I turned 26 this week and thought of this… My friend Genaye wrote a great blog on her 29th birthday reflecting on key things she’s learned in life – things she feels are worth passing on. I loved that. So I’m revamping her brilliant idea with my own simple list of 26 in 26. Enjoy!
- Just fall in love with Jesus. Spend time with him consistently. Even when you don’t feel like it.
- Memorize scripture. It’s not really as hard as you might think, and it’s something you definitely won’t regret spending time doing.
- Find a personal sense of style. Don’t be swept away by the trends. Design, wear, decorate with what you love deep down.
- And speaking of design… do lots of that. Create. Push yourself. Keep finding inspirations and create new things constantly.
- Think about the things that fill your time. Be intentional about what you spend your time doing. Do what counts and be fully invested when you’re there.
- Set the phone aside when you’re with people. Be with them in the moment. They are what you will remember later.
- Keep learning. Read constantly. Take it all back to the Word. It will help keep your head on straight and help you form better ideas.
- Seek wisdom. Pray for it. It will keep your mouth shut when you need to, and give you words when appropriate.
- Travel. Learn about other cultures. They will make you a better, more rounded person in the very best of ways.
- Find accountability. Prayer partners, friends, mentors – people who are there to keep you in line and remind you of what’s important.
- Commit to a church family. You’re not a lone-ranger, Christian. You need people – and the church is meant for more than just your benefit. It’s a place to serve, not a place where you agree with everything said.
- Do something different. Don’t be afraid to be different, push the boundaries and figure out what is really right, not just what is ‘normal.’
- Drink coffee. It will make life happier and more connected. (It’s kind of a universal bond .)
- Don’t be afraid to love. Life will seem like a constant letting go, but it is full when you are free to love deeply.
- Extend grace. People will love you for it – but more than that, it reflects Jesus in you. Learn that from others, and apply it.
- Start something new. Ethnic prayer nights, a prayer group, weekly breakfast with your sisters. They are simple. They are powerful.
- Create art. Take the time and make beautiful things and feel alive. Do art that you’re not good at too… because its not about the end result as much as the creative process.
- Listen to those wiser than you. Read their works, go have dinner with them and take in their experiences. You’ll be better for having gleaned from them.
- Be silly. It’s OK, and life needs to have light moments.
- Work hard. You will never regret having given your best.
- Don’t seek your own accolades. “Work not for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed. Just make your absence felt.”
- Make family a priority. They are the people that will be your anchor, and you theirs. And these are the most precious relationships.
- Get a dog. They love and love all the time. And it’s good to be reminded that something loves you no matter what
- Let yourself cry on the behalf of the hurting. Feeling pain helps life have more purpose, especially when its acknowledging the vulnerable. I think it’s some of what gives us ultimate purpose.
- Cook. When you’ve got the chance and the resources, enjoy good food. It will just make you happy to experience new things.
- Above all, just let life come. Trust in your Maker, and know that He is in control.
What about you? What are things you’ve learned in your years of experience? I’d love to hear some of your thoughts…
I got in my car yesterday and heard this song on the radio. It was so fitting – the perfect reminder I needed for this next step.
I drove to a meeting where I signed a lot of papers… and bought a house. All the while, this song was echoing in my heart: “I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong…”
This place is just a [cute and cozy] house, and these walls are a place to be used. My simple prayer is this… I want it to be a loud beacon for this little house, all who live there and for my life. “Lord, I know I’m not home yet. This world is not where I belong. So take this step and give me Jesus. I’ll use this, and I’ll hold it loosely, because I know it’s not ultimately where I belong. Let this temporary dwelling be a ‘light on a hill’ reflecting your glory.”
Groupon’s still offering the deal, and I’d highly recommend TESOLS. Here’s 5 reasons why:
$69 for a 160-Hour Online TESOL-Certification Course with Job Bank and e-Library Access from TESOLS.com ($944 Value)
1. It’s $69. That’s a steal for any kind of furthering education…
2. It’s a virtual passport to nearly anywhere in the world. Not only is that a cool way help people and travel, it allows you access to countries you couldn’t just ‘go to’. See here for some places where this could radically change things. Essentially, TESOLS enables viable jobs where you will interact directly with people from that culture.
3. This will help with any cross-cultural interaction, because you’ll be more self-aware of the assumed things in your own language. While the misunderstandings are often fairly entertaining, they’re frustrating too. Here’s a couple of examples of some literal translations gone bad:
- The Coca-Cola® name in China was first read as “Kekoukela,” meaning “Bit the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax,” depending upon the dialect. Coke® then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokou kole,” translating into “happiness in the mouth.”
- When Gerber® started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the United States, with the smiling baby on the label. Later, they learned that in Africa, companies put the pictures on the labels of what’s inside since many people can’t read.
4. It gives you a better global worldview. No matter where you use it, or even if it doesn’t get practical use, it’s a good source to think outside of yourself and your small world… to think about the reasons you say things and the way you assume things. (I think it helps in regular conversations with other English-speakers too!)
