With my birthday coming up this year (I was going to say which month, but that’s a bit sketch), I’m sort of reaching another life “checkpoint” if you will.
Turning 20 in the U.S. may not seem like that big of a deal, but one is no longer considered a teenager and it’s one step closer to adulthood. (Technically it “is”adulthood, but anyone who’s older than 40 (maybe even 30) most likely still doesn’t take you really serious yet, unless you do something illegal, of course. #Justsayin )
1. I Don’t Know Anything
Like literally. I don’t. I’m constantly on the quest to learn more about myself, life, and the world around me.
I believe that the minute you think you “know” something, you’ve capped your learning potential in that area.
For example, people always tell me I have a large vocabulary and know a lot about words. I’ve never thought so because I know there’s so much left to learn and know. (The only reason I started to believe it is because my spell checker sends me an email every week with my writing progress and my vocab and skills in comparison to other users and I realized I read dictionaries for fun…Oi.)
I don’t mean be greedy for knowledge, but know that you’ll never know it all. There’s always room to grow and expand one what you already know.
Whereas, if you do think you know everything, you become dangerous; a stunted growth and a stumbling block for yourself and others.
Mucho problemo, mon amigo. (Don’t judge me; I don’t know Spanish.)
2. Life is a series of checks and balances
I’m not one who sees life as black and white; I try to see the whole crayon box. Black and white live there, but so do grey and all of the other colors.
What I’ve learned about God is that He encompasses seemingly opposing forces. He paints “with all the colors of the wind”.
He embodies strength and meekness.
He is Love, yet He hates sin.
We are to be sure of our faith and beliefs, not “lukewarm”, yet we need to remain adaptable to what God’s doing in the moment. (In other words, our principles are sound in Him, but His current methods may change a bit.)
We need to work hard and diligently, yet live out of a place of rest. (One of my weaker points.)
We are to be confident and powerful, yet humble and filled humility.
And so on.
Life is not about straddling the fence, but sometimes it is walking a balance beam.
Can you learn to say what needs to be said, without destroying people in the process? Some people forget in the process of “loving people”, how to love people. Not everyone needs tough love in certain situations, and sometimes when we are “loving” we are enabling more bad behaviors.
Basically, can you learn to be adaptable without changing your core?
3. You’re never too young or old to start your life
Feeling like, “Oh, I’m too young/old to do x thing.”
Then we attempt to justify out mediocrity.
- I don’t have the money to…
- I don’t have the time to…
- I don’t have the space to/for…
These were some of my excuses for a while and even now they like to rear their ugly faces in front of me to remind me why I’ll never reach my dreams.
The thing is, you’ll never have enough of anything. With that kind of mindset, you’ll always be too, or not enough, something.
You have to get to a point where that stuff doesn’t matter anymore.
My life is not where I want to be, so I’m working towards that.
I’m not kind enough – so I change my heart so that I’m genuinely a better person.
I can’t hear God – so I clear my ears and say, “God can you speak up a little louder. I’ve been a little deaf up until now, sorry.”
I don’t have the time – I reassess my life and see what needs to go, either temporary or permanently.
Whatever the issue, I do what I can until I get to the next step in my journey.
Focus on the crevice in front of you, not the mountain.
You’ll reach the top, just don’t stop climbing.
4. When God tells you to move, you move
This kind of ties into the previous one.
There’s a piece of writing I felt the Lord tell me to write, but because it didn’t fit the stereotypical mold, I brushed it off as not being God and then picked it up again, but tried to change it to seem like something it wasn’t.
I got frustrated because it wasn’t flowing like I wanted it to, and a whole lot of mess. It became more of a pain than a blessing. Now I’ve had other works that were frustrating (still are), but this one I finally had to admit it was because I was doing it my way and not God’s.
I then had to go back and I’m right now in the process of redoing the work I started and working on other parts I thankfully haven’t gotten to mess up yet. I still get stuck sometimes, but it’s different than the first type. If God gives you something to do or take care of, do it His way. I can say from experience, you lose precious time, energy, and other resources when you don’t just do it the way He showed you.
We aren’t meant to please others or change things to fit the mold. I’m beginning to understand that phrase “audience of One”. He gives us things (ideas, dreams, materials, people, etc.) to steward that are close to His heart. It’s for Him first, and others second, something I’ve had mixed up for a long time.
I wonder how many opportunities I missed while trying to not look silly or out of the box? How have I let fear keep me from stepping out?
I don’t want to live a life of regrets; neither do I want to beat myself over past mistakes. That only causes me to stay in the past if that’s where my focus lies. So, now I’m trying not to waste my opportunities.
5. People are important, but so am I
Saying no is very powerful.
As much as I wish I could help the whole world, I will burn out faster than a match stick if I tried.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” – unknown
That’s not being selfish, much as it seem so when you are used to giving with no boundaries.
I can’t help you get out of the ocean of I can’t swim. We’ll both drown, even if I meant well.
This is definitely one I’m still learning, but it’s getting easier to say “No, I’m sorry I can’t do that,” if I know I’m already burned out.
Not if only I could say that before I got to the burn out stage…next goal!
6. Stay connected to the presence of God!!!
No joke. We were made to be connected to God. We were never made to do life without God.
I can definitely say that’s true of my life.
When I am actively seeking God and spending time in His presence, even if the world is crashing, I know that all is right with the world. I feel like I can conquer anything and that everything that was discouraging me is just an obstacle to be passed and not a attempt to jump to Jupiter (Or at least that I know God can get me to Jupiter if necessary.)
Now, there’ll probably be people who read this and think, “She’s just making her God her conscious or something. Making excuses for why she’s not self-motivated and needs God for that stuff.”
But it’s not like that, though.
God is a relational being. He wants to be known and know all of His creation, every living person. If you’ve never experienced God personally (and I pray that you do, Christian or not), it seems like no big deal.
“I’ve lived this long without some distant-most-likely non-existant Being. Why would I need It/Him now?”
Honestly? I can’t answer that for you.
For me, when I realized that God was a personal being who cares and loves all of His creations – who wants to get to know all of them personally through relationship – I no longer saw Him as my parent’s God, or a distant judging God.
He’s the everyday, practical, emotional, all you can think of and better God who cares about us. I can go to God about literally anything and I trust that He will show me how to cross this journey called life since He can survey through all time and space. So I trust Him. And I can rest in His presence, knowing that He’ll show me how to love myself and others better. Knowing that if He gave me a dream, He will provide for that to come through. I just need to do my part (which in comparison, is actually pretty small).
God is creative, thoughtful, has feelings, yet also brilliantly created all that we see and interact with on a day to day basis.
As much as I love languages, words can’t describe all that we experience from God, simply in who He is.
For all you people who need to have an answer to everything – ask God. He made everything; you want answers? He has them. You want proof that He’s real? He’ll show you; sometimes you have to look outside of your own understanding and ways of thinking. Just ask.
7. There is Always enough time in the day
I’ve heard it said that if something’s important to you, you’ll make it time for it.
Much as people try to, you can’t force things. It just won’t stick without you having to micromanage it. But you can let Holy Spirit change you from the inside out. That’ll stay.
If you attempt a new habit without changing your previous mindset on time management, you’ll just go back to your old bad habits. (Trust me, I’ve done it. I’m not proud of it either.)
This was another excuse I used, but again, if you really care, you’ll make it work. You’ll remove what’s not essential or is hindering and make room for what’s important.
So there you have it!
Here’s to 20 more years (Oh, Lord.)…I’ll be 40. *Stares off into the distance pensively.* Here’s to not taking excuses in aiding life outside of God’s purpose; no mediocrity.