38 Years worth of lessons

So yesterday was my birthday…the big 3-8.  I don’t know what that gets me other than a few years closer to 40 which means I’m even closer to 50 and ultimate death.  I’m not one to freak out about my age, but I had a real good time thinking about that (note sarcasm).

Anyways, in no particular order, here are some lessons learn in my 38 years…

  • No matter who other people tell you are, you are Loved by God (John 3:16) and made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27)…that does mean something
  • Read books…to get smarter but also to dream about life
  • Go see a counselor to talk about things…we’re all a little psycho and it does help
  • Go after what you are passionate about
  • Don’t throw away what is good for a pipe dream, but if you never pursued your dreams just a little bit you will never know how excited you can be about life
  • Cherish your friendships, especially those who stand beside you in tough times
  • Families are a strong support…words can not describe how thankful I am of mine
  • Churches really do want to help…unfortunately, sometimes people get in the way
  • I hope we all have people that won’t give up on us…we need those people in our lives
  • Jesus Christ died for you…maybe you should check out why (1 Peter 3:18 is a great start)
  • Do what you are good at and really excel at it…don’t settle for average
  • Take ownership of your stuff…don’t blame others
  • Be responsible…don’t blame others
  • “We are a collection of our choices” – Thanks Coach Herm
  • Don’t be afraid of failing…that is how we learn
  • Every decision has rewards or consequences…maybe not immediately but definitely down the road
  • Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the Church…it’s a different kind of love but when we think of love in that way, loving your wife will never look the same again
  • Love your kids and make sure you spend undistracted time with them…they need your full attention, even if it means hearing the same exact story over and over and over again
  • Let people minister to you…it’s a blessing for you AND them
  • Take care of your hurts, hang-ups, resentment or hardships in healthy ways…running has been a great outlet for me

I’m sure there are more things I’ve learned over the 38 years but these are the ones that stand out.  Some of these things I would have preferred not to learn but as C.S. Lewis points out in his book Mere Christianity, “God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.”

God has used and is currently using my lessons learned and I know that He will use yours in a mighty way if you let him.  Although it may hurt now and be painful (for that I am sorry, I know how that feels), God is probably using it to make you into the person you never dreamed you could be.  And that, is ultimately what we want to be…better, stronger, braver, more loving, patient and more effective than we could ever be.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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