9 Years Ago: Things I Would Do More (or Less)

On Monday I mentioned that The Office finale brought a surge of memories. On the other side of those flashbacks I find myself gleaning some lessons for the future. This is not an exhaustive list.

Things I would have done more of:

  • Give myself permission to fail. I would have ignored the voice in my head, and maybe around me, that suggested such and such an undertaking was out of my pay scale. Only in the past couple of years have I begun pulling the trigger on projects bigger than myself. Even when I've failed I'm glad I did them.
  • Be Honest About Who I Am. I've mentioned this before. The most vibrant relationships I have today are built on a sometimes brutal honesty soaked in mutual grace. They came from hard conversations and awkward moments. I never got close to someone by pretending to be someone else.
  • Encouraging others. I've made it a recent goal of mine to give people more reasons to smile and feel good about life. I have the gift of finding what people are doing wrong, I've just been trying to ignore it more recently. As I've undertaken my own difficult projects, there was plenty of hesitant "oh that's nice"  or even a shopping list of reasons I'm doing it wrong. But one or two exuberant voices made all the difference. I want to be that voice more often
  • Creating. Definitely more music and writing.

Things I Would Do Less Of:

  • Shoulding on Myself. Whether it be in my attempts to follow Jesus, or be a good husband, musician, or writer dwelling on what I'm not for more than a short moment never actually helped me do better at any of those things. Usually it only kept me from trying. Sure it's good to know where we are and where we'd like to be. But I'd definitely be easier on myself.
  • Shoulding on Others. Again, looking to the relationships that live and breath, when I stop trying to control what other people should do, what they owe me, I enjoy our friendship more, and I'm sure they do to.
  • Figuring Everything Out. I gave too much stress and  brainpower to answering all of life's question with mathematical precision. I enjoy inquiry, even some theological discourse, probably more than many, but I've learned to be ok with many of life's ambiguities. The ironic thing is, my embrace of a bit more unknowability has shifted my trust in Jesus to relationship rather than a theological framework. Actually, I think someone recorded an album about that.