When I was in my early twenties, I dreamed of a rich, full life. Who doesn’t? To get married and raise children were at the top of my list. I also wanted to finish college and begin teaching. Looking back, I can see how God provided so much of what I hoped for. But life, as it often does, came with ups and downs I never saw coming—you know, the kinds of things that you wish you had better life advice for.
Back then, I didn’t have hundreds of online friends and a million social media posts to encourage and inspire me. Technology wasn’t nearly as available as it is now, so I couldn’t just Google my questions or download a relevant podcast for life advice. I had no idea what I was missing and no idea what I needed to learn.
Still, I don’t regret the ups and downs I experienced. I realize that it’s often been the things I prayed wouldn’t happen that shaped me most in life. God uses difficult experiences to make us into the people He wants us to be. But at the same time, some sound, godly counsel could have prevented me from experiencing some uncomfortable consequences. And in this technological age, we all have the opportunity to hear and learn from others in ways past generations have not. Let’s make the most of it.
Here’s the life advice I wish I had when I was in my twenties:
1. Fashion and furniture styles come and go. There was a time in my life when I thought the combination of country blue and mauve was a great idea. I even went so far as to buy a country blue and white striped sleeper sofa. At the time, I thought it was both stylish and accommodating! But now? Now I know better. While it can be tempting to go all in with one style or another, remember that styles are always changing, and the fashion choice you love today you might regret tomorrow. Use wisdom when deciding what to buy.
2. Don’t strive for mountaintop experiences. Many of us have had “mountaintop experiences” at camps or conferences. These eye-opening, jaw-dropping experiences make us feel like we can conquer the world. But when we constantly strive for these moments, we miss the daily glimpses of God’s work in our lives. These experiences are meant to be milestones on our journey, not our everyday reality. Look for the small ways in which God is working instead.
3. Don’t clench your fists. Holding on to anything too tightly will be the death of it. We often hold on to our dreams and goals dearly. But focusing so much on our plans might make us miss out on God’s plans for us. So, if you’re holding on to anything for dear life, release it and allow God to exchange it for something that is far better than you could’ve imagined.
4. Broaden your scope. Don’t be so narrow-minded when it comes to the path you’ll take. Too often we think that there is just one thing God has called us to. What if God has given us the ability to do a handful of things, but we miss out on the others because our focus is too narrow? If I was still focused on doing what I wanted to do in my twenties, I would have missed the amazing things God had planned for me in my thirties and forties. Instead of having a specific goal such as “speak on a stage in front of thousands,” what if our goal was to “use the gifts God has given us to impact others”?
5. Don’t build your kingdom. Most of us love attention. We want to feel important. We want to change the world. We want to build a name or a brand. I love the heart behind someone’s desire to actually make a difference. I have it, too! But sometimes, we can go too far. We can go to the extreme and build our own kingdom instead of God’s Kingdom. It’s good for all of us to practice putting off our own desires and to make God’s will our focus instead.
I know it may not seem like it, but life is short. Scripture says that we are but a mist and appear for a little while. So let’s do our best to make the most of the lives God has given us. And listen to others willing to give you godly life advice. The more you listen and learn from those around you, the better prepared you’ll be to make a difference for God’s Kingdom.