40 Years to Hammer in 10 Things
I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that I just turned 40 a couple months ago. My friend Jeff C. turned 40 recently, too, and blogged about it. Since I’m always prone to suggestion, I thought it was a good idea and decided to jot down the top 10 lessons the Lord’s been teaching me these past 40 years. (Doing so will ward off feelings of sadness that my reflexes really aren’t what they used to be, as playing Egyptian Ratscrew with six slap-happy 20-somethings last night really didn’t help me feel any younger…)
1. I wish I had listened and actually put on more sunscreen when I was younger.
2. Classics are classics for a reason, and it’s fun to find out why.
3. Related to #2, it’s so edifying to read a book by a gifted writer, sit under the teaching of a gifted teacher, listen to a gifted musician, see the craft of a gifted chef/artist/actor/athlete/workman, and use the systems created by a gifted administrator. Instead of being jealous (my natural tendency), over time I’ve realized it’s a privilege to experience something from someone whose giftedness has been developed into expertise.
4. Our friends, Woody and Su, shared a conversation Su once had with her mentor, Win. “You need to have high goals for your marriage,” Win said. When Su asked Win what her own goals were, Win replied, “To abolish all selfishness in my life.” Wow! Judging from our first 16 years of marriage, this goal will take the rest of my life and beyond to realize.
5. Sometimes we’ve had to learn the hard way, but I love that God knows exactly what He’s doing. “Be still and know that I am God” has been proved over and over these past 20 years.
6. Related to #5: Waiting is unspectacular, but I need to honor the process. In many, many important things there’s a process. I’m not a process person so I usually seriously despise and loathe all tedious details. But if we’re willing to submit to the process and go through the steps, we have a solid product/ outcome/ infrastructure built at the end of it all.
7. Related to #6: I’m still learning to respect God’s limits. For example, the Lord ordained a rest day once day a week and created our bodies to need sleep – those are both limits. We have young kids and can’t stay out late at night all the time because they have to sleep – that’s also a limit. The laws where we live also provide limits. A lot of times I want to cram my life full of stuff and do everything, or I start entertaining thoughts of cutting corners. But if I respect the limits that exist I have more margin and balance, and my faith is increased because I see how God provides.
8. I have a half-baked theory: the older people get, the more intensely they become themselves. When I’m 75, will I be a more intense version of a self-centered, impatient person who’s critical of everyone (my weaknesses)? Or will I be wiser, more friendly, and more gracious? I hope I’m the latter – but then I need to make good decisions every day and ask for a LOT of help from the Lord to help me love others well.
9. Very closely related to #8: In recent years four things have become more important: pursuing time with Jesus, pursuing maturity, pursuing wisdom, and learning how to love others well.
10. The more I read about Jesus, the more it’s striking how he fit in everywhere with all different people. He actually liked people. Sometimes I think God loves me because he’s supposed to, since he created me and loves everyone. It’s harder to think that he likes me, since I know how bratty, self-absorbed, or highly inappropriate I can be. I once heard you could paint a picture for your kids (and yourself) and say, “What does God think when he looks at you? He smiles and says, ‘That’s my (insert your name)!'” How rarely I think he enjoys me like that – but the Bible says he delights in us. He not only loves us but he really actually likes us. Beth Moore’s book, Jesus, the One and Only, has been a great read these past couple of months that’s reminded me of his heart toward us.
And that’s it! Thanks for reading. I feel better about myself now. So what if I’m the first one eliminated from Egyptian Ratscrew (although, I keep talking about it so maybe I really do care) when I can recount all these great lessons! :)
Keeping Faith, Marriage and Parenting, Milestones, Top Five (or 10) Lists. Bookmark the permalink.