In a few days, I will be turning 30. I don't know why, but this birthday has made me all sorts of nostalgic. I guess because when I was younger, thirty was the point at which I deemed someone ‘old’. You know what I mean?!? (For the record, I totally retract that statement and definitely don't feel that way now!) Anyway, there are some things that I’ve learned that I thought would be fun to share. I definitely DON'T know it all, but have learned some along the way. If I could have written myself a letter fifteen years ago, these are the things I would have wanted to know.
1- It’s really NOT about YOU. When other do hurtful things, most of the time it’s really not about you. But you know what IS about you? The way you choose to react.
2- You cannot control how others treat you, but you can ALWAYS choose the way you respond.
3- Stop worrying and planning about your future- what to major in, if you will make the basketball team, if you’ll ever find someone to date and marry. God has got it ALL figured out and is working a plan that is so much better than any you could imagine!
4- Know what you don’t know and don’t be afraid to admit it! Life is all about learning.
5- You don’t have to have it all together, all the time. Life is about feeling safe enough in your own shoes to be able to be transparent with others and not worry about their perceptions or judgments.
6- If you’re feeling really comfortable where you are, it’s time to move on. The only way to grow and do BIG things is to get out of your comfort zone!
7- Love is NOT a feeling. It is a choice, a conscious act. Don’t zip through life simply relying on the emotional high that comes with new love. Find someone and commit to loving them even when you don’t “feel” like it, even when they seem unlovable. Even when it’s the last thing you want to do. Do it anyway.
8- Postpartum hormones are no joke. When women say they’re struggling and you think ‘whatever, suck it up’, you will soon learn how wrong you are! Instead of judging or talking about it, why not offer to help that new mom? Give her an hour’s break to run errands or to let her catch a nap.
9- Give more than expected. Even when you don’t want to.
10-STOP. WORRYING. Seriously- stop it!
11- Parenting is hard work. That mom that you see at the store who has kids running wild and acting crazy that you think is absolutely the worst parenting example ever? You’ll find yourself in that position more than once. I promise.
12- Seek out mentors. Learn from them. Listen. Accept what they say.
13- Invest yourself by mentoring someone else.
14- Marry your best friend. There will be days that you don’t really like your husband/wife. If you’re relationship is grounded on friendship as well as common values and a true commitment, you’ll be able to stick it out through whatever comes.
15- You could be angry at times, even justified. But wouldn’t it be easier to just move on and be happy? Your anger at them is only eating away at yourself. Do yourself a favor and forgive, then move on!
16- Pregnancy affects every single bit of your body, not just the parts you would expect. It’s also the most amazing experience ever. Totally worth every single stretch mark, episode of morning sickness, and swollen ankles!
17- Invest your money in experiences instead of ‘stuff’. When you’re older you won’t sit and think about that beautiful purse you had, but you will remember all the fun you had on your cruise to the Bahamas!
18- It’s all about relationships. Everything. Pour yourself into the lives of those around you. Build relationships and appreciate them!
19- People are going to let you down. They will. Practice grace with them and cut them some slack. I guarantee you will let them down, also.
20- There are two things in life you can never have enough of... baby wipes and band-aids!
21- Most friendships are built around commonality. Shared seasons of life, workplaces, churches, etc. True friendships won’t be built on being in the same stage of life or even location. It will be with someone who loves you even when they don’t ‘feel’ like it, that still believes in you even after you let them down, and someone who truly wants the best for you in life. This is RARE and hard to find. Once you do, hold onto it!
22- Having someone find value and worth in your children is far better than if they say the same thing about yourself!
23-No matter how bad things seem, they always get better. Always. “Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning”.
24- Attending church regularly is ESSENTIAL. Not because this can guarantee salvation or earn you ‘good behavior points’, but because you need to be hearing the word and you need to be committed to a local body of believers. If Christ was, shouldn’t we be?
25- On that same note, TITHE and watch what happens. The only time in the Bible that we are told to test God was in tithing. We aren’t simply recommended to tithe, we are commanded. Do it and watch God work!
26- You are never going to please everyone. And there will always be someone who doesn’t like you. Make up your mind to be happy, regardless. Don’t change who you are to make yourself more acceptable to others.
27- Our Christian walk isn’t simply about going to church and sitting to be “fed”. It is SO much more! I lived for many, many years before I realized that I had never fully grasped what it meant to be a follower of Christ. It should change EVERYTHING about you and your life. If you’re really walking with Him the way you should, nothing will be the same. Period.
28- A good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee can make anything seem better. Anything.
29- Eat right, most of the time. You’ll feel better, look better and have more energy. And trust me, even if you think you have cellulite and stretch marks now, you have NO IDEA how good you look compared to what you’ll look like after having a few kids ;)
30- All of this life is temporary. One day, our ‘job’ on Earth will be over and we will be accountable for everything we have done or said, and for what we have done with the spiritual gifts that God has given to each believer. Make your life count! Don’t worry about being afraid and being unaccepted. This world is NOT our home. Get out there and get going!
Although I will now be officially crossing into my thirties, I don’t think I’d go back even if I could. I am starting to really feel ‘at home’ in my own skin and feel like I’m just beginning to really get what my mission on this Earth is. Thank you to all that have made my life so very beautiful and full. I love having each of you as friends!