5. You just never know where God will move you. Taking the opportunities to learn and grow as an individual could be useful in a number of cross-cultural experiences later on, whether that happens overseas, in your city with refuges or even online. In our ever-shrinking world, these kinds of resources have never been more appropriate.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know some have done similar programs, and I’m excited to hear feedback from others who have done this – especially if you’ve used it in cross-cultural contexts. What did you think of the course?
I’m watching those little squares on my calendar fill and I feel tension of this event-crazed society. They’re wonderful things – things I love and am so thankful for. A friend’s wedding, a couple conferences for work, moving. Missionary support meetings. High school kids. Prayer nights. More moving…
I know myself well enough to know that if I’m not careful, I’ll slowly and helplessly fall apart on a schedule like this… unless I am very intentional. Over time, I find that I need to make room for quiet nights alone, listening to soft music, reading, watching a movie or painting. I need space for that in my life. It gives me time to think and pray about the world swirling around me. And if I don’t take it, I fade.
Fading isn’t abundance, and I’m thinking of that often too, when I’m faced with bowing out of an event or weekend, knowing myself, and hating the need for quietness all at once. If Christ has come to offer the ‘abundant life’ then I need to find the balance to allow that to happen fully. (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10.10) And so I think this post is as much a daily careful analysis for myself as anything.
I’ve often said life is as busy as I want it to be. So one day at a time, knowing my own limitations and tendencies, I’m trying to keep my eyes focused on Jesus in the middle of those scribble-ridden squares – for it is He who has changed my life for a purpose and given the Commission.
This has been a heck of a cold, blustery streak in the Mid-west. But these are the best of memories, despite being cooped up.
But it’s more than memories, good as those are. It’s being forced to stop a bit and take time to reflect on life. I have so enjoyed that.
Rich Mullins writes of it too as he pauses from work:
“Sometimes in the heat of the toil of my labor I give in to fits of selfish rage – frustration more over my lack of skill than over my apartment’s progress. But late at night when I look over the piles of dust and dry wall and knee-deep debris that remain during this reconstructive effort, I am strangely moved by the place and I proclaim the Gospel to it softly. I say, ‘I know how it hurts to be torn up. I am often choked on the litter left by my own remodeling. I know what it’s like to settle (by the grave act of strong will) into the despair of believing that you are wasted space. I have felt the blows of heavy hammers that nailed me to a sense of uselessness. I have been shaped by some pretty careless workers who came to the task of making me and lacked any craftsmanship or artistry. I know the pain of wanting to be changed and yet being distrustful of changes, of wanting ot be worked on, but being suspicious of the intentions of the Worker. But here is some good news: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. However messy it may be now, however confusing and scary it appears, however endless the task may seem, we will some day be glorious, beautiful, alive! There is much tearing out to do – a lot to give up. No thin coat of paint, no shallow, petty piety will do. It’s not good enough to cover up imperfection, it must be corrected. Art, beauty, function – these things take time. They may take ‘til the day of Christ Jesus.
“But we are not wasted space, we are temples of a Being greater than ourselves, temples being built to be inhabited and brought to life. Though we many not understand the process, our Rebuilder does. We are His Workmanship and the place where He lives… I’m being made by a Master Carpenter. I’m learning a little about building too!” - Rich Mullins
I’m stepping back to enjoy this time where we can’t go places. It’s brief, uncommon and full of rich memories if I’m open to them.
I said before I left on Friday morning that I wanted CROSScon to be a way to get my heart in focus entering 2014. It did NOT disappoint. In fact, I’m quite positive there’s not much I could have done more to be drawn up into the Gospel message and the Great Commission to the ends of the earth.
5 Things really stuck out to me through CROSScon:
- The Gospel message was clearly, beautifully proclaimed. Over and over again. You can listen to some of the talks here, which I would totally recommend.
- Personal spiritual lives were challenged. I can’t say enough good about how challenged I was to dive into the Word, practice spiritual disciplines and just live it out every day. Em and I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of the speakers and were able to talk about what the Gospel looks like on a very practical level in our lives. It was so refreshing.
- God’s Glory and Salvation were praised. Rich, Gospel focused worship and prayer saturated the whole conference, and I believe God was richly praised. Every time I’m in settings like this, I get so excited for the picture in Revelations of us all together around the Throne someday.
- God’s MANDATE to go to all nations (whether physically or by supporting) was boldly stated. I think it’s one of those conferences that we’ll hear about in 30 years – and how God did some amazing things through it to reach the 6,000+ unreached and unengaged people groups of the world.
- We were sent out to do something about it. And that’s where 2014 can look pretty exciting. But not just if you were at CROSScon. For all who are a part of God’s family, there’s great, eternal hope and some incredible purpose for 2014 and the rest of our time here on earth.
So let’s go 2014!
This song is hauntingly beautiful – and the lyrics of this Christmas song and Gospel message are the story I want my life to echo.
Merry Christmas. May your day be full of awe as we worship the King.