Now that I am halfway through my thirties, I definitely feel like I have some greater perspective when I look back on the life that I have lived so far. I am not one to say that I would go back and change a bunch of things if given the chance because I am a firm believer in the fact that my choices have made me into the person I am today. Even though I am not a finished product yet, I am happy with the person I am today.
Despite this, I was thinking back to my twenties the other day and I did think of 3 important things that I understand now that I wish I understood when I was in my twenties. I would like to share those 3 things with you today and hopefully we can all gain from them.
I wouldn’t rush or wish my life away
When I was a freshman in high school, I wanted to be a senior in high school. When I was a freshman in college, I wanted to be a senior in college. When I was a rookie in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, I wanted to be a 10-year NFL veteran. When I was in my first year of vet school at Iowa State, I wanted to be in my fourth year. You see the pattern. As humans we have a tendency to want to get to the end of the journey as fast as we can. The problem with that is that the real joy of the journey is in the journey and if we fast forward through the journey, we will miss it or certainly enjoy it less than we should have.
True life, a life worth living, is being present in every circumstance.
When I look back over all the different things I got to do and experience in those 10 years that consisted of my twenties, it really amazes me. So many different wonderful experiences. So many wonderful people. I was truly blessed, but I don’t think I really appreciated it at the time.
I was so focused on reaching the next goal that I forgot to enjoy what was really happening. I guess the important thing is that I have come to a place in my life where I can appreciate it now.
I wouldn’t be so arrogant
When I look back on how I lived life back in my twenties, I really was clueless about life! I really thought that it was all about me.
I was so busy thinking about how great I was that I missed how great the people around me were. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Sometimes we need to learn to shut up and listen.
As a very good football player, I felt entitled. I was narcissistic. I felt like the whole world owed me something, when in reality, it was I who owed God for all the blessings He had given me.
God loves us so much, He will orchestrate life in such a way that the arrogance will get beat out of us by people, circumstances, and pain. Thankfully, God saw fit to beat the arrogance out of me. While I did not like having to go through the beating, I am so glad that He cared enough to do that. Being on the other side has now opened my eyes to what is really important.
I would’ve appreciated people more
In my early twenties, I saw people for what they could do for me. I conditionally appreciated people. My theory was’ “If you do this for me, I will do that for you.” I saw people as a way to reach my goals. I used them, and they used me.
By God’s grace, I now see people as valuable because Jesus died for them too. Just like He did for me. Jesus loves me with all his heart, but not just me. He loves all people. Other people are valuable to Him; therefore, they are valuable to me as well.
The way I see it, I had to go through the attitudes I had in my twenties so that I could get to where I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I am very ashamed of many things I did and how I treated people when I was in my twenties. I think of some of the hurts I caused and it literally makes me sick to my stomach. Through it all, God had a plan for me. After God saw to it that I get knocked down a bit, to the point that I finally had to surrender to His control, He was right there to take me into His loving arms and help me get me back on my feet again. He set me down on my journey again, but this time I had my eyes opened and I could see what was really important.
This life is not about me or what I can get out of it. It is about what I can do for others. It is about me living a life where others can see the presence of God through me and see what a wonderful thing that can be. I am not here to save people. Only God can do that. I am here to tell my story though and how God saved me. If that helps others, then I guess that makes everything I have gone through in my journey worth it!