So today, I turn 21 years old. So weird to think about, to be honest with you. It’s not that I didn’t think I’d get here or anything like that, it’s just crazy to think I’ve been around for this long. It’s only by the grace of God that I made it, that’s for sure.
Here are 12 things I’ve learned by living on this crazy earth 21 years.
12. Sometimes you’ve just got to blast some Family Force 5 or Black Knight and stop trying to be civilized.
Whether it’s hitting the cray button, crankin’ it like a chainsaw or living like a kountry gentleman, sometimes I’ve just got to have me some FF5. Or maybe you should swerv, put some headphones on and vibe or maybe put your Bibles in the air. And whether I’m in my car or my room or the library or wherever I am, it’s OK to get a little crazy. You should try it sometime.
11. The Barclays Premier League is the best soccer in all the world. Specifically Arsenal.
My soccer skills are limited, so I may not know much, but watching the Premier League is easily the best soccer in the world. Go Gunners!
10. Christian rap is easily the best genre of music out there.
There’s no contest here. With the best guys, the lyrics are solid, the production is top-notch and the message of the Gospel is clear. Here’s a list of guys you should check out: Beautiful Eulogy, Trip Lee, Lecrae, Propaganda, Dre Murray, Christon Gray, Andy Mineo, Derek Minor, K-Drama, Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle and Social Club. Hit ’em all up for some sweet music.
9. Being a sports journalist is the most fun I’ve had in college.
I worked for the student newspaper at Elon for two years and got to cover men’s basketball and football for both of those years. I’ve also done freelance work for the local newspaper in Burlington, The Times-News, and my hometown paper, The Sanford Herald. I’ve never had more fun in college than sitting on press row or in the press box, tweeting away about the game and joking with the reporters around me. I’ve gotten to visit some incredible sites: Kidd Brewer Stadium (Appalachian State football), Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke basketball), the Dean Dome (UNC basketball), the Wyndham Championship (PGA Tour) and Reynolds Coliseum (NC State basketball). But my favorite, by far, is Alumni Gym, to see Elon men’s basketball do their thing.
8. Be spontaneous every once in a while. It might be fun.
I’m a guy who likes to be structured, have things planned, all that. But there have been a couple times in college I’ve done things I planned very little for. Sometimes I did something that I had no plans for. Those are memories I’ll remember because I stopped planning so much and just enjoyed myself. Do that.
7. Don’t spend too much time on social media/your phone. Look at people.
As I write this, I have Facebook and Twitter open. I’ve learned that social media is nice, but there’s nothing like having a face-to-face conversation with somebody in your life. You never know, it might be just what they need for you to put down your phone and look them in the eye when they talk to you.
6. If you go on a mission trip, expect your life to get rocked. But maybe not how you expected.
I’ve been on a few mission trips in my life, none more recent and none more awesome than my seven weeks I spent in South Africa this past summer. It was a life-changing trip, but it wasn’t what I expected. I learned a lot about myself and my relationship with God, a lot about truth in Scripture, a lot about community and a lot about the importance of the Gospel, no matter where you are in the world.
5. Don’t hate your blood brother/sister. It won’t get you anywhere.
I’ve had fights with my brother and sister. Some of them not too pretty. But today, I have greater relationships with both than I’ve ever had, and I can tell you that’s the greatest thing. My brother Addison is a fantastic young man who is seeking to grow in his relationship with the Lord and I love to see it. My sister Karis is growing into a fine young lady who is beautiful and also wants to know God and trust Him with everything. I love seeing that. And I love them.
4. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17
I’d love to call out all my friends in my life by name, but I’m really afraid I’d forget somebody. You know who you are. Whether it’s making a sweet YouTube web video series, contemplating how to fight sin or trying to throw a discus as far as we can on a dirt baseball field behind a community college, I’ve shared many great times with the friends I’ve had, and many difficult times as well. I love every single one of you I call my friend, and my life would not be as blessed as it’s been had God not put you into it.
3. It’s good to take time to just be alone and meditate on life.
I’m classified as an introvert, so being around large groups for a long time always stress me out. So there are times when I’ll just be by myself and I’ll think about life, think about where God has brought me, think about what I’m going through, think about the future. It’s easy to start overdoing it and start worrying, but finding that time to be alone and meditate is worth it. That’s what a lot of the Psalms are, and they’re pretty solid.
2. Don’t ever compromise on the Gospel.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 spills it all out for us, the truth of life, how we are supposed to approach every situation: knowing that our truth is found in Jesus. Don’t EVER leave that or water it down. It’s sin-forgiving, life-altering truth. Don’t compromise.
1b. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
God has the best in mind for those whom He loves. It might not be what we want or desire, but it’s for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. There’s no need to worry about the unknown if you’re in Christ; God’s got it.
1a. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11.
People seek joy/satisfaction/contentment/life/pleasure in so many things, but only in God can we find eternal fulfillment of these things. Any others that claim to offer eternal joy/satisfaction/contentment/life/pleasure are liars; I can attest to that every day, just ask me. Only in Christ can we be forgiven of sin, raised to new life in Him and find the satisfaction we’re all looking for. The truth is in God’s Word. Read it, believe it, love Jesus.
OK, so maybe that was 13 things. I could do a lot more, but this is already a long post, so I’m gonna cut it short. Thanks so much to all of you that have had a major part in my life, a major impact in how I’ve loved Jesus, loved people and sought to grow as a man. It’s been a crazy 21 years. I hope the Lord uses the next 21 for His glory.