Ask RC: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 18 year old you?
We all have regrets. We look back at forks in the road behind us and wonder where we might be now had we chosen more wisely back then. Every misstep, however, is an opportunity to learn, to follow more faithfully in Jesus’ footsteps. How gracious that our Lord not only covers our folly, but is able to grow wisdom out of it? Below are ten things now me would seek to impress into the stubborn mind of then me.
10. Cultivate gratitude, put to death grumbling. I am persuaded the path to future blessing follows on the trail of giving thanks for past blessings. We, like our fathers before us, are given to forgetting, to taking grace for granted, to believing we are due more than we have been given. Like our fathers before us we are wrong. Gratitude is its own reward, as no one has ever been truly grateful and truly unhappy.
9. Worry about your sanctification rather than your standing. This, I suspect, is central to what it means to seek first the kingdom and His righteousness. Just as Jesus warned, we tend to worry about what we will eat or wear. In a context as richly blessed as ours we don’t lose the worry, but inflate it. That is, we don’t worry about having enough to eat. We worry instead about how well we are doing, how much we are respected or envied.
8. Master your temper. Not many of my emotions can get the best of me. Anger, however, often seems to have my number.
7. Encourage yourself and your circle of influence to find your and their satisfaction in Jesus. I am now a professional persuader. This is what I wish I had been laboring to persuade people of from my youth.
6. Learn to like vegetables and be leery of carbs. Bad eating habits, like any other habit, are tough to get past, especially in middle age.
5. Relax, wind down, recreate by doing rather than watching. Reading is better than television. Talking is better than reading. Learning to play music is better than listening to music. Making is better than buying. Those who can rest while still exercising dominion are not only more productive, but more rested.
4. Seek out and read those rare books that both tell you something important and do so beautifully. Read fewer theological controversies, more Lewis, Chesterton; fewer spy novels, more Jon Krakaur, Paul Johnson, Ian Murray. Read people whose insights flow less out of what they have studied, more out of what they have lived.
3. Never stop playing baseball.
2. Listen to and honor your parents. This, according to the Word of God, is how you have a good life. Plus, they were telling you all this stuff I’m now trying to tell you. They were right, and you, 18 year old RC, were wrong.
1. Hold Denise’s hand every chance you get. Tell her you love her every time she enters the room. Let the tears well up every time you think of her, and never stop thinking of her. Make sure that her last thought on this earth will be, My Lord loves me forever, and my lord loves me forever.