20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves


Leanna Shepard talks about what she gleaned from Peter and Kelli Worrall's book, in which the couple tells of their triumphs and failures, sharing what they wished they would have known in their twenties.

Have you ever noticed how life altering your twenties are? You’ve graduated from high school only to enroll in the school of life. You’ve left behind childhood to embark on the daunting adventure of adulthood. It’s a decade of transition where you’re bombarded with choices, choices, and more choices. How will you handle the pressure, and on what should you base your decisions?

Authors Peter and Kelli Worrall were once new to this whole adulting thing, too. In their book, 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twentysomething Selves, the couple candidly tells of their past triumphs and failures, sharing in hindsight twenty things they wished they would have known in their twenties.

Still being in my late twenties myself, this book title caught my eye. The advice offered by Kelli and Peter is both biblical and extremely practical, so I’m passing along to you what I gleaned from their twenty tips for twentysomethings:

1. Examine your foundation carefully. What you believe about God and the purpose of life affects every decision you make, so ensure your worldview is rooted in the truth, and then stand firmly in that truth.

2. Remain teachable. Another way of saying this is to be humble. You don’t know everything. There’s always more to learn. So surround yourself with wise influencers and take notes!

3. Dig deeper than your doubt. Most young adults in their twenties are bombarded with philosophies, world views, and ideas that may differ from how they were raised. Use these years as an opportunity to search out the truth and not to be overcome by skepticism or doubt.

4. Choose your community carefully. Your close friends are instrumental in shaping your life. With whom do you spend the most time? How are they helping or hindering your relationship with Jesus? And are you being the kind of friend to others that you want for yourself?

5. Feed yourself. It’s easy to forget how intertwined our physical, emotional, and spiritual health is. Our body, soul, and mind all need daily nourishment to function, so give some thought to what you’re feeding yourself—literally and figuratively.

6. Foster good habits. There are numerous decisions we mindlessly make every day. Did you instinctively brew a pot of coffee this morning? Did you put on your coat before combating the frosty air? Take some time to consider your routine and determine what should stay and what you should ditch.

7. Learn to rest. Do you wear busy like a badge? Remember, busy is not better, and your worth is not measured by the length of your to-do list.

8. Be patient. We live in a world of fast food and express lanes, with short fumes when our needs are not met on-demand. But that’s not how God works. Patience, as they say, is still a virtue.

9. Don’t worry. Corrie ten Boom said it well: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” Feeling zapped? Maybe it’s time to hand over those fears to God.

10. Adjust your expectations. Unmet expectations are one of life’s major disappointments, but the answer is neither to be the ever-optimistic Pollyanna nor the gloomy Eeyore. Rather than having extreme expectations one way or the other, learn to accept with contentment whatever comes your way.

11. Take risks. Not in a foolish, rash sort of way, simply for the sake of a thrill. Be willing to take risks for God by faith. Live fearlessly and wisely and without regrets. Remember, God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

12. Evaluate your emotions. Whether you’re a thinker or a feeler, we all have emotions, and all too often we let them get the better of us. Emotions themselves are not bad, it’s what we do with them that’s key. Controlling them begins first by acknowledging them, then evaluating them against the truth, and then surrendering them to God.

13. Press into pain. Telling someone to hold fast to the very thing they want to run from sounds idiotic and unfeeling. But pain does serve a purpose, and believe it or not, it’s for your good. You can trust God with it.

14. Take sin seriously. It’s true that there is no sin so great that God’s grace won’t cover, but it’s also true that there are serious consequences for our sins and it would be foolish of us to brush them off as insignificant.

15. Embrace grace. This is one of my all-time favorite sayings because of the picture of security and peace it creates. Grace is something we gratefully receive from God, letting it completely saturate and satisfy our soul. Grace is also something for us to gladly extend to others, as a sort of hug through which we offer the gift of love, forgiveness, or comfort.

16. Seek healing. Abuse. Deep loss. Sometimes life hits us hard, leaving us with scars and festering wounds. There’s no shame in seeking counsel to help process traumatic events or deep-set pain. God uses people as well as His Word as part of the healing process, so find a godly friend or mentor and run to Jesus together.

17. Live loved. First thing each morning, before you pull back the covers and set your feet on the ground, let this promise run through your mind: “The Creator of the Universe loves you passionately, completely, unconditionally, and eternally. Nothing matters more than this.”

18. Cultivate an eternal perspective. An eighteenth-century American preacher Jonathan Edwards, once prayed, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!” Keeping our thoughts heavenward chokes out fears and cultivates hope. Focus on the things that matter for Christ, and let everything else go.

19. Make God’s glory your goal. I hate to break it to you, but this world does not revolve around you. Painful, I know. But ironically, the very thing we think destroys our chances of happiness is in fact the only way to true happiness.

20. Finally, prepare to be amazed. Do you know how big your God is? He cannot be measured, counseled, or fully understood. Our God created the world by the word of His mouth. Parted the Red Sea with the blowing of the wind. Fed five thousand men from five loaves of bread. Raised a dead girl to life. Gave a blind man sight. He
conquered sin and death in the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ! Oh, and you know what else? Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! So prepare to be amazed!

By Leanna Shepard

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