imagination that we can see things that don;t exist yet. The dreams and goals for your life, the ideas and inventions you would like to create. The places you would like to visit, the type of person you would like to be. Using our imagination is key to getting off the starting blocks to pursue what we hope for in our lives. Lets not mock imagination as something to grow out of! I once wrote about the importance of our imaginations here.
7. Enjoy the fun things, allow yourself to the excited about things. Don’t become boring. Many people live as if life is really tough, with the occasional fun moment thrown in. I seek to live like life is full of fun moments, with some moments thrown in there. One of the first things I did after turning 30 is go to a theme park and screamy my head off for the day. Proof of that is here.
8. People will do anything for you if you just love them. That isnt the reason to love people, but I notice that lots of people want things from others without loving them and they simply dont end up gathering people. Want to gather people for a mission? Simply love them first, and the mission will get done together. Treat people well and they will treat you well. If you can help other’s get what they want, they’ll be happy to help you get what you want. What we all tend to want is something relational anyway. We want friendship, unity, support, encouragement, guidance, prayer, teamwork. All relational things. Be relational, love people.
9. Fight the right battles. Some things are worth fighting for. Pour your energy into those things. Dont give your fighting, persuasion, and debating energies to things that ultimately aren’t that importnat in the first place. I’m still learning this one, but when you come against something or somebody you disagree with, people steaming in to change the situation take a step back, have a think: “Is this a battle worth fighting for?”. Try to see the bigger picture and decide if you ar egoing to fight for it or not. Want to know what I’ve noticed? 8 out of 10 annoyances aren’t worth fighting for in my opinion. That’s a huge amount of energy saved for a 2 out of 10 times a real battle comes along!
10. If you have a dream, do something about it. We’ve got plenty of dreamers, what we need are ‘Activist Dreamers’. People who want to do, see, achieve, become something, and then do everything they can to pursue it. I’ll never forget a time when I spoke with somebody about their dreams. They wanted to lead worship at their church. I had known this person for a reasonable amount of time, and the thought popped in my head that I had never seen them involved in anything musical at any church event before. After asking if they were involved in the worship team they told me they weren’t(!). I left that conversation totally confused – if we have dreams in our hearts, then DO SOMETHING about them. To pursure my dreams I’ve had to make some steps, some small steps, some massive leaps. but I always have the thinking of doing something.
If you had to do a similar post of lessons from your life, what would you include? I’d be fascinated to hear them so feel free to leave a comment below with your lists!