Someone recently remarked to me the notion, 'If you could go back and do it all again would you?' I'm sure you've thought this or had a similar conversation before. What age would you go back to, assuming you would?
With a friend’s birthday marking a milestone in their life this month I've been thinking about this more than usual. Ironically they sent me a link to some of their new Pastor’s old sermons and he shared in it about cleaning up his father's study after his death. He was leafing through an old book and saw he'd written inside it if there was one thing he could do over it would be getting to spend more time with his dad.
I would only consider going back if I could take the knowledge and experience I've gained along the way with me. Even if I were able to do this, how would I handle what I now know in a younger version of myself?
Having the relationship with God that I now do I wonder how different some of my previous years might have been if I'd viewed myself as he did. How would I have approached situations differently? What different life decisions would I have made?
It goes beyond just me though. I can look back over the last couple of years of my life where I've done the most growing and clearly see how this has affected others.
My best friend came to church with me when they were visiting a couple of years ago having not been since childhood. They went home and didn't set foot inside a church again until I visited them a year later. I went home and they went back, again, and again. I only wish there were more of these stories in my life. Watching someone's life transform for the better is one of the most beautiful experiences I am ever likely to have.
I can't tell anyone how to get to where I am, I can only share how I did it and how different my life is now.
I grew up being told not to listen to certain music, TV shows, movies but it was rules based. The law doesn't work that is why Christ came to set us free and restore our relationship with him. We weren't just sinners but lost sons and daughters that he wanted a relationship with us badly enough to allow himself to be killed in one of the most inhumane ways ever conceived.
See things differently
Having saturated myself in the best identity teaching I am yet to find (If you can find better than HCSKL please let me know) my whole viewpoint on life has dramatically shifted. I see things so differently now that it's like I've been to university yet I never studied a single thing. Having lived my life surviving by using my mind it's a trip to now have a relationship with the creator of the universe that my mind can't comprehend.
Now I see relationships portrayed on TV in a light that highlights why the world is so lost. I no longer have any need to be told what might or might not be good for me to watch or listen to, I no longer want to. It isn't a conscious choice like trying not to eat your favourite food even though it might not be the healthiest option, it's become a part of me and it's wonderful.
Previously I would have read the bible because I knew it was a healthy option, but much like a salad I was rarely hungry for it. Ditto for praying though that was normally needs based, I was in need so I prayed. Now thanks to a bible app I listen to the bible as I fall asleep and when I wake up and it makes a tangible difference.
Through it all though he was always there loving me even if I kept putting up roadblocks to receiving it. I'm thankful I was given the time to brainwash myself in his truth and start to unravel all the lies I'd believed to be truth along the way.
You may not have the time I did but how much extra time would you have if you switched of the TV, got off social media, listened to something else on the way to work?
If you dedicated this year to listening to his word everyday not just on Sundays, how different could your life be this year, and next? If you started seeing yourself and then others through his love rather than through your experiences of the brokenness of this world, how much more could you have to celebrate the next time you mark a milestone?
Everyone is searching for an identity in their school, job, sport, relationships, nothing this world can offer will fulfil like your creator can. I lost my identity when I was medically retired but the new one I gained along the way is one that can never be taken from me. May this year be the start of a brand new life for you.
Neville Hiatt’s previous posts for Press Services International can be read here. He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. He now runs http://nevillehiatt.com where he shares his desire to Inspire, Create, Motivate, and Educate through his photography, poetry and short stories. He also blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/ covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.