Advice for My 20Something Self

5 things I wish I’d known

However, just because we’re made that way doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It can be hard to know who to build friendship with at work or how close to get with colleagues. Other women at church might share your faith but still not “get you.” Family can be wonderfully dependable but also hard and often complicated. Some Christians talk about living in community as though it’s always a joy, but it’s often distinctly uncomfortable.

Yet it should be uncomfortable! You are a wonderful, beautiful, amazing child of God, but you are also a sinner who messes up, and you’re trying to get in close with other messy sinners. It won’t be neat and tidy. Do it anyway. You’re going to need those friends and family, more than you can possibly know, as you navigate life and career (Romans 12:4–8).

Don’t Rush Yourself

I know there’s a lot you want to accomplish, but you don’t have to do everything right now. Take your time to get there. Remember that life is long and there’s a time and season for all things (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Protect your ability to serve God and his calling on your life by putting up healthy boundaries around your time and learning to say no.

You will need to get very comfortable with saying no if you want to accomplish great things (and keep your sanity intact). Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be great tools for sharing and learning, but they also put a high premium on events and experiences that can be documented with a cute picture and sassy catch phrase. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it can create unnatural pressure to always be doing something exciting and sharable.

Don’t get so caught up in collecting experiences that you can’t enjoy some time to breathe and reflect on them. Choose to create time and space to experience peace in your day, even if that means missing out on some exciting events, valuable opportunities, or even worthwhile service projects.

Help Others Along the Way

God has called you to work, and he gave you skills and the drive to succeed. He called you to your workplace and gifted you in those ways in order to do his work. You are a representative of Christ in the workplace.

Don’t worry—you don’t have to shout the gospel from your desk every morning. That would be a good way to get fired, and it probably wouldn’t bring anyone to Christ. In my experience, the best way to share faith at work is to let your faith be known in an authentic, nonaggressive way, and then live it out fully.

Do excellent work. Be honest and dependable. Take special care in how you treat other people, especially those who try your patience. Notice the needs of those around you, and try to help where you can. Learn to listen well in order to better understand and respond to people thoughtfully.

As you get older, you’ll look back at your career and have a number of accomplishments to be proud of, but what you’ll value most won’t be the accomplishments, titles, or raises. It’ll be the people you’ve worked with and mentored and served whom you’ll remember and treasure the most.


Diane Paddison


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