You don’t know what you don’t know. It is one of those statements that is so basic, yet so deep. When we enter into a new phase of life, we have expectations and are sometimes knocked down by our reality. How many times have you said to yourself, “If only I’d known…”? Wisdom is underrated in the young.
When I consider my not-so-great decisions, they are most often accompanied by gaps between my knowledge and my decision. Gaps that needed a little wisdom. Every journey includes bumps in the road. These rough patches build character and resilience. But if I could tell my younger self a few things, it would be these wise words.
5 Things I Wish I Had Known
Be brave enough to leave a bad job.
Fear chained me to jobs that drained the life out of me. Because I am loyal like a dog and because I crave financial security, I stuck around longer than I should have. There are times for sticking it out, and then there are times for an obedient retreat. In his book, Do Over, Jon Acuff shares some work wisdom:
Work is not the enemy. Work does not have to be a miserable bar-free prison we voluntarily serve time in until the parole of retirement. On the contrary, work can be great. Work can be wonderful. If we rescue Monday. If we dare to reinvent it. If we refuse to get stuck.
Speak kind to and about others, even when they aren’t listening.
Seems so basic. But I spent so much time with my foot in my mouth as a young’un. I made fun of a man in the stadium, only to find out his daughter sat beside me. I said some mean girl things to some nice girls in high school. I still slip up and say things I shouldn’t. Avoid the need to apologize for your words by keeping your words kind—always.
Don’t let the butterflies die.
Twenty years ago, my stomach was a virtual butterfly sanctuary as my now-husband asked me to be his girl. Those butterflies (and long-distance phone calls at ten cents a minute) carried us through to our engagement. Diamond ring butterflies lifted us off into marriage. Newlywed butterflies propelled us through the first year or so. We celebrate eighteen years of marriage next month. Butterflies are sometimes few and far between.
The average lifespan of a butterfly is two weeks. If we aren’t birthing new butterflies in our relationships, pretty soon we will have a stomach full of butterfly remains. Precious thought, isn’t it? However, if we are intentional in our efforts to quicken the heart, the flutters of love can stick around for a lifetime.
Get less house than you think you can afford.
We built our dream house about ten years ago with one eye on the house plans and one eye on everyone else’s dream house. That left zero eyes for the budget. We could handle the payment, but it left little for giving and living. Despite the realization of our domestic dreams, we decided to walk away from it in search of simplicity, in search of true discipleship.
We need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)
Be more intentional about self-care when your kids are little.
When my girls were little, my idea of self-care was getting a shower. I have since discovered the beauty of taking care of me. Finding things that feed our souls helps us to be an intentional, patient, and loving mother. It’s not selfish to declare a mommy time out to get some rest, work on a hobby, or meet with life-giving friends. (Read more about my self-care discovery here. Watch this Blab about self-care with me and some of my Glorious Table sisters.)
Everything I wish I had known I can find in the book of Proverbs.
- Work: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Prov. 16:3, NIV).
- Words: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 16:23-24, NIV).
- Love: “Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.” (Prov. 3:3, MSG).
- Money: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (Prov. 23:4-5, NIV)
- Self-care: “Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.” (Prov. 3:21-24, MSG).
We don’t know what we don’t know. But we do know where to go for the wisdom to make the best decisions. We can fill in the gaps between our knowledge and our decisions with wisdom from God’s Word.
#FridayFive Link Up
What words of wisdom would you like to tell your younger self? Share in the comments or link up your “I Wish I Had Known” posts using the button below. As King Solomon says, “Get wisdom, get understanding” (Prov 4:5, NIV)!
Speaking of self-care, next week we will share ways to embrace self-care. This topic is so near to my heart, and I can’t wait to read your thoughts!
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