Thoughts On Turning 30
In our culture it seems that turning 30 is an important milestone, much like turning 18, or 21. But unlike those who dread the idea of beginning one’s third decade of life, I personally experienced no such feeling. I have discovered that there is nothing magical or dreadful about turning another decade older. When I woke up on June 20, I felt no different than I did the night before. However, by the standards of the kids in our youth group I am no longer a “young guy,” or so they tell me. I guess getting older means that I’m no longer cool, though the jury’s still out on whether I was truly ever “cool” or not. I guess one could say that I’ve reached the age where I’m officially an “adult,” if that is indeed something that any person can ultimately achieve. It’s no big secret that our culture worships youth, the advertising tools aimed at our consumer culture and supermarket tabloids are constantly reminding us of this fact. So here it is… I’m no longer a 20-something, I’m no longer part of the target audience; I hope that doesn’t mean I’m no longer relevant.
Here are just a few random things that I have learned over the past three decades of life….
I’ve learned that I can be comfortable being me. I don’t have to pretend to be someone or something I’m not. The world gets to see me for who I am “warts and all” (though I don’t really have any warts.”)
I’ve learned that doing the right thing, means doing the right thing according to God’s standards, not the world’s standards.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to settle for the mediocre or mundane… but that I can live an abundant life!
I’ve learned that following Jesus won’t make your life perfect, but it’s the craziest most awesome adventure on the planet.
I’ve learned that the people who have had the deepest impact on my life are all older than me, and several of them are no longer with me.
I’ve learned that with God’s guidance I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, even if it seems impossible at the onset.
I’ve learned that trust is the most significant aspect of any relationship.
I’ve learned that God is always there, even when it doesn’t seem like He is.
I’ve learned that “faith,” and “religion” aren’t the same thing.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect.
I’ve learned that I shouldn’t live in the past but that I should learn from it.
I’ve learned that God moves mountains and that prayer moves God!
I’ve learned that “blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” (Thank you Bob Stacy)
I’ve learned that I am capable of independence, but that I’m also capable of working with a team
I’ve learned that people need you to understand them more than they need you to agree with them.
I’ve learned that lack of preparation on another person’s part doesn’t necessitate an emergency on my part.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to (and can’t) make everyone happy.
I’ve learned that being a good friend is just as important as having a good friend.
I’ve learned that people I love will hurt me and that I can be at peace with it and move on.
From a ministry perspective…
I’ve learned that in order to communicate the Gospel effectively I must properly prepare myself… no flying by the seat of my pants on Sunday morning.
I’ve learned that preaching without notes is not only possible but preferred
I’ve learned that a supportive leadership is the second best gift a pastor can have; the first is having a congregation that prays for you. (I’m lucky I have both!)
I’ve learned how to compromise without compromising my values.
I’ve learned that I can associate with people with whom I disagree.
I’ve learned that people who are Christians don’t always act like Christians and that they “can” and often “do” some pretty “unchristian,” things.
I’ve learned that we are all pilgrims traveling down the road trying our best to live daily for God, and that we’re going to make mistakes, and that my mistakes are no worse or better than those of another who travels this road.
Most of all…
I’ve learned that my family… my wife, my son, my mom and dad, and my brothers and sisters are totally invaluable, the greatest most rewarding gifts I have in life!
I’m sure that there is more that I stumbled upon throughout the last 30 years of my life, but I’m not conceited enough to think I have all the answers. Maybe when I am 31 I will have all the answers…, now there’s a pipe dream for ya! What I do know is that I am very content with myself and my life thus far. God is great…life is good… I’ve turned 30… So what about the future… Bring it on… Carpe Diem!