it’s only been a couple of years that i’ve been called [& been calling myself] a “student of Life.” but even in that time, i’ve learned much. here are a few lessons among many, in no particular order:
>> being “right” without being loving is still wrong.
boy, have i gotten myself into plenty of trouble with this one. i’ve learned this more by being wrong than right. i am a passionate, opinionated person. i feel strongly convicted about my beliefs & values. but my means of communicating them can be abrasive, unloving, & ineffective. thankfully, & by the immeasurable grace of God, He’s grown me a lot in this area. but i had to learn the hard way. the way that has lost me many a disagreement & cost me many a friendship. because no matter how “right” i am on the issue, if i don’t act rightly as i communicate what i think, i’m still wrong. railroading people is never right. dismissing people & their thoughts, beliefs, & opinions is never right. and even arguing a point just because “i’m right” is never right. there needs to be a point beyond “i’m right” for engaging in disagreements. there needs to be something at stake besides my pride & need to be right. plus, it’s just not effective to share your thoughts in these ways! Jesus & the apostle paul taught that quarreling is never becoming or productive for a follower of Christ. they also taught that when disagreement arises, perhaps even in the manner of correction, it is paramount to treat the other person with love & gentleness. this is a tough teaching for someone like me, but it is the way Christ, the Life, has called us to live.
>> embrace the current season.
i just turned 30 last year, & for over a year leading up to that milestone, i was dreading it. and then a dear longtime friend of mine told me this attitude didn’t seem consistent with or becoming for a student of life. she said she imagined a student of life would embrace the season in which they currently found themselves, no matter what it might be, & they would intentionally prepare for & even look forward to new seasons in life. and she was right. i still often struggle with the reality that i’m 30. working with teens can cause that! but reflecting over my 20s, i am thankful for all the ways in which God has grown me up to this point. i have plenty of regrets, mainly the regret of squandered time, but i also have lots of triumphs, to the glory of God. side note: i asked another friend if i should “freeze” my age at 29, & she advised against it. instead, she said to wait until i turn 32 to “stop aging” because who would ever think you’re lying about being 32?!
i’ve learned much more than these three lessons, & i’ll write more at another time. but these lessons have been pivotal for me in learning how to live the good life.