Growing up, I used to open my eyes in wild amazement whenever I heard somebody was 50 or 60 years old. I thought they were Methuselah. I am sure there are some young ones who still think that way, especially with the society bestowing the status of Senior Citizens on 60-year-olds and above. But I as I turn 60 today, I cannot honestly tell the difference between today and when I was 40. Yes, I have greyed some and my children are now full-grown adults, but physically I feel as young and strong as a 40-year-old. As I look forward to more decades on this side of eternity, I thought to share SIX of the lessons I learned along the way.
- A life of holiness is possible. Aside from the sad, unattractive look, and judgmental attitude of Christians in my growing up years, one of the main reasons I initially shied away from religion was because I sincerely thought holiness was impossible. And my situation was not helped by some habitual cheaters I knew. I thought it was more honourable to stay single and play the field. At least, nobody would accuse me of cheating. But I was sincerely wrong. Since I gave my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 27, He enables me by the power of the Holy Spirit in me to stay pure and holy. Of course, there have been temptations along the way but He has kept and sustained me and, truly, I am enjoying a life of holiness.
- You are responsible for your growth, spiritual or professional. Growth does not just happen. You must be intentional about it. As a Christian, aside from belonging to a church that is registered in heaven, you must invest in yourself. Be a Bible student. Get different versions of the Bible. Devour them. Do not just buy books; read them. Control the atmosphere in your home and car with worship and teaching CDs. Attend Bible seminars, not just miracle or anointing services. The same principles apply to any professional field you find yourself.
- Nothing lasts forever, not even friends. As you age, be prepared to lose some friends along the way. Some through envy, some through jealousy, some through betrayal, some through disloyalty, and some through incompatibility. People change. And circumstances too. Also, be realistic about friendships struck in the workplace to avoid the pain of disappointment. Often, office friends are loyal to their need of you, and not to you. Once you are no longer needed, they drop you like used kleenex. Consider yourself blessed and highly favoured if you have THREE TRUE FRIENDS in a lifetime. Most people do not have more than one, and some none.
- Avoid peer comparison/competition. It has led many people to their early graves. Do not measure yourself by how far you are doing in comparison to your friends and peers. God’s calendar for everyone, even twins, is different. Celebrate other people’s successes and thank God for where you are on the way to where you are going. This ‘my mates are leaving me behind’ syndrome – some call it comparisonitis – is the reason many have compromised their values, joined the wrong associations, and hurt themselves in the process.
- Take risks. Fortune still favours the brave. Recently, a young lady saw a newspaper vacancy ad for a nurse in a hospital in Benin and applied. The hospital responded and she travelled all the way from Kogi state to Benin for the interview. The MD promptly employed her without interviewing her upon knowing she came all the way from Lokoja and had no family, relation, or friend in Benin. He was that impressed with her courage and determination. I had a similar experience when as a 17-year-old I travelled to Federal School of Arts and Science, Ogoja, in search of admission.
- Enjoy life. The Bible says God “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” But some people act as if enjoyment is a waste of money. They move from one project to the other and have no time to pause and pamper themselves. Years ago, I suggested to a friend to take his family on holiday abroad. He quickly backed out after we arrived at a budget of N5.5m. “That will buy me another plot of land,” he fired at me. Friends, you only live once. Spoiling yourself is not an expense, it is an investment in your health, education, and family. Vacation or weekend getaway does not have to be expensive for it to be pleasurable. If you cannot go overseas, you can go somewhere in your city or outside your city. Spoil yourself a little. It pays dividends.
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