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.