I don’t know about you, but even here, in a semi-retirement environment, I still receive over 100 email communications a day. And even more if you count social media. And a fair number of those communications are “junk” or spam messages, which for the most part, I ignore and delete.
The messages which irk me the most – please forgive my comments if you have sent me some of these – are those messages which most always says something like, “You are my very special friend, so email me back to tell me you got this (or else I’ll write you off my ‘very special friend’ list!)”.
I tend never to respond to those requests, even though I may consider the sender of those requests to be a good friend.
But the other day, I received a message that meant something to me, a message I actually decided to keep. It was titled simply, “Lessons I’ve Learned.” It is well-worth passing on:
This author stated: “I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them. I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back. I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. I’ve learned that it’s not WHAT you have in your life but WHO you have in your life that counts. I’ve learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something. I’ve learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
“I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you can’t. I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. I’ve learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you. I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. I’ve learned that money is a lousy way of keeping score. I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
“I’ve learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that. I’ve learned that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.
“Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself. I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. I’ve learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
“I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you. I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help. I’ve learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being. I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.
“I’ve learned that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.”
Since first reading that selection, it has become a very important part of my devotional preparation for each day, and, in essence, a prayer that I can ask God to help me to live out each day.
What’s more, as I continue to seek out his direction and fulfillment for each and every step I take, those truths seemed to be echoed, although even more simply, by the Apostle Paul when he said:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1)
That challenge to live a life worthy of the calling we have received is, in effect, lived out by living according to the “Lessons I’ve Learned”, and is only attained by walking each and every day with the Lord, through prayer and Bible study, staying in his Word and communicating with him through prayer, and listening for his voice in even the slightest way. God wants his children to stay close.
What lessons have you learned from your walk with God?
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.