Each year around my birthday, I like to reflect on the last year and think about where I’m headed. This year I thought I would do something a little different. Here are 36 lessons I’ve learned in 36 years.
1.) God is faithful even when I’m not. He’s not mad it’s taken me so long to figure this out.
2.) Give yourself the same grace and understanding you give to others.
3.) It doesn’t matter how smart, funny, kind, hard-working, loyal, or pretty you are if the guy isn’t ready.
4.) Your body is a house you live in, not an apartment you’re renting. Treat it accordingly.
5.) Exercise, vegetables, and water are a girl’s best friend.
6.) Lots of #5 = very little need for coffee. Imagine not needing it.
7.) Don’t assume your life will look a certain way by a certain point. It probably won’t.
8.) Learn what your boundaries are. Teach them to others.
9.) You can never fix, change, or save anyone. Only God can do that.
10.) Talking about big, scary things makes them seem surprisingly small. Don’t be afraid to share. Make sure it’s with the right person.
11.) Take note of friends who stand by you even when your life stages look different. These people are rare.
12.) It doesn’t matter what your situation looks like – you *always* have something to offer.
13.) When you’re walking with God, no season – no matter how pointless or empty it may seem – is ever wasted.
14.) Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Stay in your lane.
15.) Find a good financial advisor early and pay attention.
16.) What God has given you is yours to manage, not to hoard. How well are you minding the store?
17.) You don’t need to be busy all the time – it’s not productive; it’s crazy.
18.) The road to any reconciliation begins with recognizing how patient God has already been with you. See #1.
19.) Plan to deviate.
20.) It’s not about you. It never has been.
21.) There is a difference between being valued and being wanted. Learn it.
22.) People who say your life won’t really have meaning until you have children are confusing the word priority with the word purpose. Buy them a dictionary. Your purpose is never tied to any person or circumstance.
23.) People who categorize your dreams as if some are more likely to happen than others don’t know their history. Buy them a bible. The seas, walls, and doors may look different, but God still parts, smashes, and kicks wide open.
24.) Vacation spots, cars, retirement, men: do your homework.
25.) When you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, you very often get it.
26.) You don’t really *need* the shoes. Really.
27.) Don’t ask ‘why?’ or ‘what next?’ Ask God who he wants to be for you in the middle of whatever it is. It will change everything.
28.) Don’t fear failing miserably – when you have nothing left, you have nothing left to lose.
29.) When you’re 26 and single, everyone thinks you’re adorable. When you’re 36 and single, some try not to make eye contact. Who you are doesn’t change because their treatment of you does. And if you stop getting invited to the parties, start throwing your own.
30.) Don’t think because something is a long time coming that it will never happen. God doesn’t mass-produce miracles or the small details of your life. He designs them for you. The answers to your prayers are tailor-made.
31.) No one wakes up one morning and decides to be ______ (mean, bitter, vindictive, brainwashed, fill in the blank). It’s usually years in the making – lies being more reinforced than the truth. Reserve your judgements and make time to learn their story. We all have one and we all long to be known.
33.) Learn how to say ‘no’ without apologizing.
34.) Anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.
35.) The older you get, the more your view of love changes. Most of life is not made up of exhilarating highs and devastating lows. Most of life is the every day. Look for the person who is happy to do those days with you. That’s love.
36.) God doesn’t skip over the process. He doesn’t wait to show up at the finish line after all the work is done. He will climb down into the middle of your mess, if you let him. You are never alone.
And one more thing…
Not every ending is happy, and that’s ok. The most beautiful results often come from the most broken situations.