Hopefully I have learned a few things in my life as a Christ-follower, a husband, and a father. I have also learned a few things through years of pastoral ministry with a few churches. (See part one here and part two here.)
If I could start over given what I know now:
1. I would know how important it is to take care of my body. For whatever reason, many church leaders will give the utmost attention to their own spiritual formation while completely ignoring their physical health. For years, I ran a few miles each morning. Now, I work out at a gym four days a week. I am not attempting to prescribe something here. Rather, I just want to emphasize the importance of being a good steward of my body.
2. I would know that it is helpful to monitor my emotions. In any given month, I will be with people as they are dying, talk with people who are suffering, and be with people who are encountering severe difficulties. How does this affect me? Do I create times to laugh, have fun, and enjoy life? This has been important for me.
3. I would know that people are not always what they seem. I have been guilty of "sizing up" people much too quickly only to learn later on just how wrong I was.
4. I would know that I desperately need time in Scripture and prayer each day. Writing in my journal a few days a week has been very helpful.
5. I would know that to receive a kind word, hug, e-mail, or note is an act of grace. I can’t tell you how valuable these moments have been in the middle of some very difficult days.