What would you tell your “younger-self” if you had the chance?
As an eight year old girl or eight year old boy, what wisdom would you tell yourself, that you learned later in life?
What pain would you want to avoid later in life, by sharing with your younger-self?
I Felt Inspired
My family and I attended a music festival in Minnesota this past weekend. The one musical act that inspired me the most was MercyMe.
Lead singer Bart Millard sang a song from their newest album, called Younger Me.
The song also talks about being holy, righteous and redeemed and learning what that truth means later in life.
Listening to the song, I could not help but wonder, if I could talk to a younger me, what would I say?
31 Things Are Not Enough
There are SO many things I would share. If I could, these are some of the things I would tell my younger-self.
- Much of the pain you will go through is not your fault. Your parents divorce is not your fault. Enduring the cruel words of elementary & middle school kids, who hurt you with those words, after being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, is not your fault.
- Feeling lonely during middle school and high school years is normal. There will be times during your teenage years that you will feel lonely and isolate yourself. This is normal, but do not seek comfort in the world. Seek the warm embrace of Christ. Only He can fill your lonliness.
- Develop an awesome relationship with your brother. Do not fight or quarrel with your younger brother. Love him. Become tight with him. Not having an awesome relationship is one thing you will regret later in life.
- Do not date girls. You are not mature enough to date in middle school and high school. Wait until later. This will save lots of pain, heartache and money.
- Invest while in high school. You will have two economics teachers when in high school named Mr. Kearney and Mr. Hentges. They are financially wise men. Pick their brains and invest wisely.
- Learn how to pray everyday. The best way to become close to your Abba Father is to talk with him. Spend time daily, doing this. He wants you. He wants to hear from you. Spend time with him everyday.
- Suicide is a struggle many teens go through. You will struggle with this as well. This is a lie that Satan tells you. Remember this when you struggle: you are wonderfully made by a Creator who loves you. You are holy, righteous and redeemed. Do not end it early. Give this burden to Jesus. He will gladly take it.
- Be bold, be fearless. You will struggle with fear. Fear of failing, fear of money, fear of everything. It will grip you. But be bold. Do not fear. Isaiah 41:10 says “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Avoid video games. They are a waste of time and will make you fat. Your body is a temple, so take care of it by being active. Do not spend time improving your hand-eye coordination with Sega, Atari and Nintendo.
- Learn goal setting. Learn how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. These will make you successful and driven. You can accomplish much, when you plan and set goals.
- Be transparent. Do not keep your emotions inside. You will struggle with stuffing your feelings and thoughts. Do not do this. Let it all out. Be transparent and vulnerable. Do not hold your thoughts and feelings back. Even if it offends others, speak the truth and do not stuff it inside.
- Listen to your grandparents. They will not be on earth forever. Spend time with them. Listen to them. They have wisdom you will never learn in schools or in books. Take advantage of the time you have with them.
- Listen to your parents. Your parents have much wisdom as well. Listen to them. The wisdom you learn will help you avoid pain later in the life.
- Do not look at porn. You will be tempted in your teen years. Other boys your age, including their dads, will encourage this nastiness. Do not listen to them. Avoid it. Run from it. Respect women and respect the purity of your eyes and heart.
- Do not drink. Nothing good comes from drinking alcohol. Your pastor will one day tell you “don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew and don’t date girls who do.” That is the best redneck wisdom on the planet. (Thx Pastor Wes) Believe it. Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid smoking. If you want to put poison in your body, there are less stinky ways of doing it. This habit is gross. It will only give your dog breath and it is expensive. Avoid smoking.
- Do not worry. Fundamentally, people worry too much. You are one of them. Stop it. Surrender this at the foot of the Cross of Christ. Let Him carry your burden.
- Spend as much time with your wife as possible. You like to work and you will be tempted to be a workaholic. Avoid being a workaholic and find balance. Your wife will be lonely if you choose work and other things over her. She is a princess and deserves your best. The best thing you can give is your time. Time is priceless and cannot be bought. Spend this time with her.
- Spend time making memories with your kids. You will regret, later in life, not spending enough time with your daughters. Do not take part in things that take time away from them. Spending time away from your kids will be tempting. Things like coaching, golf, soccer and work will all want your time. Avoid them. Spend time with your kids, creating memories. Walks, bike rides, and travel are all things you can do with them.
- Be grateful. You will struggle with being grateful. You will want to keep up with the Jones’s. Avoid this lie. Be grateful for the things you have, otherwise you will be miserable chasing the things you do not.
- Be content. Be content with the things you have. Paul, the disciple of Christ, wrote from prison that he was “content in his circumstance.” He was content being in prison. Wow. Seek that kind of contentment. Be content in Christ, even when things are falling apart.
- Listen to encouraging music. Despite what Lars from Metallica tells you, music DOES influence your moods, thoughts and brain. What goes in will also come out. Avoid music that does not encourage and uplift.
- Business is not all about money. You will own and run businesses someday. When you do, do not focus only on making money and revenue. This is foolish and you will isolate good people and employee’s. Older business mentors will tell you to focus on a variety of things, including processes, revenue, human resources and technology. Use these wise words to impact business. Do not focus solely on revenue.
- Have empathy as everyone is struggling. Everyone has wounds and bruises. Some you will see and some you will not see. Have compassion for others, as they go through tough times.
- Grow up. You are an immature, young man. Be responsible and grow up. Seek the wisdom of older men who can challenge you and help you grow up and mature.
- Life is not fair. Your high school guidance counselor will tell you that life is fair when you get a job in a “secure, stable industry, like teaching, physical therapy or trade-labor.” Punch him in the face when he tells you this. This is a lie. Life is not fair. Become an entrepreneur. Work in a start-up environment. It will challenge and stretch you.
- Fight. Do not fight, just to fight. Rather, fight for the things that matter. Fight for your wife’s love, fight for your kids, fight for you home. Satan and the world will try and fight you harder, but you cannot give up the fight. Do not fight with another person because they took your parking spot at the Target parking lot. That is just stupid. Do not sweat the small stuff and fight for the important things. Fight with Christ’s strength, not your own.
- Cry. Learn that it is okay to cry. Real men cry. Do you want to have a heart attack, at age 40, due to hypertension and high blood-pressure, as a result of emotional stress, by not crying? What logic is there in this? Learn to be emotional and cry. It is how God wired you.
- Honor your sister-in-laws. Someday you will have sister-in-laws. These ladies are your little sisters. Honor them. Encourage them. Pray for them. They will need it being married to your brothers.
- Read the word of God. I Corinthians 3:2 says “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.” You will always drink child’s milk, unless you grow up spiritually. You need to grow from child’s food to solid food and mature. The only way you will do this is if you study God’s word. Memorize it, practice it, dive into it. It is invaluable.
- You are holy, righteous and redeemed. There is nothing you can do to earn you salvation or favor from God. He has already given it. Tell yourself this every day that you breath. You are holy. You are righteous. You are redeemed. You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross. You are set apart with a brand new heart and you are free indeed.
Leave a comment below. What would you tell your younger-self? I would love to hear your thoughts.