The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. ~ Author Unknown
As you headed off to college last week and started a new chapter in your life, the one entitled Adulthood, I began to wonder if your dad and I taught you everything you need to know. I came to the conclusion that the answer is a resounding “no”. While I pray we gave you the tools to build a quality life for yourself, I also know that the most important lessons you will learn in life will come through experience and not a lecture or value your parents attempted to pass on.
Still, there are a few things I want to reiterate as you start this new adventure. Things I want you to remember when days seem long and money seems short. Days when nothing seems to go your way and the expectations of others threaten to drag you down. Days when you are faced with seemingly inconsequential choices that, in reality, have serious, long reaching consequences. Remember these things and also remember your mama is never more than a phone call (or text) away.
- Guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23) College will bring opportunities to indulge every sense your body has. Just because something is available to you doesn’t mean it is good for you. Remember that your heart is the gate to your soul. Stay true to who you are and guard diligently against the influence of the world.
- God is bigger than any problem you face. (Lamentations 3: 21-23) Perspective is crucial in life. There will be times when a looming deadline or checking account balance will overwhelm. I pray that you are able to look to the One who loves you more than I and know with confidence that everything will be ok. Take your problems and concerns to Him and your problems will seem smaller and less significant in no time.
- You are responsible for your actions, regardless of your feelings. (Ephesians 4:26a) The Bible doesn’t tell us that feeling anger is a sin. It is a natural emotion. It is when that anger propels you to action, an action determined by your anger, that you are entering the sin arena. Being mad is not an excuse to say something hurtful, to use your fists to solve a problem or to negatively impact another person’s day. Men are responsible for controlling their actions.
- Words have power and you can’t take them back. (Proverbs 6:2) Avoid empty compliments, white lies and gossip. Remember that someone that gossips to you will most likely gossip about you behind your back. Remember the THINK acronym- are your words true? Are they helpful? Are they inspiring? Are they necessary? Are they kind? Weigh your words carefully and use them wisely.
- Stay connected to the power source. (Proverbs 3:6) God’s word promises to keep you on the right track. Start your day with Him. Remember the source of your blessings and your strength. Make time for church and Bible study. Pray and then pray some more.
- Choose your friends carefully. (Proverbs 18:24) Differentiate between friends and acquaintances. A few true friends are worth more in life than a bunch of acquaintances. True friends will call you out when you are wrong, support you in tough times and will not steer you deliberately in the wrong direction. Once you choose good friends, be a good friend in return.
- Date with the intention of marriage. (Hebrews 13:4) The casual dating relationships that the world exemplifies are dangerous to your heart, body and soul. Be choosy and when you find someone that catches your eye, make sure she catches your heart and mind as well. Do you have similar value systems? Do you have similar plans for the future? Does her heart belong to Jesus? The truth is you don’t have to kiss any frogs before finding your queen. God already has a wife selected for you. Ask Him to lead you to her. (I have a feeling you already found her, BTW)
- Honor your commitments. Whether it is a due date for a term paper, a project at work or a promise to a friend- be a man of your word. Be careful of what you put on your plate. If you overload yourself too much, you won’t be able to do anything well. Your attention will be split and you won’t be satisfied with the quality of your work (and your professors won’t be either). It is better to take less credit hours and complete all your assignments than to take too many and just squeak by.
There are many more things I want to tell you. Such as, drink plenty of water. Get enough rest. Watch your speed behind the wheel. Make your bed every morning. But, in closing, my sweet boy I want you to know that your dad and I couldn’t be prouder of you and your choices and we are here for you ANYTIME.
Never forget you are loved by Almighty God and a mama who misses you very much!