33 Things I’ve Learned in 33 Years of Life

I turn 33 tomorrow. I know, you don’t care. It’s just a regular day. Setting aside my cynicism for a moment (but still keeping my solipsistic tendencies in mind) I got to thinking the other night about the things I’ve learned in the past ten years or so. Here’s what I came up with (or is that supposed to be, “The things up with which I came”? Not sure, but I didn’t want to be guilty of ending a sentence with a preposition. #grammarnazi

1. I am a sinner in need of a Savior.
2. Jesus is the only one in the Savior category.
3. My wife’s love for me reminds me of Jesus’s love for me.
4. My kids are awesome (but yes they’re still sinful. I’m a Calvinist, no hagiography please!).
5. God knows me better than I know myself.
6. We love those who know the worst of us yet don’t turn their faces away (Walker Percy).
7. I care way too much about what other people think of me.
8. Conviction is not the same thing as repentance.
9. Read through the Bible every year.
10. If you wait until you feel like praying to start praying, you’ll never pray.
11. Having honest friends who can look you in the face and tell you you’re wrong is a blessing.
12. True friends stab you in the front (Oscar Wilde).
13. I rarely lose my temper (seriously, ask my wife!) but when I do it’s because other people aren’t treating me like I’m the center of the universe.
14. You can’t beat a person who doesn’t care if he loses.
15. When someone criticizes you, resist the temptation to criticize them in return. Die to yourself. It shreds the ego. Get on the cross and stay there.
16. Love isn’t unconditional affirmation.
17. Passive-aggressive behavior is unbecoming.
18. If you ignore problems, they don’t go away.
19. Don’t let the sins you see in someone else’s life control you.
20. I’m 33, yes, and basically I still want my mom to hold me and tell me everything’s going to be okay.
21. I get everything I need from the gospel.
22. Spend time around people with a good sense of humor. Laughing is fun.
23. Listen to your parents. They’re smarter than you are.
24. “Make friends with books. They’ll never leave you nor forsake you” – HB Charles.
25. Don’t worship your heroes. They have clay feet.
26. “It is much harder to love your spouse when you’re constantly focused on how they are not as you-centered as you are” ~ Jared Wilson
27. Don’t read the church growth gurus. They’re mostly wrong. Pastoral ministry isn’t rocket science.
28. Spend time every day reading poetry.
29. Time and truth go hand-in-hand.
30. Being able to be yourself in front of your wife is glorious (especially when she still loves you afterward!).
31. Loving others when there’s nothing in it for you is incredibly sanctifying.
32. Have the courage of your convictions.
33. Ministering to people during times of grief and death makes me long for the new heavens and the new earth: “Your eyes will behold the King in his beauty. . . . there the LORD in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams . . . And no inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick’; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity” (Isaiah 33:17, 21, 24).

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