What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit because a broken spirit, O God, a heart that honestly regrets the past, You won’t detest. (Psalm 51:17 VOICE)
There is a Christian song I hear quite often that just touches my soul in some deep place. The group Mercy Me begins the tune with the words: "Dear younger me, where do I start. If I could tell you everything I have learned so far, then you could be one step ahead." Maybe you know the song - it is worth a listen or two! The context of the song is one of conflict of sorts - between wanting to know what we know now, but at an earlier age. Isn't that kind of like us? We want to experience life - we just don't want all the drama and pain of those choices, lessons we might have to learn the hard way. Yet, the words of the song go just a little deeper, because somewhere toward the end, the song weaves in the idea that if we knew then what we know now, we'd know the truth about condemnation - that it really has no power over our lives!
If I had to tell a younger me what I've learned now, it might just go something like this:
- Don't hold onto those hurts. They will only drive a wedge between you and the other person. They hurt you more than they will ever hurt them.
- Don't get so focused on keeping the house "just right", because a home is made up of messy moments and lots of laughter.
- Don't forget you have your kids in your life for such a very short period of time. They will be gone long before you want, so make an impact while the time is now.
- Don't carry on about the small stuff, because when we sweat the small stuff we forget who already has the bigger stuff carefully worked out already.
- Those chores will keep, but that moment you could make with the child you hold, the parent you will one day long to talk with, or the neighbor who is hurting won't be there long enough.
- The art of conversation is almost a lost art. Don't cave to texting - give them a call and appreciate the tone of their voice, the laughter, and even the times they just fall silent as they struggle to say whatever it is that is in their heart.
- There is very little chance that Sunday School class will win your child's heart for Christ. It is your heart connection with him that will make the biggest influence, even when you see no sign it is.
- Don't waste your time arguing over issues that don't really matter in the long run. Socks on the floor, shoes scattered about, and backpacks that don't empty themselves of yesterday's lunch containers won't matter tomorrow.
- Do nothing to destroy the trust of another, for it takes much, much longer to rebuild than it ever did to destroy it.
- You won't be able to forgive yourself if you cannot see the truth about grace. It is nothing you do that earns it, but it is a gift freely given. As you receive it, give it away. That grace will repair many a washed out relationship bridge - be swift to extend it.
- More than anything else, I'd have to say I needed to be right less and loving more. Those times when I needed to be right were just the silly need of human pride creeping in and driving a wedge in relationship. It is all right to be wrong, less than perfect, and to admit we stand in need of help - there is no sin in failing, nor is there is there any loss in admitting need.
These are but a few things I have learned over the years that I might want to tell a younger me. Maybe you could add to the list. We all could benefit from learning what our younger "me" needed to know! Just sayin!