Today I’m 25 years old and what a journey it’s already been. I got to spend a great weekend with my friends in Dallas but I’ve spent most of my day crossing things off my to-do list, taking meetings, running errands and paying bills. Truly a sign that I have gotten another year older. But really, as I look on my life and think back on each stage, each season, so much of me has changed. I took some steps back but I ultimately took steps forward. I discovered a strength and a resilience I never knew I had. I learned how to adapt to change on scales I never knew I could. I fought for a confidence and a self-love I never knew I’d attain. I let God break me and rebuild me over and over again. I’m proud of the woman I’m becoming and I owe so much of that to the Lord. I’m very much a work in progress and yet there are many personal life lessons I hold onto. Here are 25 of them:
1. Learn to stop feeling guilty about setting boundaries to take care of yourself. We’re best positioned to help others when we are grounded.
2. Life will not go as planned but it will go on. And you will too.
3. Surround yourself with inspirers. The ones who are willing to take calculated risks, have the faith to step out, dream big and inspire your calling even if no one else gets it.
4. Surround yourself with those who love and know you well enough to help redirect you when you’re off track mentally and spiritually.
5. Don’t just tell your job interviewees why you want to work for them but show them why they need you. Don’t just fill a position, become an asset.
6. Trials aren’t meant to defeat or paralyze you. They show you who you are, what you’re made of, and reveal the measure of your faith. You will come out stronger. You will come out wiser.
7. We can only control who we are, not how people to choose see us. If they don’t know you personally, don’t take it personal. Know who you are, have that security within yourself and be ready to stand in it.
8. At some point you have to let go of what you thought “should have” happened and grow through what’s happening now. Be adaptable or be stuck.
9. Write it down. Don’t trust your short term-memory. If you want to make sure it gets done promptly and responsibly, write. it. down. And plan a real time to get it done.
10. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. It shows you are present, you are connected and you are invested. This is essential to any meaningful conversation.
11. Devote yourself to prayer and ask God for the wisdom, for the direction, for the reconciliation of your situation because His perfect answer is always better than the plans we’re stressing to hold together.
12. To be beautiful means to be who God crafted you to be, not what you think everyone wants to see. You don’t need to be accepted by the world. You need to accept yourself.
13. Put your auto-scheduled bill payments in your calendar for your awareness. It’s easy to get shorted when you forget funds are being slipped from your account.
14. When the enemy attacks he aims for the mind- your control center. Keep your thoughts rooted in Christ daily– in prayer, in your word, in affirmation; and leave no room for the enemies lies.
15. The best apology is changed behavior.
16. As you change, your circle changes. Not everyone is going where you’re going; and that’s okay.
17. God being at the center of your relationship begins with God being at the center of both people, individually. Your relationship is made up of you.
18. When you are living for God what you go through is never just for you. There is always someone else who will be in your shoes and God will use you to lift them.
19. Growth is painful and many times change is painful. But nothing is more painful than being stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
20. Just because someone desires you doesn’t mean they value you. Love builds, protects, respects and commits. Have the self-respect to know what you deserve.
21. Be there for your friends. What they’re facing could be you in a week, a month, a year. You never know when you’ll need each other most. So be a real friend and you just might gain a real friend in return.
22. Talking, wishing and hoping means little up until the point you actually do the work that needs to be done to walk in your aspirations.
23. Courage doesn’t mean the fear isn’t there, but is the decision to act purposefully in spite of what you feel.
24. You can be alone without being lonely. Get to know yourself. Take yourself out to new places. Journal your heart out and get a sense of your own voice. Invest in the things you love. Become satisfied with yourself before adding someone else to the picture.
25. Laugh a lot and find the blessing in every moment. This life is short and you only get one.