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Monday, August 10, 2015

"Twenty Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves" (Kelli and Peter Worrall)

TITLE: 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves
AUTHOR: Kelli and Peter Worrall
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015, (256 pages).

It used to be children following after their parents' footsteps. Not anymore. With wide options and plenty of choices, teenagers have a lot more opportunities to pursue other interests, careers, and lifestyle choices in our modern world. This "quarterlife crisis" can also cause the twentysomethings to feel various kinds of pressure and stress arising from career options and nagging questions of what to do with one's life. The central question in this book written by two Moody Bible school professors is: How do we make wise choices? Not making a choice is already a choice. Reflecting on their own growing up years, the authors realized from hindsight that in many of their life choices, they had left God out of the picture. When asked about what is the most important lesson they had learned, instead of coming up with one, they provided us with 20! Before that, the authors opened up their lives for readers. After a fascinating romance and marriage, their lives suffered many setbacks. Three years into their marriage, Peter's dad was diagnosed with cancer at 56 years old. Kelli's parents suffered from cerebral palsy which required lots of care. Kelli herself also suffered from two miscarriages. Their adoption process also did not go well. Wait time grew from two years to six. They lost $3000 to someone who ran away with the money. The blows kept coming. Both Kelli and Peter endured long periods of the dark valley which taught them many precious lessons. In twenty brief chapters, they list down the key lesson followed by an explanation why.

  1. Have a Solid Foundation: Is our worldview Christ-centered or not? The authors contrast the Christian worldview with eight worldview questions.
  2. Remain Teachable: The first step to get help and to be mentored is to admit that we need help.
  3. Dig Deeper than your Doubt: Let doubts enable us to grow in faith instead of being stumped.
  4. Choose Your Community Carefully: Friends are important. With increased options like social media and technology, we have to learn to choose our communities with care, to know when to connect and when to disengage.
  5. Feed Yourself: A good and healthy diet is important, both physical and spiritual.
  6. Foster Good Habits: Habits die hard. Turn craving for things to longing for God; belief into faith; and community into neighbourly love.
  7. Learn to Rest: Practise the Sabbath.
  8. Be Patient: Wait on the Lord and learn to wait well, especially in a world of rush and get-go.
  9. Don't Worry: What can worry do? It empties today of its strength. 
  10. Adjust Your Expectations: We should not be defined but be refined by unmet expectations. 
  11. Take Risks: Faith is about taking risks with God. 
  12. Evaluate Your Emotions: We can acknowledge our emotions without being enslaved by them.
  13. Press into Pain: As we plumb the depths of pain and despair, we may find the whole process very integral to our journey of growth. 
  14. Take Sin Seriously: Sin can dismember us from our spiritual senses. The worst thing that we can do is to take it lightly. 
  15. Embracing Grace: Grace is more than a 5-letter word. It's letting Jesus live freely in us, that we may live freely for Him. 
  16. Seek Healing: We need not be disabled by hurt and trauma of the past. We can be healed and be better. 
  17. Live Loved: One of the most important things Christians need to remember is that they are dearly loved. Live our lives in such a way as to reflect that deep deep love of Jesus.
  18. Cultivate an Eternal Perspective: Don't let temporal concerns distract us from the future rewards. Our present world is bound by time and space. The future kingdom will not be.
  19. Make God's Glory Your Goal: We are all very capable to pursuing after our own goals or to achieve the objectives of our organizations we represent. Yet, they often remain temporal. They do not last for they will soon be replaced by another target. If our perspective is always God's glory, we live focused lives that will magnify God regardless of what we do or not do.
  20. Finally, Be Prepared to be Amazed: What we cannot see, God can. What we cannot do, God is able. What we cannot foresee, God wants us to trust. For God will always keep his promises.
These brief chapters are targeted at the twentysomethings and beyond, to enable them to be able to ask some of the most important questions of life. With more than forty years of experience, they authors are able to condense them into 20 tips, with questions and exercises to spur thinking and reflection. Written with very accessible language and clear progression of thought, readers can read the book one chapter a day, or to simply use it as a reference. Lest readers think it is enough to just go through the book and remember the points, life is much more than that. These 20 questions are what the authors feel are most important. Readers will do best to remember these as starting points rather than complete set of life rules. Not every point will be applicable at any one phase of our lives. Hopefully, at least some of them will cause us to pause and to reflect on where we are and we we ought to be going. Most importantly, it is remembering that the Lord is going to be with us no matter where we go. 

This book can be used as a graduation gift for High School students or anyone entering into their 20s.
"Your life up until your 20s is all about learning. Ten you enter your 20s, and it becomes so much about untangling all that you’ve learned. But be encouraged: unlearning is learning nonetheless—and it’s the most courageous learning you’ll do. —SARAH"

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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