10 Things I Wish I Could’ve Told 25 Year-Old Me…
I’ll be 42 in July, and I don’t shy away from admitting that. It feels kind of…..comfortable…kind of strong…kind of tested. Like most ancients, I wouldn’t want to be 25 again…unless, of course, I could go back knowing what I know now. If I could, these are the secrets I would whisper into my tender, newlywed ear:
1) People usually are doing the best they can. That never excuses hurt. But it does assist forgiveness and understanding. Life is severe, and thankfully, you don’t know that yet. You’ve definitely experienced your parcel of hard things, but you are still believing that ignoring those hurts means they’re gone. You’re still believing that selfish, hurtful people should be punished. Except you are one. People have hurt you and will hurt you. You have hurt people and will hurt people. There is a softening that comes over time by way of cupping weeping faces and allowing your hurts to find kinship. Everybody has a hurt that is the lens through which they live life. The right frames are grace and compassion.
2) Life is too short to live without color. Color was God’s idea, so it obviously has a rich purpose. Indulge in it. Wear it, paint it, buy it, eat off of it, sleep under it, plant it. Red makes you happy, so choose color. Enough of the black, brown and gray already…
3) Focus will determine what you see. You have a great deal of control over what you see. If you determine to look for the good in people today, you’ll find it. If you decide to count reasons to be pissed off today, you’ll find plenty. If you make today a scavenger hunt of gratitude, your list will be long. If you want reasons to complain, you’ll trip over them all day. You’ll find whatever you’re looking for.
4) Fear is overrated. It will rob you of more life than any other thing. Wanna shoot a gun? Shoot it. Wanna write a book? Get after it. Want a graduate degree? Apply. Want to skydive? Get a tattoo? Pierce your nose? If it’s not sin and if it’s not clearly harmful, DO! IT!
5) Marriage is actually more about Jesus than you or Chris. To some degree, I think we’ve misrepresented marriage in the Church. We don’t talk openly about the fact that there will be times that you don’t want to be married to each other any more. So when either of you feel that, you think, “This is wrong. If God meant for us to be married, I wouldn’t feel this way. Maybe I made a mistake…” No. No. No. Marriage is a tool by which Jesus continues to call us to die to our selfish selves and love with His love. And when both of you are committed to that end, God will grow a marriage so rooted in Him that you experience the miraculous regularly.
6) Keep lighthearted fun a high priority. To neglect it will make you anxious, cold, unhappy, and old. Buy a Jeep. Take as many day trips to the beach as possible. Ride the four-wheeler wide-open down the farm dirt roads – often. Burn candles daily (no food, fruit, or flower scents though – save yourself the money. You don’t like any of those). There is therapy and health tucked in fun. In your nature, you are too serious and too driven, so you’ll have to force yourself to have fun. But…you know what…the overachiever in you makes you good at having fun too.
7) Loving others well is absolutely where it’s at. There are so many truths about life that are counterintuitive; that’s why so many people miss out on them, and this is a huge one. We think indulging self will bring the greatest satisfaction in life; in all fairness, that seems logical. That’s not how we’re wired though. Self-indulgence (including self-pity – which is another form of self-indulgence) as an M.O. yields emptiness. Who knew? When you wake each morning ask, “Who can I love today? How can I love them in a way that will be super meaningful?” Little else will bring joy and fullness like a life devoted to loving.
8) The present is always rich with treasure. Even when the present sucks. Recognize the treasure under your nose. Give thanks for it. Steward it well. Initiate it. Decorate your day with it. You have stunning sunrises and sunsets at your disposal twice a day. Smiles from strangers. Warm chocolate chip cookies. Music that makes you close your eyes and inhale it into your soul. Truth. Commit to a continual pursuit of the treasure of the present.
9) God’s always right. You’re not smarter than Him. When you doubt, obey. When you want to scream at Him, obey. When you don’t understand, obey. When you are crushed, obey. You live under the umbrella of His protection, and obedience keeps you there. Once you willfully step outside of the umbrella, to a certain extent, you’re on your own to brave the consequences that come with being exposed to the elements. He won’t leave you, but He will allow you to stand in the storm and get wet when He offered you an umbrella. Make your life better and easier. Obey.
10. There is a beautiful, beautiful grace that comes with age. It’s not as automatic as laugh lines and gray; you have to willfully submit to it. While wisdom and knowledge are accessible to you now, there is an ease that only comes from miles traveled. Savor being young but appreciate growing older. It truly can be a lovely process that leaves you feeling like a truer you than you’ve ever known. The one that God intended all along.