30 for 30: 30 Years, 30 Thoughts

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In order to commemorate the three decade milestone, here are 30 lessons I’ve learned during the last 30 years:

  1. Always put God first, others second, and yourself third.
  2. Don’t take people (especially your parents) or things for granted. The older you get, the more you realize just how much you’ve been blessed.
  3. Excellence and perfection are two very different things—excellence is attainable, perfection is not.
  4. Listening is often more valuable than talking.
  5. Manage your money wisely: learn when to spend extra for quality, when to be thrifty, and, most importantly, when to be generous.
  6. Read meaningful books. The stories and knowledge found in them will profit you for a lifetime.
  7. Stick to your convictions, even if they aren’t popular. A clean conscience is more desirable than the crowd’s applause.
  8. Own your mistakes and failures. Learning from them will benefit you in the long run.
  9. Call your Mom. She loves it.
  10. Ground your identity in Christ alone—anything or anyone else is a fickle and superficial substitute.
  11. Learn to say “no”. Your time is valuable, so do your best to use it for things that matter.
  12. Never stop learning. You may have finished school, but that shouldn’t be the end of your education.
  13. There’s no such thing as too much Chick-fil-A.
  14. Make time for rest, recreation, reflection, and solitude.
  15. Have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, achieve, or experience in the next 5-10 years. This will give direction to the decisions you make today.
  16. Being a member of a healthy local church is a true joy.
  17. Bitterness can consume you if you let it; forgiveness is a much better option.
  18. If possible, go see the world. Exploring new places and experiencing different cultures will make your life richer.
  19. Your Dad is a fountain of wisdom—soak it up.
  20. There are seasons in the Christian life when it’s best to read through the entire Bible in a year and other seasons when it’s best to dive deeper into a section and dwell on the richness found within it.
  21. Asking a good question usually takes much more skill than making a good statement.
  22. Your integrity and reputation are the most important assets you have—make every effort to remain above reproach.
  23. Go outside: a little bit of fresh air and natural beauty goes a long way towards relaxing, clearing your mind, and stimulating new ideas.
  24. Having a brother who is also a stalwart friend is a true blessing.
  25. Inter-generational discipleship is a beautiful thing: hearing the triumphs and trials of others gives you a different perspective on your triumphs and trials.
  26. Look up from your phone and take in your surroundings. I guarantee people-watching is much more entertaining.
  27. Innovation is often messy—don’t let that stop you from taking the initiative to try something new.
  28. Spend time with kids. They don’t care about your profession, possessions, or popularity: what matters to them is that you show up and show that you care.
  29. Learn when to do something yourself and when to hire a professional.
  30. Puns are the most refined form of humor.

What are some lessons you’ve learned so far during your life’s journey?

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

Five Years Later

Five Years

Almost five years ago, it happened: I finally worked up the courage to start a blog. Back then, blogging was just hitting the mainstream with the rise of WordPress and Blogger (and to a lesser extent Tumblr and others). My first blog post, “Sometimes 140 Character Isn’t Enough,” set the foundation for the 147 posts (and counting) that have come since. Looking back at some of those first posts is pretty embarrassing, but it also shows how God has molded and shaped me over the past five years.

Back in 2010, I was beginning my final year at John Brown University, serving as the student ministry intern at Harvard Avenue Baptist Church, working part-time for the Arkansas World Trade Center, and making a lot of big plans for what I wanted to do when I graduated that May. Between that first post and this one, I have launched a business, led a college and career ministry, attended several incredible conferences, gone on adventures all over the country, experienced the joys and sorrows in different interpersonal relationships, and a host of other events that have all served as inspirations for the posts on this site.

If you would’ve asked me back in 2010 what life would be like in 2015, my predictions would be quite different from my reality. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing! Looking back, some of the things that were on my agenda would have deprived me of some incredible opportunities. If I would have traveled to Europe or moved out of Siloam immediately, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the rich fellowship with the believers at Harvard Avenue. If I wouldn’t have started AFS, I wouldn’t have gotten to learn about what it takes to bring an idea to fruition or meet some of the inspirational people in Arkansas and around the world that are passionate about improving the world through building innovative businesses.

The examples are endless, but the lesson is the same: God’s plans truly are higher than any plans I could have for myself. I’m not saying don’t set goals or pursue your “five-year plan”, but do so with the realization that God’s plans and yours may not line up… and that’s just fine. When you look back, you’ll see the grace in the way He has sovereignly directed your steps to increase your joy.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love it. Live It.

[image credit: Michael Ruiz on Flickr

College Reflections: Advice

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. The first two posts were about my experiences with School and Church. This final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

I’d like to wrap up my College Reflections series with some advice that I have learned over the past four years.

  1. Prioritize: One of the hardest things for college students (and people in general) to do is prioritize things. Freshmen show up at JBU and instantly are presented with a plethora of activities, clubs, and friends to connect with and get involved in. As a result, many fill their schedules with 25 hours of activities in a 24-hour day. In order to really get the most out of the four years in college, it is important for each person to get his or her priorities. Of course, school/homework should come first for all students (if you don’t do well in school, you won’t be at school, and won’t be able to do any of the other stuff). Behind that, each person needs to decide what is most important and what they feel like will be the most fulfilling. For me, the list of priorities was school, church, internship at Harvard Avenue Baptist, internship at the Arkansas World Trade Center, JBUltimate club frisbee team, and everything else. Setting priorities makes it much easier to say “no” to certain things, prevents becoming overcommitted, and makes college even more enjoyable.    Read more of this post

College Reflections: Church

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

Looking back over the past four years, probably one of the best decisions that I made while at John Brown University was to get involved in a local church. Not only have I made some great memories and met some incredible people, but I have matured a lot in my spiritual life as well. My college experience would have been much different had I not gotten plugged into the local church.

Read more of this post

College Reflections: School

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

I arrived at John Brown University four short years ago driving a white Jeep full of furniture, clothing, and other items to outfit suite 18C in the J. Alvin dorm. A lot has happened in the four years following that day. As I prepare to pack up my Dodge Avenger in a few weeks and drive off into the sunset, I decided it would be a good time to reflect on some of the things that have occurred during my time at JBU.

Read more of this post

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