I am 42-years old. I now have a daughter who is a Freshman in college. I recently tried to write some things to her detailing what I wish I knew entering college. That got me thinking about myself as a young person and what would have been important to know when I was 20-years old. Here is a portion of that list.
- Pursue Christ not feelings. I once spent time at a lake talking to God about all that I wanted to experience. I began most of my sentences with, “I want to know what it feels like to…” Looking back on that now, I am frightened by my foolishness. By God’s hand I didn’t fall into some self absorbed, emotion only fueled existence that only sought feelings at the expense of the transforming power of Christ and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Christ is much more worthy of pursuit than my feelings. The latter is a dead end.
- Being a Contrarian has its limits. I am one of those people who in a room full of liberals will be the most conservative in the room or in a room full of conservatives will be the most liberal in the room. I am not intentionally trying to be difficult, it is just that too much blind consensus makes me uncomfortable. So, in the evangelical world that I grew up in and continued to partake of in college, I tended to narrow my faith to a set of beliefs that were more personal preference than a soul stirring philosophy of life. More a reaction to what I saw around me than a productive sense of direction. In a way, I had been guilty of the same problems I saw in my evangelical circles. In an effort to be reactionary against what I thought were a narrow set of beliefs, I had built up my own reduced version of beliefs. The depth and breadth of the full gospel were lost to those I was reacting against and to myself.
- Change is Possible. Twenty plus years later I am a different person. Many people hold back on this Growing Up in Christ thing because they don’t really think that change can happen. I can say that Christ has transformed my life but at 20-years-old I would have been skeptical. Today, I am a friendlier and more patient person. I am less selfish. I don’t let anger and bitterness consume me. I am more genuine and less likely to embrace falseness and pretense. Lust doesn’t have the hold on me as it once did. I understand more of the heart of Christ and have been able to learn from him in a variety of ways. It is not as important for me to always be right. Christ can change lives. It has happened to me.