Behind the 20's
Since turning 30 this month, I’ve been doing some serious recon in my journals to sort through the major lessons I’ve learned throughout my 20s. Part of me wishes I understood these much earlier, but learning to walk them out has caused me to develop a deeper value for them.
1. The power and evidence of your faith comes from actually doing what the Bible says. This seems like a no-brainer, but as believers, it’s easy for us to think we’re automatically doing what the Bible says just because we read it. Not so. It’s actually harder than it sounds sometimes. But the Spirit has given us everything we need for life in godliness (2 Peter 1:3). You’ll be amazed at the harvest you reap by taking God at His Word and obeying!
2. Train yourself to adopt better trigger responses. For a long time, it annoyed me greatly that I could choose not to be annoyed. The solution felt too simplistic. The clincher is that you rarely feel like it, but by simply smiling or finding humor in a dumb situation, you can slowly retrain your brain out of toxic thinking and into joy. It will improve your health and honor God, so I’d say it’s a worthy exercise.
3. Fix the problem. A little strategy goes a long way in figuring out what is really messing with you. It might come down to simply changing one small thing. Figure it out.
4. Don’t set your heart on outcomes; pursue Him! This doesn’t mean outcomes don’t matter, but we can get stuck putting our hope in something we want instead of truly pursuing God Himself. Pursuing Christ is ALWAYS the right move.
5. Thanksgiving will save your life! Make this a daily habit and you’ll see.
6. FOMO and a scarcity mindset are not good decision-making tactics. They’re smokescreens. ‘Nough said.
7. Self-awareness is a muscle worth developing. You’ll have to anticipate a lot as an adult and it helps to know yourself. But just remember, for the believer, self-awareness is for the purpose of growing in spiritual maturity, not for losing yourself in self-exploration. Notice all the “self”? Any self-work should always enhance your growth in God.
8. You don’t have to—and shouldn’t adopt everything that other people say about you, good or bad. Be teachable, but weigh everything before God.
9. Anything you value must be practiced consistently! If you’re really passionate about it, you will work at it. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait to be “great”.
10. Dig deeper. While not in a negative sense, we ought to be inquisitive, interested in knowing why something is true. Begin with a strong foundation in Scripture and you'll remain anchored as you grow.
11. Shoot for excellence in school and make peace with learning, but book smarts aren’t everything. When you seek out ways to experience what you’re learning, you will challenge your perceptions in the best ways.
12. Don’t waste time trying to manage other people’s perceptions about you. Be the person you want to be and the right people will notice.
13. Deception is deceiving. So don’t ignore the blind spots the Holy Spirit reveals to you.
14. Continual adjustment is key. Life isn’t about getting to a “happy place” where everything is comfortable and then maintaining that. Get used to being flexible. It’s actually pretty fun, because the truth is, most of us are living waaaay too small.
15. Pain isn’t the enemy. Depression and self-pity are. Our God is a God of comfort and understanding, a great high priest who sympathizes with our weakness. There is a place for working through grief, but self-pity wants to kill your progress and cement you to one issue. FOR YEARS. Stick close to God in your grief and fight the evil drug.
16. Respect seasons. Rather than waiting for things to change, find out what belongs in this season and engage with it in the Lord. This prepares you for what’s coming.
17. Dying to self does not mean God is trying to kill you and destroy your dreams. Stand on the Character of God. John 15 says that God prunes any branches that aren’t bearing fruit so that you can bear even MORE fruit. That’s His heart for you. Putting off the flesh isn’t complete without putting ON the fullness of Christ.
18. Most of the value you’ll get from relationships depends on you. Of course, it’s a two-way street, but young people spend way too much time waiting around for others to make the first move. What can you do to open your life to others?
19. Most of the success you’ll achieve in life will come from you working through circumstances you didn’t like. It’s easy to look at people who seem successful and assume they didn’t—or don’t deal with any adverse circumstances. But pushing through those is the only way forward. The path to success is always littered with roadblocks. Don’t become so obsessed with having it easy or getting to a specific level. Success is the journey, going from strength to strength as you live before the Lord.
20. Most importantly, each year you're alive is just another chapter of the adventure! Stay alert, stay expectant, and enjoy the journey with God.