Most of the time, when somebody gives me advice, it goes in one ear and out the other. For whatever reason, as soon as people hear that I’m “still” a student, they take it as their invitation to pour out their Pinterest wisdom. I usually tune out as soon as I hear the phrase “If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to…” Ick.
There seems to be so many soundbites of advice floating around about how to live life as a 20-something, or how to survive medical school, or how to pick a career path, or how to do anything, really. Most of it isn’t that useful:
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. How is that helpful?? I could shoot for the moon and my rockets could fail and I could tumble back to the earth and crash into the ocean in a fiery disaster that wastes billions of dollars.
But through all of this poetic advice, one piece of wisdom has stuck with me through the course of navigating my entrance into adulthood. I have yet to an encounter a circumstance where it is not beneficial, true, or uplifting. The single best piece of advice I have ever received is this:
In all things, remember that nothing is permanent.
My dad gave me this advice when I was trying to decide whether to transfer universities after an unhappy first year of my undergrad. “Nothing is permanent”. I could choose to switch schools, or to stay. Either way, I wasn’t stuck there forever.
You could choose to pursue a particular career, or graduate education. And if after a few years you realize it isn’t what was best for you, you can change jobs, explore a new field, or go back to school. You are never stuck – nothing is ever permanent.
“But what about tattoos? Or marriage? Or chronic disease? Untreatable injuries?” Don’t some decisions have permanent consequences?
This is my favourite part of this advice. Nothing is permanent! This life is not permanent. Our earthly suffering is not permanent. Not even death is permanent! Jesus is coming to restore us! However stuck we might feel, the bible reminds us that it is not forever:
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” -James 4:14
In Christian circles, we especially like to think of marriage as being permanent. And yes, it is a covenant that endures our time on earth. But even marriage isn’t permanent when we examine it with an eternal perspective. Marriage helps makes us holy in preparation for our eternal life in heaven. It is not the be-all and end-all of our lives.
So why is it the best advice I’ve ever been given? Because it brings so much freedom – and with that freedom, joy. There is no need to feel so much pressure to make every decision perfectly, the first time, every time! Yes, our choices have consequences. And yes, sometimes those consequences are permanent for our time on earth. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus and His promise of restoration and eternal life, it takes the pressure off. We are free to live!
Even the good things in life aren’t permanent. If we remember this, it can help us fix our eyes on eternal reward and on God’s purpose for our lives, instead of focusing on earthly success and reward:
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:13-14
I just wanted to encourage you in this season of questioning our directions in life, reevaluating our hopes and dreams, and making big decisions that there is so much freedom and joy in keeping an eternal perspective – pressing onwards towards our eternity in heaven with Jesus! Because at the end of the day and at the end of our lives, nothing on this earth is permanent.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:18
What about you – what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? How has it changed your life perspective? Let me know in the comments below!