7 Things I Learned at my Early Twenties

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for heaven knows how long. And it’s not because I am an expert, because eek a big no.

Yet, God taught me so much and I don’t want to keep these lessons for myself. I had days and even nights when I just wish someone is nice enough to tell me, “Hey, you’ll be okay. You’re doing good.”

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1. Following Your Heart is a Bad Idea
I have been in this trap for quite some time and trust me, I regret it. I thought of it as the most loving advice someone could ever tell me. How can someone not be fooled if culture would throw him the question: “What is your heart telling you to do?”

I have an analogy. Think of the “heart” as a real person. Who is he? Let me describe him to you using the most reliable book in the world.

“Heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand Him?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“Out from Heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-23)

If a person was described with the above characteristics, would you be signing up to follow Him? Of course not! No sane person would.

I learned over time that I can’t make life-altering decisions about topics like career path, which graduate school to attend, relationships, when to speak up or when to stay silent, based upon what my heart tells me to do. I know when the person is about to fail when the only thing he could brag me about is, “Because my heart said so!”

Others would say, “Don’t follow your heart, lead it.” I disgaree with this one too. You can’t even lead your life, what makes you think you can lead the most emotional part of you, your heart?

I say, Don’t follow your heart; follow Jesus.

Follow the Great Heart Surgeon. The battle is always remembering the truth. When my heart tries to bow up to Jesus, desperately wanting to be the boss and leader again, I know that He is stronger than my heart. Thank God for this great encouragement in the daily war: “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:20).

2. Quitting is not always the best option
When I was in my baby years of being at my twenties, I have the hobby of quitting every time. It just feels so good!

Boss you don’t like? Quit that job! Projects not interesting? Quit that job! Relationships that stress you out? Run! Quit the relationship!

It’s a lot of fun, but it doesn’t really solve anything. Quitting jobs the minute they get challenging or boring doesn’t lead anywhere. Every job has boring parts.

It’s true. As much as I love teaching, I can’t say it is perfect. There is no job which will pay you to talk to people with whatever topic you want, can even travel together at any expense, at any time, and would feed you the delightful watermelon 24/7. (That’s not your dream job? Fine, we’re different.)

Learn this: Make decisions.

Don’t listen to feelings. Make choices. Today, choose a good attitude. This is the one thing you can do right this minute to actually shock your boss, improve your work relationships and dramatically increase your long-term odds of an awesome career.

Now, let’s get back to those expectations. Having them is not bad at all. It is healthy. Yet, find the right home for each of them. You may have some expectations that belong at your job. You may also have a lot of expectations that belong somewhere else, like a side job or a hobby. Starting this blog and putting up a business helped me enjoy my corporate job more because I no longer expected that job to be my sole outlet of creativity.

3. Money is important
A lot of my friends would tell me that money is evil. At some point I would agree, but only if you misuse it. I learned that money is one of God’s ways for me to enjoy life more.

I recently learned that money can buy time. If you pay a laundry service to do your laundry, you’ve just bought two hours of time to spend with your family or friends.

If you pay for a bookkeeper, you’re buying time so you can focus on things beyond financial statements.

My point is, money is important but time will always be greater than it. Use it wisely and spend it doing things that will help you get closer to God and the life of your dreams — or at least doing things you enjoy.

4. For your own sake, Learn to say No
This is a tough one. My natural temptation is to say yes to every invitation. Thankfully, God sent a friend who made me realize that I need to guard my schedule. We need to say no to some things so we can say yes to others: time with God, time with family, time with friends, reading and learning and getting real rest each night.

Think about this: Someone can’t hate you that long for your No, but you will definitely hurt someone for your unfullfilled Yes.

5. Invest in a Small Circle of Friends
Not everyone can be your friend. I learned this the hard way but I thank God that I get to learn this now than later. It will save you a lot of heart aches if you would learn to identify which amongs your relationships you want to last for a lifetime.

Rather than regularly attending tons of parties and engaging in small talk with lots of people, I have made a concrete list of relationships that I want to invest in, and have focused my time and attention on them.

Conversation goes deeper. Encouragement and laughter run freely. Each hangout ends with a time of prayer. Rather than creating fast friendships for convenience, I am building strong relationships for a lifetime.

6. Going Out of Your Comfort Zone will Not Kill You
A month ago, I surrendered something that used to mean the world to me, my job. Contrary to what supposed to happen, it didn’t kill me. In fact, it freed me for so many things. It made me love my calling more. It made me see a greater picture, that I am a part of a bigger picture.

I needed to let go of my job because God is calling me to deeper waters. I still don’t know how to walk on waters but I would say that living by faith each day has never been this real. Being out of my comfort zone taught me that there’s something about life that I can’t afford not to see. Being out of my comfort zone taught me that God has so much more for me than being in my little safe bubble. And I can’t miss that. I don’t want to miss that. I need to be part of the great adventure God has for me.

7.  T R A V E L
I think it is a must of the twentysomething story. But travelling should be more than having a story.

I travel for once to gain more wisdom. I am firm believer of learning through experience. When I travel, I want to experience everything. I ask about everything. I talk to new people. I take pictures of every corner (maybe?). Point is, travel to learn not just for your instagram feed.

And the most important thing? Don’t travel just to get away from something. Traveling is a joy, but it is never a solution. It’s time to return to the idea that life can be fantastic anywhere, on the road or off it.

One thought on “7 Things I Learned at my Early Twenties

  1. You are indeed a unique person, thank you for sharing your words of wisdom! Hope that God will continually use you for His Glory. 🙂 shalom…. stay happy

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