5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger
As I write this blog I am watching my oldest son practice football. As I watch, I remember the days when I used to play. The hours spent in the weight room, running, and watching film. As I sit here I can’t help but think, if I only knew then what I know now. So this blog is some advice that I have learned that I would give to my younger self to help him along the way, I hope it might help others along the way as well. (If given, I hope my younger self would be smart enough to listen.)
1) Like yourself and others will like you...if they don’t, who cares, it is their loss.
Who cares if you don’t have the coolest clothes or drive a cool car (1986 Chevette), in the long run what you have isn’t as important as who you are. Spending time worrying about what others think of you is pointless. There will be all kinds of reasons people will not like you and most of them don’t have anything to do with you, but with stuff they are dealing with. The people who are worth being around won’t care about superficial things but will like you for who you are. Spending time and energy trying to be something you are not, to control something you have no control over, is time that could be used doing something more productive and investing in people who really matter.
2) You only get out what you put in.
Whether it is a workout or homework, the effort you put in is what you can expect in the end. Cheating on a quiz might get you an A, and you might fool your teacher, but you can’t fool yourself. Likewise, when you are supposed to run 3 laps and you only run 2, it might make you look faster, but you are only cheating yourself. Your coach really doesn’t care if you run 3 or 5 laps, they want you to be better than you are, to push you further and harder than you push yourself. If you cut corners, you are not cheating your coach, you are cheating yourself. Practice and hard work prepare you for the tasks that lay ahead.
3) Coaches are important, not just for sports but in life.
It doesn’t matter what sport or how good they are, all athletes have coaches to help them become better, especially the best ones. Coaches are important because they are able to see flaws in us that we can’t see or don’t want to see ourselves. We often think coaches are just for sports but they are not. It is important to have people in your life who love you and care about you enough to tell you when you are making a bad decision, as well as celebrate your successes. Someone who loves you enough to tell you how to be better than you are as well as someone you respect enough to listen to. Find a coach and listen to their advice.
4) Read Scripture
Of all the things you will read in your life nothing will be more important and have more impact on your life than God’s Word. It is not enough to listen to sermons and what other people think scripture means, you need to have firsthand knowledge of God’s Word. As you read it ask questions and challenge assumptions. In doing so, it will help you better understand God and God’s plan for you. If you only listen to what others have to say about scripture and don’t take the time to learn it yourself, you become informed by other people’s opinions and not transformed by the living Word of God. Don’t be informed, be transformed. But don’t take my word for it, read for yourself.
5) We are not created equal.
If you look around, you will see that we are not all equal. You will be smarter, stronger, and more skilled than some around you, while others will be bigger, smarter and more skilled than you. Just because we are not created equal, doesn’t mean we should treat people poorly or less than ourselves. Scripture talks over and over about how we are unique and how we all have different gifts. Paul tells us that we are like the body, some are hands, some are feet and some are parts not so easily talked about, yet we are all important and vital to the body. If you are stronger than some, use your strength to help them, not to persecute them. If you become wealthy, do not look down on those who have less, but see your wealth as a gift to help those who are in need. Likewise, if you are not as rich or strong as others, do not let them look down at you or make you feel like you don’t belong, because you have other gifts to offer. As Christians it is our job to celebrate our unique gifts and use them to help those who need our help. It is our job to be God’s hands and feet for those who need it. However, it is important to realize that we are not always the one doing the saving, but sometimes we need to be saved. Sometimes our gifts aren’t going to line up with our needs so we must allow people to be God’s hands and feet in our lives too when we need it. Despite not being created equal, it is our job to love others as Christ loves us. It is our responsibility to make sure everyone is treated with love and respect, no matter what they look like, where they are from, or what their situation might be. Although we are not created equal we should treat everyone with Christ-like love.