7 Life Lessons From 43 Years

Wisdom Over The Years

As my 43rd BD has now come and gone, I have given some thought to what I feel like are a couple of major lessons. I’d like to share the thoughts with you to help me remember them and apply them. Moreover, to challenge you to do the same!

1) Write more

As I have been thinking about things I would share with readers like you and kids I mentor, to people that I serve as a spiritual “father” and guide, I cannot underscore how much I wish I had done these two things more effectively over the last 43 years. I’ve long kept a journal…(since 1987). But I have not really kept organized quotes and thoughts in a manner to pass on to prosperity. This is something I will be adopting as a practice in this next year.

What I have come to realize is that I have the privilege to speak into many people’s lives and if I can keep collected thoughts, quotes, even notes of conversations then when important dates like graduations and weddings come, there is some easily accessible information and wisdom available for me to share.

2) Talk less

Listening more requires talking less. Even though I may feel like I have “answers”, that’s not the answer. Often people don’t come to me simply because they need an answer…what they want and need is someone to listen. Making notes, recording the conversation, and even simply stating and rephrasing what is being heard proves to be all some people really need.

3) Celebrate more

One thing I have come to realize is that life really is short…and time with some people that we love can even be shorter. Taking time to celebrate who they are, what they mean and the relationship that is shared has become so much more important to me over the years. Why wait for a holiday, birthday or significant occasion to say the things we need to say? Create a day even if it’s a “you’re wonderful day” and enjoy the people who mean the most.

4) Work less

This is a very hard one for me but I have had some measure of success working less over the years. So much of my time has been spent in doing things well and striving for excellence, which no one would begrudge. However, there are some things that are more important that making sure every detail of “my” plan runs smoothly, things like: people’s feelings, memories, once-in-a-lifetime events, etc. Work can easily consume most of my time, energy and resources and leave very little of “me” to offer others. Working less actually allows me to give more in work and certainly in the areas that really count!

5) Do more

Do more together with family and people you love. As I said above, work can separate us from our families and loved ones. We can all easily justify the time away. What we have to do is make every effort to do more together. Many elements of our society automatically segregate us and isolate us from contact with others and those with whom we share life. After 43 years, I can definitely see the value of scheduling time to serve together with people I love. I see the value of do life together and sharing life’s moments.

6) Be more

The older I get I have seen a few tendencies to become “ok” with some things in my life. What I have been reminding myself much lately is that Christ has not called me to an “ok” life but to one where I actually become more than ever before. A life where I sincerely become more than I ever thought I could be. This doesn’t happen apart from discipline and effort, which can seem to wane as time goes on. I have to remind myself that I can’t live for the present but must continually strive for perfection, knowing that I will fall short of God’s glory. Nonetheless living in the full-out grace afforded me in Christ and becoming a masterpiece according to all God intends.

7) Worry less

If there’s anything that I am coming to grips with it is this: worry less! So much time and mind space is used and occupied by this very thing: worrying about people and their opinions. Little by little, worry chokes out freedom, liberty and fun and life quickly becomes existence. The older I get the more I realize that some things just don’t merit the amount of attention I give them. In the scope of eternity, so many things are meaningless. I’m having to learn how to pitch them to the vast emptiness of space and embrace all that Christ has in the present moment. Living by faith doesn’t mean living stupidly or haphazardly but it does mean living with only one opinion in mind and that being Christ’s. There are far too many things that Christ has called me to and desires for me to experience than being locked in a stale old box…seems like that’s a casket. I’m 43 and not ready to die yet. In fact in many ways, I feel like I’m just now coming alive! Glory to God!

 

George is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

 

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