I came across an interesting book the other day. It suggested an idea that caused me to pause and consider it’s proposal: if I could give advice to my younger self, what would I say? Wouldn’t it be exciting to give advice to ourselves from the vantage point of age and accumulated wisdom? So I gave myself a few days to consider this question and some ideas came to mind that I want to share.
- Be the creation God meant for you to be. When you were created, God gave you specific traits, talents, and qualities, and a unique appearance. He planned how all of those things would come together to fulfill His purpose for your life and for His plan for the world. We should be in awe that we would be used by God to accomplish anything, but most importantly, that we could be used to fulfill His plan of salvation for the world should make us feel very honored. If we don’t pray to God and ask for guidance on how to be the creation He had in mind, but instead, let the world guide what and how we are, we hinder what God is trying to accomplish in His plan. If we try to change and behave and act as the world wants us to act, we are very much less than the unique person God envisioned. The world will never see or honor the traits that God holds in esteem. You might take a look at the Sermon on the Mount for a little refresher course in this. Have you ever seen an MTV show about being meek? When we try to change ourselves, who are we trying to please? Honestly, could we ever please the world? This says a lot to me about the issue of self confidence. We should be at peace and confident and happy with who we are because the Creator of the universe made us to be one-of-a-kind. We are important parts of his masterpiece of creation and we shouldn’t mess it up by trying to change ourselves. Accept the fact that God doesn’t make mistakes, and accept your looks, your talents, your temperament, your personality…accept everything and be the person you are created to be.
- Search for Truth. If you do, this search will teach you lessons you never expected. It took one of my children facing a trial to get me on this search, but, wow, what I have learned. I wish it hadn’t required a difficulty in our lives, but wonderful things have come from it. Search for answers to your questions about your faith, for the remedy for the restlessness in your soul, for the need for something bigger in your life, for hope. I knew I would find the answer in God, but I had no concept of the enormity of that Truth. Decide that you want to know more, pray for God’s guidance, and then begin to read. I started with the Bible and a simple search for “truth.” You will be fascinated by what you will discover and you will possess those treasures for the rest of your life.
- Live with integrity. Let your public life serve as an window of your private life. Be an honest, respected, contributing, caring human being. Let your words be trusted by others. When you say you will do something, do it. If you say you will call someone, call them. If you say you will make something happen, make it happen. Don’t be a disappointment to someone by letting them down when they trust you and then you don’t follow through. I’m afraid I have more regrets in this area than in any other.
- Things don’t matter. In fact, things can tie you down. Things won’t make you happier in the long run. Things shouldn’t define you. What does owning the latest $1000 pair of shoes really say about you? Does living in the biggest, finest house make life better? I know it makes the mortgage payment tougher to pay. This can be a hard lesson to learn, especially when it comes to sentimental things, but in reality, it’s the truth. If we get all sentimental over an object that reminds us of someone, it’s really the memory of a person that we are reacting to. Why not try to do a better job of remembering that person in other ways besides through that object. Send up a prayer on their behalf, donate in their memory, or share a story about them with others. Don’t keep things around to remind you of loved ones. Keep those loved ones in your heart.
- So what does matter? People matter. That means the relationships in your life should recieve the most attention from you. That means being the best child, grandchild, parent, sibling, spouse, or friend should be a top priority in your life. We also need to look outside of our innermost circle and be concerned for the people all around us: our coworkers, neighbors, customers, even the people on the street, at the post office, or grocery store. Let everyone you encounter, encounter Christ through you. They may never have another chance to meet Him.
There may be other things that will be added to this list in the future, but I have to say this brief introspection was good for my mind and soul. It helped me remember or maybe even realize what is really important to me. I also hope it provides a little lesson to my children who may be reading as well.