Birthdays always serve to make one introspective. All of the “what have I been doing with my life this past year?” questions & the, “how can I be cooler this year” questions come flooding in. It makes you think, laugh, cry, throw things, smile and throw things. My birthday was yesterday. I did all those.
To celebrate this year’s year turning, I’ve decided to share a few of the most important lessons I have learned hitherto. And, as always, “have learned’ in most cases means I learned it, now I’m tryna be good at it, which means sometimes I’m bad at it, but I continue to work until I’m better at life. It’s a process, ya’ll.
In no particular order:
1.Decisions make Destinies
I used to think stuff in life happened, and then you waited for other stuff to happen, and then you waited until you were brave/strong/good enough to respond. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that all life requires is a decision to be made. Once you have decided you want to be or do better, then you can take action. As long as you put your circumstances in the hands of someone/something else, life will pass you by.
You will never “feel” like making the change. Do not wait to feel like going to church. Do not wait to feel like praying. Do not wait to feel like serving. Do not wait to feel like being healthier. Do not wait to feel like changing your circle of friends.
Decide then do. It really is that simple. Work the rest out when you get there.
2. C’s Make Degrees
In college, do your absolute best. But in the event your best is a C – they will still give you that piece of paper at the end that says you are a smart human. Don’t let it stress you out too much. Your degree doesn’t define you.
3. Your Mom is Probably Right About Almost Everything (Please don’t tell my mother I said this).
Provided you have a healthy relationship with your mom or your mom type person, she is right. Likely, about all of it. I am amazed at the things I’m encountering as a super grown person that my mom told me would happen & I told her she was crazy. She was not. Also – you will turn into her. Just accept it.
4.Discomfort Breeds Growth
Awkward or uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. If you are in a situation that is awkward for you, or even gives you a bit of anxiety where you feel like you are in over your head – that’s where the magic happens. Don’t settle for the false happiness of comfort. The trick is to just let some things be awkward and be ok with it. Let it fall over you like a badly knitted oblong blanket.
5. Meek Does Not Mean Doormat
I used to think that being meek or gracefull towards people meant that I had to take whatever they gave me, keep my opinions to myself, and just tell Jesus about it later. You should tell Him, but some situations require us to speak up in the moment. To hold our ground. To be firm and assertive. You are allowed to speak up & you are not responsible for people’s reaction – only for speaking in love.
6. Own What You Know.
Do not apologize for knowing things. You know what you know and that’s awesome. And if anyone thinks you don’t know it, that’s kinda their deal.
7. Own What You Don’t Know.
There’s plenty I don’t know. You too. One of the most valuable sentences in all the languages everywhere is, “I don’t know.” It’s cool, man.
8. True Confidence is Birthed From Humility.
I’ve gone basically my whole life trying to figure out how to have confidence. It has been & continues to be a huge, ongoing fight for me. Recently & to my surprise, the best tool I’ve found to gain confidence is to explore what humility looks like. I thought they were kinda opposites, turn out they are friends.
9.Find People you Trust Who Trust God & Let Them All Up & Through Your Business.
Don’t do life alone. Listen, Linda – do not do life alone. Fill your circle with people who know more than you – who can lovingly karate chop you with truth. They are invaluable. Find peers who are striving towards Jesus, they will motivate you. Disconnect from those who are ok with discouraging you or agree with you to fail – it will serve you.
10. Being an Introvert is Not Something to Overcome. It’s Something to Work Within.
You are not flawed because you are a silent processor or because you choose not to talk sometimes or because you sometimes hide from people because words & small talk is not your jam.
Learn to pretend to be an extrovert when it’s necessary – because being an introvert is also not an excuse to become disengaged or to not seek out relationship.
Don’t apologize for needing space & quietness. God can use you just as strongly as anyone else – don’t limit yourself.
11. Marriage is Not a Status Symbol or Achievement It is a Calling.
Just like every other calling, it is for some people, not for all. You need grace to succeed. You need Jesus to make it work. Go into it intentionally & with purpose.
12.Singleness is Not to be Squandered or Looked Down On. It is a Calling.
For some for a season. For some a lifetime. You need Jesus for both. Draw closer to Jesus, skip cuffing season.
13. Success is What You Make It
There is no definition of success. It looks different depending on your season of life, your experience level, your goals and your circumstances. Sit down with a mentor and define what success looks like for you in this season. Don’t let others’ projection of success freak you out or make you feel less than.
14. Jesus Loves You.
All the time. Right now. That thing you did that one time? He loved you before, during, and after you did it. He loves you the most, right now. And when you make another mistake, he’ll love you while you’re making it & after you’re done. You can’t earn it. It just is. Don’t let anyone tell ya different.
15. I share a birthday with the GOAT – Serena Williams
This means nothing to you. I just found out yesterday and it’s just super awesome.