Reflecting back on his life as a student, teacher and church leader, Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, has come up with a list of five things he would most like to tell his 25-year-old self.
"During my 58 years, I've occupied several roles. I've been a student, teacher and church leader. I've been an intern, employee and boss. I'm a son, father and grandfather, as well as husband, neighbor and friend," Jakes wrote on his website.
"As I approach my sixth decade, I've been thinking a lot about missed opportunities, regret and the hard-scrabble lessons I've learned along the way," he added.
Among the five tips Jakes shares, he advises his younger self and others to cut toxic people out of their life.
"There are some people you do lunch with and others you do life with. That is to say, not everybody deserves your time," Jakes reflected.
"There are toxic people whose long-term presence in your life can and will separate you from your destiny. You will know these people by their rotten fruits. Remove them from your life immediately. Save your best for those who deserve it most."
As the first point, however, he said that purpose needs to be pursued with all of one's heart.
"You can't get to where you want to go without a guide. Let your purpose guide you. Determine your purpose by taking inventory of your interests, strengths and passions. By doing this, you'll avoid cycles of wasted time and energy, your most valuable resources," the Potter's House preacher wrote.
He said it it also important not to let other people define your life.
"Too often, you've allowed your desire for approval to determine your self-worth," Jakes wrote.
"The yearning to be recognized isn't the problem, it's your inability to see that some people are so embittered by their own disappointments they lack the capacity to nurture the gifts and talents that are starting to blossom in your life. Aim for self-definition. Don't let other people tell you who you are."
In the other two principles he would tell his 25-year-old self, Jakes said one needs to prepare for the disappointments in life, but also to laugh more, regardless of how difficult or serious life can get.
"Sometimes, looking back prepares you to move forward. I'm doing what I can today in hopes of proving my 75-year-old self proud, and laughing along the way," the pastor concluded.
In an interview with The Christian Post back in March, Jakes reflected on the regrets and hurt feelings people experience, such as when they leave the church because they have been offended by others.
"I think people have to realize that they don't go to church for other people. Until they realize that, they will always get disappointed and leave because other people are just as flawed as you are," Jakes told CP, as part of a preview for the "Miracles From Heaven" movie starring Jennifer Garner.
"You go to church to have an encounter with God in the midst of other people, so as long as we understand that clearly, we'll get around it. But [sometimes] people don't understand it and they get wounded at a moment of vulnerability," he added.