We have all made mistakes. Hopefully we learn from them. Here are what I currently believe to be my biggest mistakes and what others might learn from them.
Mistake #1. Getting married young
I love my wife but getting married as young as we did was a huge mistake. We have struggled so much more than we’d have had to if we had simply waited a few years. The vast majority of marriages between very young people do not last. And no, we are not “lucky.” We have worked our butts off to get where we are. Getting married young seems romantic and wild and free at the time, but you’ll have the rest of your life to regret it, and you likely will, even if you — like me — would still marry the same person all over again if you could go back and do it again. Lesson: Wait until you are an adult before making an adult decision.
Mistake #2. Not building more relationships when I was young
I have gotten to know so many of my classmates on Facebook and have realized how many really awesome people I went to school with every single day for years and just never bothered to get to know. I was, and still am, very shy when it comes to initiating new relationships and I can’t blame myself for struggling mightily with this in high school, but it cost me dearly. Lesson: Do whatever you have to do to endure 20 seconds of embarrassment and put yourself out there to meet people a little bit. People are the best part of life.
Mistake #3. Carrying a huge chip on my shoulder for so long
I have always had a rebel streak in me. I still do, but it took years for me to learn how to be who I am without looking down on others for not being the same way. Lesson: Listen more. Assume you’re probably wrong a lot. Grant more grace. Let others be who they are.
Mistake #4. Not getting help sooner for my anxiety and depression
This one is huge. I spent so many years so miserable and lost, and the whole time there was so much peace available to me just by finding the right treatment. Lesson: If you are anxious and/or depressed and/or irritable more days than not, that’s not normal. Get help.
Mistake #5. Not fighting back
Like many kids I was bullied a lot for a period of time. It was bad enough that it created emotional scars that have taken years to heal. Had I ever even, just once, hauled off and kicked the crap out of a couple of kids I could have respected myself a lot more, whether they stopped picking on me or not. Lesson: If you don’t fight for yourself, no one will fight for you. You will love and respect the things you are willing to fight for.
Mistake #6. Being so mean to my brother
He’s my best friend now. We were just kids, but I wish I could have been there for him then like I am now. Lesson: Open your eyes and try to see the value of what is around you. You may be missing out on valuable opportunities.
Mistake #7. Spending so much time in prayer and Bible study
I know this sounds strange, but I did not have a healthy understanding of God, and in some ways the more time I spent the less I was probably understanding. This relates to #6, but I have only recently learned how much God is all around me if I will look up from my Bible for ten seconds. Lesson: If you seek God you must learn to identify him in your life and in the world. He will then come alive in the pages of the Bible, not the other way around.