Recently I turned 26 and my aunty challenged me to write 25 things I’ve learnt so far. I feel like I’m always reflecting on things, however I found this to be an incredibly life giving experience nonetheless.
It helped me realise how much I have already learnt and experienced. Every idea has a story attached and usually someone that was there for me at that point in time.
I thought I was going to struggle to get to 25 things, however I ended up having close to 40 and I was only getting started. Sometimes, I think we forget how much we have already learnt. But equally at times, I think we don’t realise how much more there is to learn. In this case it was the former, not the latter.
Anyway, below are a few of the best (bite sized) lessons I have learnt so far. These aren’t in any particular order and I’m sure people have better ones they could add.
You might even disagree with some of them. But hopefully there will be a couple of things that you or someone else you know might find helpful.
Disclaimer: I’m sure most of these ideas have been discovered long before I’ve written them. I’ve tried to give credit if I quoted it from somewhere else, but there are probably a few that I may have missed. If so, please forgive me.
#1 “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less” – C. S. Lewis
#2 We must learn to control our desires or our desires will control us. Freedom is not just doing whatever you want to do, but knowing you can stop whenever you want.
#3 Save some, give some, invest some and spend some. There’s a difference between what we need and what we want. It’s very easy to chase what we want to the point where we can’t even afford what we need.
#4 Look after your health (physical, mental/emotional, social and spiritual), we will eventually suffer greatly if we don’t.
#5 We all have faith in something, we just differ on what that something or someone is.
#6 Don’t wait for special occasions to tell people how you feel about them. The expectation lessens the impact of what we say and people need to be encouraged and affirmed more often.
#7 Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t go to advice for.
#8 Forgiveness is process that takes time. It does not mean forgetting or pretending everything is okay. It means choosing to let go of our hurt, anger and pain in order to experience freedom from the wrong we may have endured. By choosing to hold our resentment, we are the ones who suffer the most.
#9 Hurt people, hurt people.
#10 Peace of mind is not based solely on our external situations, but our internal thoughts. We can’t always change our situation, but we can learn to be at peace within it.
#11 Love is both a feeling and an action. We feel loved, but we also choose to love. One without the other is not complete.
#12 It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can make life easier. It can also give you the opportunity to spend time doing things that you love with people that you love.
#13 People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
#14 Figure out what your “why” is. E.g. Why you do what you do. Life can pass quickly, and if we don’t figure out what we want our lives to be about, we will likely live meaningless lives.
#15 “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.” - Timothy Keller
#16 Comparison is the thief of joy. - C. S. Lewis
#17 We all want the same thing in life, to be happy. However, most of us will spend our lives working in order to build wealth, buy possessions and chase experiences, when the thing that makes us happiest is usually the people that we have had next to us all along.
#18 Confidence is not only based on our competence, but also on how much we care about what others think. The less we care about what people think about us, the more freedom we have to be ourselves.
#19 Most people portray the best image of themselves. We don’t know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes and we certainly don’t know what it’s like to live their lives.
#20 Pleasure feels good, but it is temporary. True joy comes from a life of purpose and meaning with a bunch of pleasurable and exciting things along the way.
#21 Lighten up and don’t take yourself to seriously. Laughing is good for the soul.
#22 It is said that we become the average of the 5 closest people in our lives. We are a product of our environment and culture. We become who and what we surround ourselves with. This is all to say…choose your friends wisely.
#23 The best investment we can ever make is in our own character. Not only will we benefit from it, but so will our partners, our families and friends.
#24 Worry is a wasted emotion...it’s doesn’t change anything.
#25 Love God, love others and love yourself, and if even you fail to do the rest of these, hopefully you will have people there to help you pick up the pieces when you need it.
Whether you agree or disagree with these ideas, I hope it sparks reflection and conversation. I think the world needs more discussion about the meaningful things in life because there is always so much more to learn. So I’ll leave you with a challenge: What are the 25 things you have learnt so far?
Write them down, share them with someone else and see what you can learn from each other. You never know what you might just learn and how helpful it might just be.
Ethan grew up in Mt Roskill, Auckland. He studied at a degree in Applied Theology at Carey Baptist College. He has been pastoring for five years and is currently the Youth and Young Adults Pastor at Windsor Park Baptist Church. He loves Basketball, getting out in nature, having a laugh and talking about life and faith.
Ethan Miller grew up in Mt Roskill, Auckland. He studied at a degree in Applied Theology at Carey Baptist College. He has been pastoring for five years and is currently the Youth and Young Adults Pastor at Windsor Park Baptist Church. He loves Basketball, getting out in nature, having a laugh and talking about life and faith