30 Years of Learning

As my 30th birthday approaches, I have reflected on some things I have learned in my first three decades on this earth. Some of the lessons have been easy, and some have been painful. May these brief reflections edify someone.

  1. Degrees do not give you wisdom. Perspective does.
  2. Selfless friends are rare. When you find them, hold onto them and reciprocate.
  3. Hold firmly to principles, and tentatively to plans.
  4. Teaching is dangerous because people will listen to you.
  5. Don’t act like you know it all. No one ever does.
  6. Men will never look good in skinny jeans.
  7. Figure out the difference between mountains and molehills. Don’t put on climbing gear for a molehill. You will only waste your time and look ridiculous.
  8. Following your heart is often a very bad idea (Jer. 17:9).
  9. Cheaters do prosper, on this side of eternity at least. Karma is not in control (it doesn’t even make sense); Jesus is, and he will set things right when he returns.
  10. Most people and situations offer something for us to learn.
  11. Christian doctrine without practice is fruitless, but Christian practice without doctrine is meaningless.
  12. Instead of finding reasons to be offended, find reasons to not be offended. This makes for better relationships and clearer thinking.
  13. You will rarely “feel like” doing what you ought. So just “git r dun” already (to quote Larry the Cable Guy).
  14. None of us deserve handouts or special treatment. That’s what makes special treatment an act of grace, deserving of gratitude.
  15. There will always be smarter, more successful, and more attractive people. You are less important than you may think you are.
  16. In addition to (11), the world is full of brilliant people. It has a shortage of virtuous people.
  17. Do not let your ambitions eclipse your calling. Sometimes we are called to small things that are eternally significant. God knows why he created us; we do not.
  18. What others want you to be will change rapidly. You might as well resolve to be the best version of yourself.
  19. You cannot force anyone to change their behavior or ideas. You can and should try to encourage people to think, though.
  20. Avoiding problems makes them worse.
  21. The experience of suffering can greatly aid your ability to empathize with and disciple others.
  22. No finite person or activity can complete you. That is because we were created for a relationship with a perfect Creator. Everything else falls short.
  23. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9), but we must learn to recognize the good first. It is not as easy as it sounds.
  24. In a swiftly changing world, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
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