Thirty One Lessons I Learned From Being Alive For Thirty One Years

March 16, 2015
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I woke up this morning to hundreds of notifications from friends and family, wishing me a Happy Birthday. I have to admit that it is very encouraging to know that many people actually remember your birthday. Even if Facebook is the only reason someone remembers, it is still great. After downing my first single shot espresso macchiato of the morning, I knew that I had to write this post. I knew that if I don’t get these thoughts out of my mind, they will be gone forever. Time is a fleeting thing and shows no mercy. Time does not sympathize with my schedule nor is it a respecter of my to do list. Time just keeps going. It doesn’t stop for anyone. This is why Saint Paul emphatically tells us to make the best use of our time (Eph. 5:16). But the frustrating thing about time is that it is not elastic. I can’t stretch it. I can’t contain it. I can’t pause it or store it to use later. My only option left is to use it, before it is gone forever. So my inventory list of things I learned in the last thirty-one years is my feeble attempt of trying to press pause on time and reflecting on what I have learned and how much more I still have to learn.

  1. Jesus is in love with the current version of you, not the improved version of you. There is not a moment where God loves you less than He does right now. This overwhelming grace continues to press into me as I get older. I only hope and pray I can become more and more effective at overwhelming others with the same grace as I receive.
  2. Your spouse is the most important person in your life after Jesus. If you are a man, you have to learn to lead your wife in such a way where she is beyond thrilled about helping you do what you have been called to do. I’ve said before that theologically and methodologically compatible spouses will shake continents and move mountains. Do whatever you can to make your spouse a priority in your life. If you don’t, someone else or something else will.
  3. There is nothing more important than people. If you work with people in any capacity, you are in the people business. If you have to make inconvenient concessions in your life in order to serve people, it is totally worth it. Be the practical Jesus to people in your life. Bring the proverbial better wine to the party and clean up the mess afterwards. Just like Jesus.
  4. Time is not on your side. All of us have one life to live. God has given us gifts, talents and abilities. Some hone their craft while others squander it. Everyone gets to use the same amount of time but not everyone uses the time in the way in which it should be utilized.
  5. It is fine if people are not excited about your vision. Many times, God gives people visions and plans that far surpass the understanding of other people. Not everyone will be pumped and on board with what God is calling you to do. That should neither devastate nor discourage you. You do you and let others be who they are.
  6. Put in the work. Paul said that he worked harder than anyone else but it was God’s grace that worked in him and through him. I believe that then harder we work, the more opportunities we will receive. We need to put ourselves directly into the pathway of God’s favor and blessings. And that comes with hard work.
  7. Say no to good things so that you can say yes to great things. Not every opportunity that comes my way I have to agree with. Many things I have to say no to. About ten years ago I figured out exactly what God has called me to do and if an opportunity doesn’t fit into that sphere, then I decline it.
  8. When you sense the wave of the Holy Spirit in your life, ride that wave out as much and as long as possible. You don’t know when the next one will be coming along.
  9. If some people don’t get along with you or don’t want to work with you, then find those who do and those who don’t, will find others that are more compatible.
  10. Most people who are more successful or more accomplished than you don’t really know much more than you and are not more intelligent than you. They are simply more hard-working than you.
  11. Persistence is more important than intelligence.
  12. You can’t out-give God. The more generous you become, the shockingly more generous God will become. Be bold. Generosity is the new currency.
  13. You don’t own anything. Everything I have and you have is God’s.
  14. Keep a loose grip on your possessions. Have your possessions but don’t let your possessions have you.
  15. Surround yourself with positive people. Intentionally put yourself in environments where people bring out the best in you.
  16. Some people in your continue to suck the life out of you. It is better to move on from those relationships.
  17. The best thing a person can do in their life is to commit themselves to a local church. There is no greater return on investment than being all in within a local church.
  18. Don’t wait for change to happen and become the change you wanted to have happened.
  19. Be bold and dream big. Whatever you think in your mind right now that you would like to accomplish, exponentially increase that. We serve a big God and I see no reason why God won’t accomplish much more than we could ever imagine.
  20. Push through to the next level in all that you do. Whatever art or craft or skill that you have, continue pushing the envelope. Hustle hard and leave the results to God.
  21. Enjoy the process more than the result. Find pleasure in doing what God called you to do, in serving people, in being in the center of God’s will. Don’t worry about the results.
  22. Find that one thing that makes you feel most alive when you do it and figure out if that helps anyone else. If it does, spend the rest of your life doing that and getting better at doing that one thing.
  23. If someone doesn’t like your idea, find those that do and work with them. There is still people who don’t know Jesus and people who need help. Find your area of influence, pour your heart out into that area and excel at it.
  24. Just because you don’t feel God’s presence, it does not mean that He is not present.
  25. Be yourself and quit trying to copy other people. There is no other version of you out there so be the best version of who God created you to be.
  26. Money is a gift and not a God. Steward it wisely and hold it with a loose grip.
  27. Figure out what God has called you to do and spend as many hours as possible learning and molding and shaping your craft. Be utterly obsessed with what you do so that you can be a better servant to other people, using your gifts.
  28. Continue building relational equity with people. Even when it is painful, when it is not convenient and when you get nothing in return. You are in the people business. People matter to God and people matter to you.
  29. Don’t let success go to your head and don’t let failure go to your heart.
  30. Sometimes, your biggest setbacks pave way for your biggest breakthroughs. Take huge risks. You only live once. Go all in and pray like crazy that God would bless it.
  31. Inspire people, empower people and let people loose to do exactly what they love to do. This is the best way to work with teams and to inspire teams.
If any of the above inspired you in any way, would you please share your feedback and share this post with others? Thank you for reading this – I appreciate you! 

Bogdan Kipko

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Founder & Pastor of Forward Church In Irvine, CA & host of the Fuel For Life Podcast which is listened to in 50 states & 118 countries. Join the FFL nation!