When you begin a career in public education in the state of Kentucky, as a school teacher, you are issued a teaching certificate. The expiration date on that certificate coincides with a deadline. In order to renew your certificate, you must show proof that you have enrolled in a graduate degree program that is accepted by the Kentucky Department of Education and your respective school board. If my memory is correct, working towards your master's degree has to start within five years of the time you receive your original certificate. This not only allows you to keep your teaching credentials in tact, but it also sets you up for a major pay raise.
One of my quarrels with the system was that it wouldn't honor the master's degree that I actually wanted to pursue... In other words, I could pay for school, complete the program, but it wouldn't count towards any qualifications--a renewed certificate or pay raise.
I decided to leave teaching just before I had to start my master's degree. I will admit, there were other factors involved in my departure--I had mistaken contentment for complacency, and I had other inspirations that were developing and new passions were growing. I will also admit that I was very immature in my faith and I was enthusiastically chasing things out of a misconstrued, irresponsible perspective of success and abundance. I basically wanted something more, but I didn't really know what more was. But in any case, I proceeded in a new direction.
Along that path (what I believe has been my greatest season of growth), I found myself being schooled by life. And what life taught me was that the teacher will appear when the student is ready. What I've learned is this: God was orchestrating it all. He is the Creator of the universe, the King of all things, the Source of all truth, the Author of all wisdom, and the Giver of all good gifts. He was using all of my life experience to draw me closer to Him and introduce me to deeper levels of His character.
As we approach the "Holiday Season" and close 2016, I wanted to share with you a growing list of 59 nuggets that I feel can help you improve your life as you prepare for 2017. Don't allow the number 59 to overwhelm you. I'm not suggesting that you have to embrace all of these and apply everything on the list in order to "be your best self" in the coming year. Some of these simple applications may not even apply to you and your walk at this season of your life. They didn't all come to me at once, but rather when I was ready to learn what God was teaching me through people and relationships, successes and failures, places and things, etc.
So, here it is:
1. Life is going to stretch you, so work on your flexibility.
2. You can’t get more time, but you can make the most of the time you have
3. Trading time for dollars isn’t the only way to make money.
4. No amount of success is worth sacrificing your faith, your family, and your friends.
5. Live simply.
6. Be a lifelong learner.
7. If you base your decisions on what culture says, you’ll always be confused.
8. More stuff will never satisfy my soul.
9. If you're not growing, you're dying.
10. Most people lack passion because they don’t have purpose.
11. God is more concerned with your character than He is with your career.
12. Be an encourager.
13. There is a difference in failing and being a failure.
14. Gratitude and humility are always in season.
15. Never stop dating your spouse.
16. Tough times come and go, but tough people last.
17. Focus on being kind rather than being right.
18. Service over self should be a way of life.
19. Take time to reflect.
20. A sincere compliment requires very little effort, but goes a really long way.
21. If we got everything we wanted, right when we wanted it, we wouldn’t learn anything.
22. Relationships require commitment.
23. Be the Church rather than just doing church.
24. Hard work is hard work.
25. You don’t have to have an impressive resume to make a difference in the lives of others.
26. People want to help people who they see are willing to help themselves.
27. If you try to be a one man show, your dream will never grow.
28. The world does not revolve around you.
29. Feelings are fleeting.
30. Sin always takes you further than you wanted to go, it costs you more than you were willing to pay, and it never gives what it promises.
31. Never pull someone down on your climb to the top.
32. Ask for God’s help.
33. Worry never fixes anything.
34. Learn from your past, but leave it where it’s at: in the past.
35. It’s okay to not be okay.
36. The richest people in the world are not those who have the most, but those who need the least.
37. Don’t mistake lust for love.
38. Singleness does not equal loneliness.
39. Eat more green stuff.
40. There’s nothing soft about following Jesus.
41. Change is inevitable; growth is a choice.
42. God’s grace is sufficient.
43. You can’t grow without a challenge.
44. Exercise regularly.
45. Laughing is one of your greatest allies.
46. Handwritten notes never go out of style.
47. Learn to say no.
48. Deciding what you won’t do is just as important (if not more important) as deciding what you will do.
49. Practice makes progress.
50. Quitters never win and winners never quit.
51. Your why will evolve.
52. The supreme desire of your heart will rule your life.
53. Be proactive about networking, making connections, and adding value.
54. You can’t cheat on your health.
55. Don’t just tell someone you love them, show them.
56. God can do far more with 10% than we could ever do with 90%.
57. Slow down long enough to enjoy a sunrise or a sunset.
58. It's always a great day to make it a great day.
59. You can have a good heart (be a good person), but have bad habits, and never live the life God has called you to.
I sincerely hope something on this list serves you well and helps you move the ball down the field in your life, so to speak (it's football season, so I thought was was a cool way of saying it). By the way, number 59 came to me today. And I think it's a pretty solid one too! What do you think?
Love you guys. Let's grow.
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