The following is an excerpt from Frank Viola’s monthly UNFILTERED updates. You can subscribe to get these updates by going to frankviola.org/updates
5 things I wish older Christians told me: Viola’s Unfiltered update
I could write a book on the topic because there are far more than 5. But this is an email update, not a book.
I wish an older Christian told me the following when I was in my 20s. It would have saved me a lot of aggravation, frustration, discouragement, [fill in the blank].
Hold on to your chair. These are blunt, even unsettling, observations.
1. You’ll turn your head and you’ll be 40 years old. So live in the present and savor every moment. You cannot rewind the clock of your life.
When I was in my late 20s, an older friend in his 60s said to me, “Frank, you’re going to turn your head and you’ll be 50.”
As I write this update, I’m 50 (still younger than Johnny Depp, mind you. And I’ll always be younger than Johnny Depp!). But my friend was right. I turned my head and I was 50.
What I wish he would have added was …
“Strive to always live in the present. Savor each moment of your life, like a glass of fine wine. Don’t mainline or inhale it. Because your life will slip by before you know it.”
Have you ever seen the movie, Click? Life is a slightly slowed down version of that film.
At 50, I can say that with sad confidence.
So the moral of the story is: Don’t let the frantic pace of your youth suck you into life’s breakneck vortex. Throw your hands on the gears, slow them down a bit, and take stock.
Redeem the time for the days are evil.
2. Life won’t get easier. So learn to accept trials, disappointments, suffering, and incalculable loss.
On some levels, life will become easier. Thank God, junior high is over. Can I get a tiny amen on that?
(Alas, the memories of middle school. In my eyes, a pencil sharpener was a knuckle destroyer and on some days I treated P.E. as though it were the Olympics! I do miss Dodgeball though. But I digress.)
Speaking of junior high, when I hit my mid-30s, I was stunned to discover how many adults act like they’re still in middle school.
Searing jealousy, two-faced back-stabbing, unabashed gossip, scorched-earth drama, perceived slights that never took place, schoolyard belittling, sophomoric one-upmanship, imbibing slander and spreading it, etc. all run at high tide among adults … even “Christians” adults.
Yes, these tactics are carnal, immature, absurd and appalling. No, not every adult deploys them. But I’ve seen so much juvenile behavior and sharp elbowing among grown men and women that it’s unnerving.
I used to be an angel, but the backbiters chewed my wings off.
The fact is, as each year passes, you’ll weather one crisis only to meet another.
Life will never become void of pain, discouragement, disappointment, and periods of suffering.
Well, you do get some breaks between explosions. Then the napalm bombs start dropping again.
But remember. These are the tools of your Lord to transform you. So don’t waste your sufferings. Lean into them to see Christ in a fresh way through each difficulty.
As I’ve defined it elsewhere, a crisis is an unwelcomed opportunity to discover a new aspect of Jesus Christ.
And what you see depends on where you stand.
So seek to stand in Christ and view things from His perspective. And learn the secret of living “care-free.”
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.