Oh how I wish you and I had the time to sit and talk. You could tell me a story or two, I could tell you a story or two (or nine), because I love to share stories. And over the past three decades, I've certainly collected quite a few, many of them being tied to the list of big ideas below. As promised, with the passing of my recent birthday, here are 33 things I've learned (the hard way) in 33 years, in no particular order. May you find encouragement in them, even if it's just in one.
1. What we often don't like about others is a reflection of what we don't like about ourselves.
2. Instead of getting discouraged by how far you have to go, look back and be encouraged by how far you've come.
3. You can't be anyone else but yourself, mainly because everyone else is already taken.
4. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more than or less than He already does.
5. Spending more money than you make robs you of your future.
6. The best way to have a great day is to begin the day with an attitude of gratitude.
7. What Jesus has already done for you is far greater than what anyone has ever done (or ever will do) to you.
8. Learn to laugh at yourself. He who laughs, lasts. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.
9. Forgive early and often. If not, you will become a very bitter individual.
10. You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people you are around.
11. Love is a choice, and it is better to show it than to say it.
12. "Over-spiritualizing" every decision is exhausting.
13. Your current situation is not your final destination.
12. Leadership is a labor of love and you should always focus on what you can give rather than what you can get.
13. In life, you can always control two things: (1) your attitude and (2) your effort.
14. Don't be in such a hurry to get to the next season of your life that you miss the blessing in your current season.
15. Great freedom comes with finding your identity in Christ alone.
16. Making a decision is the easy part. Managing that decision is where it gets tough.
17. You don't need anyone's permission to live out your purpose and chase your dream.
18. Knowledge is power, but applied knowledge is more powerful.
19. Whenever possible, simplify.
20. The one thing you can always plan on is that things don't always go as planned.
21. Everybody you meet is either going into something, going through something, or coming out of something, so be kind to them.
22. The world does not revolve around you.
23. Be authentic. Be genuine. If someone doesn't like you for who you are, that's their problem, not yours.
24. You don't have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.
25. Don't expect to see great results from the work you didn't do.
26. Satan delights in keeping you busy. He is a master of deception and distraction.
27. When you're tired, take a break, but do not quit.
28. Don't be afraid to ask for help. No one has ever achieved anything great all on their own.
29. When you change your thoughts, you change your world.
30. You are responsible for your own personal growth and development.
31. If you don't take time to create a plan for your life, by default you will subscribe to everyone elses' plan for your life.
32. We are all in the people business. Relationships are at the center of everything we do.
33. If you want to see the best in people, you have to also be willing to love the mess in people.
I hope these 33 nuggets that I have picked up along my way find you well and serve you well, friend. Trust me when I say, I could keep going... This list could easily be 133 things. Sitting here looking back over the list right now, I'm already tempted to take something out or add something else to, but those are what came to me first.
Thank you for the kind words and well wishes in celebration of my birthday. As I reflect back over the last year of my life, God has made it clear to me how rich I truly am... The grace He's offered each day, the lessons He's taught me from the mistakes I've made, the provision He has given in every season, the relationships He has blessed me with, the dream He has placed in my heart, the hope and promise that He has given me for my future.
As you continue to grow, be sure to take note of what you've learned. Whatever has helped you grow, share that knowledge and wisdom with others. Remember: dreams do come true for people just like you.
Love you guys. Let's grow.
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