Most everyone has heard the saying – if I knew then what I know now – a line usually followed by a barrage of what-might-have-been regrets filling our minds.
I wondered the other day what advice 60 year-old me would have given 20 year-old me as I stood on the doorstep of adulthood decisions – choices that would shape and impact my life’s journey.
I pondered my successes and triumphs, and was pleased with those accomplishments. I also mulled over my mistakes and failures, as well as missed opportunities. Sadly, when stacked side by side, my successes didn’t measure up to the missteps I’d made along the way – decisions and compromise that took me down unnecessary paths of hardship and regret.
After weighing the if onlys and what might have beens, I decided the advice I would have given younger me was – you get one chance to get it right the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we can get through this life error-free, but I do think a purposed approach to decisions and crossroads can keep us on the path of steady ground rather than slogging through the trenches in knee-deep mud.
God has equipped us with tools to get it right the first time. We call them “nudges” or “impressions” or “conscience”. There are moments on our journey when conscience will tap us on the shoulder and plead it’s case – nagging us in the quiet moments or causing our heart to pound wildly when it knows we are about to abandon its truth. Innately human beings know good decisions from bad, and understand right from wrong, and God never misses an opportunity to emphasize the “right” ones on our behalf.
Because He desires that we live the best life possible, God continually nudges us in an effort to reveal the direction that will bring the greatest benefit to our journey. But nudges and impressions and conscience must be recognized, then received, then responded to in order to experience their effectiveness.
Taking some time to imagine where I could have been emotionally, relationally, professionally, and spiritually if I had responded to the nudges right away throughout my early life, has challenged me to waste no more time on getting it right the first time in this stage of life. With God’s help – His grace and favor active in my heart and mind – I will do just that.
Several years ago Christian band Mercy Me released the song, “Dear Younger Me”. Take a moment to listen, and ask yourself, what advice would you give younger you. Then ask, is the current you willing to listen, and ready to respond to God’s helpful and valuable nudges.