A Note from Chris Adams: Today’s article is by a young leader named Lauren Sparks, Women’s Ministry Associate at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN. She talks to us through her young eyes, but takes time to look to her future so that she can walk appropriately now. I love the perspective, and I love hearing her ask to those of us who are older, “What would you tell your 20-something self?” This opposite glance is a great way to prepare now for how we will lead into the future.
We’ve heard songs about it and stories journeying through it. “What I Would Tell My Younger Me.” We’re quick to look back and think, “Wow, I wish I would have done this or that better.” In fact, that is my favorite question to ask experienced leaders, “What would you tell your 24-year-old self?”
What if we think forward? I am a dreamer. I love to think about the future and wonder what it will look like. As a young leader, I have surrounded myself with driven women who are experienced and happen to be getting closer and looking toward retirement. After thinking about the time that they have spent working with such excellence in their field I asked myself, “What would I want my retired self to know?”
As I think about my future self sitting in that short chair, with the sand in my toes and the salt water in my hair, I want to know confidently then:
- Who I am in Jesus and that I didn’t define myself by my work
- I feel at peace with the account that I will give with the work that I have done
- I was progressive in raising up a generation for Christ
- I respected all that I came in contact with and was quick to love
- I learned, read, and was taught as much as my brain could hold about my field
- I was committed and loyal
- I didn’t neglect my family and friends for success
- I paced myself
- I took care of myself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally
Knowing what I want to know then postures me for the now. It helps me manage my time and stay focused on my mission to be able to thrive now and have no regrets later.
Even though retirement won’t be all sitting on the beach because our mission as believers does not retire, I still want to be confident that I worked with excellence with the God-given time and resources I was endowed.
Jot It Out:
1. What do you want to be confident in as you sit in your “beach chair”?
2. Who can help you see what needs to be adjusted in your now?
3. What steps can you take now that will make your retired self say, “thank you”?
Lauren is the Women’s Ministry Associate at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Organizational Communication. As a single adult passionate about the local church, Lauren serves women of her church through developing small groups and creating connections for women through gatherings that last longer than just one event. Her passion and desire is to teach women how to fall madly in love with Jesus.