I’m deeply grateful for the layers of discipleship I’ve received from my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, my Sunday School teachers, my college professors, my husband, my husband’s family, my church family, my friends, and my co-workers. What a gift it is to know an “abundance of counselors” (Prov. 11:14).
We’re teaching all the time in how we live our lives, and I’ve learned so much from people who probably didn’t even know they were teaching. Here are 25 things I’ve learned and maybe can encourage another young person.
1. God’s Word brings balance. I’m not that old, but I’ve seen “movements” pendulum swing, as individuals major on the minors or deconstruct their faith entirely. Safeguards and correct alignment come from diligently studying the Bible over time. The more time you spend in the Word (and understanding how to rightly handle it in context), the more balanced spiritual maturity you’ll have. Lord, keep us humble and aligned with truth!
“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
2. This statement is true: “What if the passage you study today is preparing you for a trial ten years from now? Study faithfully now, trusting that nothing is wasted, whether your study time resolves neatly in thirty minutes or not” (Jen Wilkin). Learn how to study the Bible.
3. College isn’t necessarily for everyone, but gathering up as many skills as you can with your spare time will equip “your tool belt” with gifts to offer others. And truly it is, “More blessed to give than to receive.”
4. Two impactful books I read in my 20s — Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung) to demystify decision making. Also The Transforming Power of the Gospel (Jerry Bridges) to help you understand how we can conquer sin.
5. Save all the money you can, even if you don’t know what it’s for yet. A house? A car? A wedding? A trip of a lifetime? Even if you don’t know, just SAVE!
6. Don’t ever assume because someone is in the same context as you that you agree on all the heart issues. Always be gentle, don’t haphazardly vent about random topics, not knowing the struggles and temptations your “like minded” friend may have.
7. Don’t say “I could never” say “What can I do?”
8. Ask for advice. Wise people don’t usually give advice without being asked.
9. “You don’t have to feel like it in order to do it” (Alison Lumbatis). Do the next thing, and motivation, and perhaps even momentum will follow.
10. Cooking is not a mathy, strict rule-following thing; it can be art! But learn as much cooking science as you can to build a foundation for your creativity.
11. Health knowledge can seem like a fascinating, overwhelming bottomless pit, but at the end of the day, the best things for you are free. Going outside, moving, drinking water, even praying. Trusting God and living in confession of sin will impact your health.
12. Love people deeply but hold them loosely.
13. You don’t have to finish reading a book you’re not enjoying or benefiting from — it’s not a moral issue.
14. Long-distance dating is very hard, but certainly worth it.
15. Childbirth is truly amazing. So is motherhood and marriage.
16. “Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your path” (Proverbs 5:6). ABSOLUTELY TRUE, and I often thank God for directing my path, even away from what I thought was best at the time.
17. The gospel never gets old. It’s like a diamond ring, you can examine and admire it from all angles and in all different lights.
18. Your family culture and heritage is something to be appreciated, observed, and learned from. Respect and learn from the different sub-cultures of other families, too.
19. Have an “easy come, easy go” mindset when it comes to possessions. That way you’re not upset when something breaks.
20. Read The Hiding Place every few years.
21. Use teacups as much as possible.
22. “What’s ordinary to you is magic to someone else” (Brian Dixon). Never underestimate how you can learn from a variety of people and how things you may think are obvious are profoundly impacting others.
23. As opportunity arise, travel as much as you can, and let it sharpen what you can bring to home. When you can’t travel, read about faraway nations in missionary letters and books.
24. “We often (conveniently) judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.” Instead, be gracious.
25. Boldly speak truth to your own heart. Be one who, in Christ’s strength, “walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart” (Psalm 15:2).