Friday, September 29, 2023

Free Advice for the Young


Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 2:11

Reading this today I realized I’m old enough to share some wisdom with younger people - but also realized I couldn’t spell “Ecclesiastes”!  But what advice can I give to the younger generation, those looking to build their lives and find independence and happiness?  What can I see looking back on my life that are traps and things I would change?  I’m sure all that are my age would have a list much like mine.  For the love of young people, many of which I can see their faces as I write, I’ll offer this advice.

First, be careful of the work treadmill.  Once you get on it, you are tossed into the daily grove of work, lunch, work, home, sleep, and repeat.  That makes your life boring, and your job something you dread.  Make time for yourself.  Make time to watch the trees blow in the wind and soak in the sunshine.  Indulge in nature! Read a book, create art, whatever give you joy and solitude.  Find time for yourself, or you will lose yourself to the expectations of others. Time is the gift God has given you.  Work, but don’t give all of God’s greatest gift away.

Secondly (but should be first) carve out time for God.  Never forget that He controls everything – even the breath you are breathing right now.  God is not only your maker, but the One that knows you intimately, and loves you most.  He has all the answers, all the solutions, all power, and all seeing.  He knew your future before you were born.  Talk with Him daily, ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance.  Ask Him to correct you each time you have disappointed Him.  A strong walk with God changes everything.  You can be calm, steady, and at peace in the worst times if God is with you.

Make time for your friends – they’re likely to get on the work treadmill too!  When you lose your friends – you lose yourself.  Our relationships with our friends create who we are through what they will put up with, and what they won’t.  Find a friend that will be open and honest with you, the kind that will call you up and say ‘you suck as a friend’ when it’s true.  Find one that is ready to help even when they don’t have time.  Find authentic friends with whom you can share worries, heartbreaks, success, and excitement.

Don’t fall in love with money, or the things it buys.  The more money you get – the more things you can get.  But in the long run, those things go out of style.  They are redesigned with solar power or additional gigabytes, or some fancy automated AI technology.  But in the long run, they only work for a year or two and then they land in the trash.  Things can make us happy - but not for long.  Spend your money wisely.  Make memories and take pictures – because one day you will want to remember your youth.  Don’t look back and say it was wasted. 

Be generous to others, which will change your heart regarding money.   Give it away and you receive blessings – gifts from God (Proverbs 22:9, Acts 20:35).  Understand that what God has to give is better than anything you could buy.  Give it away to prove that you’re not “owned” by money.  If you ever get to where you grudge giving - you’ve got trouble! Go to God.

Don’t lose yourself.  Don’t try to be someone you are not.  When you do – you fade into the background of all the other who have swallowed the hook of “this is what is popular”.  You were created uniquely – keep that uniqueness which makes you special.

Fall in love!  Yes, sometimes it hurts and hurts badly!  But love – true love – is worth it.  A broken love breaks the heart indeed. But hearts mend and grow.  Ask God to place that perfect husband or wife in your path.  Get to know the ones that want to love you.  Love doesn’t always look like Barbie and Ken.  Have children – or adopt children.  The greatest love I’ve ever felt is from my kids and grandkids.  It’s a pure, genuine love.  It’s the closes love you can get on this earth other than God’s love.

I hope this will help some young people rethink what their future can be.  Success is found in your heart. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Lose It


"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25

For most of my life I've chased "success". I've worked beginning at 14 every summer, while going to high school, and college with three jobs at once. I've never been without a job since then. I struggled with what people think of me, am I "good enough". In all honesty, I still battle with what people think...people that are nameless, but I feel I have to live up to a standard that I never meet.

Reading this verse this morning I searched for the full meaning. Basically, it's about our ego. Our Ego tells us what we desire, and how "terrible" it is without it. We are like little puppets on a string being pulled by the hand of our ego. There is no peace or love from your ego.

To "lose your life" as the verse states is not to die. It is to die to your ego and the worries of what other people think, will say, and so on. Then Jesus says "but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." I love the words Jesus chose! To lose your ego and your self ambition "for My sake will find it".

We're all chasing for "success" and we've built into our hearts and minds what that should be. The world has taught us that admiration comes from "success". Yet, the greatest love we could ever find can only be found by dropping that ego hard on the pavement and watching it crack like a clay dolls head! Put your ego to death! Pride is a weakness, not an asset (Proverbs 11:2, 16:18)

Give up on your ego, your heady rules for "success". Chase LOVE! Chase God's love, God's desires for you. He never asked us to be wealthy or famous. He just asks us to love Him back. Live in the peace of knowing that the One who owns it all - who made it all - is in love with you! Find that relationship with Jesus through salvation and relish in the reality of a love like no other, a constant state of peace and calm, mercy renewed every morning!

"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:16-17