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Thanks to everyone who read my article “Things I would say to my younger self” (or listened to the podcast, “4-minute Devotions – the Podcast”)

Many of you have written back to say what you would say to that younger version of you, if you had the chance. There were so many good responses. Here are some of the ones that stood out for me.

First, a few made me laugh: “Just dance” quipped Gennie from Angeles City, Philippines while Brian from Northampton, UK expressed what might have been a recent regret, plaintively writing, “Don’t dispose of or delete any notes/assignments, essays, sermons notes, or any similar material when you retire or move house.” I’ve been there, brother, message received!

Yvette must have been emerging from a full-on morning of school run chaos when she typed, “Four kids is too many kids!!” (she wrote to me later to tell me how much she loves each one of them).

There were some who felt they would not send any message to their younger self, reminding us that it is often in the most difficult times when we don’t know what to do, that we learn to seek God’s wisdom and trust in His sovereignty. Receiving a message from the future with detailed instructions of how to survive the crisis would deny us the opportunity to experience the Lords leading and faithfulness.

An excellent point of course, but, for the rest of us who didn’t think of that:

“It’s never too late to repent, and it’s never too late to admit that our ideas and plans and schemes get ahead of God’s will in our lives sometimes. Stop – Pray – Be still – go to the Word of God and wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Read the Word and then Do It!”, said Dave from Springfield, Tennessee

Steve (from Camp Verde in Arizona) had a list:

·       Don’t be so lazy. You have potential use it.

·       Be more disciplined.

·       Listen to God’s call when He calls you the first time.

·       Your parents have been where you are, listen to them. Like God, they want what’s best for you.

Vernon from Ansbach, Germany (Deutschland) had a longer list:

o   Life is very brief, regardless of how long you live.

o   Every moment of life is a precious gift.  Don’t squander the gift of life.

o   Older people might look different, but they think and feel much the same way as you do.

o   Find a spiritual discipline that is meaningful and relevant to you.  Practice it daily.

o   Seek opportunities to spend time with the dying and terminally ill.  They have much to teach you.

o   When you make a mistake or hurt another person, apologise, and say, “I’m sorry.”

o   Avoid intoxicants.  They numb your spiritual awareness.

o   Remember that everyone you meet is carrying one or more heavy burdens.

o   Anger is usually caused by fear.

o   Tell the people you love that you love them.

Clive from Newry, Northern Ireland would tell his younger self to “read more, think more, love more, believe more, question everyone and everything more. But most of all, play more!”  And David from St Austell in the UK would want the one who trod the paths before him to “take more calculated risks”.

Thanks to all who contributed, Sorry I couldn’t include everybody’s.

But let me finish by stating the obvious: we cannot change the past. We can, however, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise” (Prov 19: 20)