And I have a few thoughts on that.
Another year, another new milestone. Sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror and think with a sigh, “Yep. I definitely look thirty.” My baby fat is all gone, and I’ve (mostly) made an uneasy sort of peace with my nose, but there’s a wrinkle on my forehead from squinting in the Colorado sun, and I put on a face cream with retinol before bed these days. By body can’t recover from things as quickly anymore, and the other day I woke up with a fat elbow because presumably I did too many skullcrushers and bicep curls at the gym? At least my metabolism isn’t slowing down yet!
I expected to have life much more figured out by now, but I’m learning that everyone fakes it. You can’t make it thirty trips around the sun without learning a few things, though.
- Don’t measure yourself by anyone else’s standards.
- Make it your own: your faith, your life, your coffee. But especially your faith.
- Another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own.
- Neither is another’s success.
- You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
- Comparison truly is the thief of joy. This goes hand in hand with the first five bulletpoints. When you measure yourself up against where you think you “should” be, or where your friends are, discontentment is sure to follow.
- “No” really is a complete sentence. It doesn’t require excuses, and it doesn’t require explanation.
- It’s always worth loving.
- …Love isn’t mushy feelings. Love is sacrifice.
- People will talk about you behind your back. People will gossip about you, and people will judge you. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and I used to take it so personally. People are people, and they are weak and imperfect and they will gossip. Give them grace.
- Rejection doesn’t define who you are.
- You aren’t responsible for other people’s responses, so stop carrying the weight of that. You may trigger a reaction in someone, but that response is based entirely out of who they are. And people typically react in ways that allow them to stay in their own comfort zone. Safety is the biggest motivator.
- People typically do the best that they can.
- Social media only gives part of the picture.
- Don’t ever change for another person. You might think you can, if it’s important enough and if they are important enough, but true change only ever begins internally. Anything else is false and will either be short-term or lead to resentment. (Compromise, however, is a very good thing, if you treat it rightly. Figure out what is important and non-negotiable, and what is just personal preference, and meet in the middle. If you can’t find a middle, walk away. Again, don’t die on the hill of someone else’s approval.)
- Don’t criticize others for things they can’t change.
- AND – only criticize others to the exact extent that you are willing to help them change. Look, I get it. We all talk about other people. It makes us feel better about ourselves, doesn’t it? But I’ve been on the other side of that. I’ve been cut down and left there. Don’t do that. Honestly, it’s just being a bully and shows off your own immaturity. If they’re wrong, don’t be all judgy and critical. Show grace and love and before you step in to try and fix things, pray about it first. Pray long and hard. If it’s a matter of personal preference: yours isn’t better just by virtue of it being yours.
- There are some valleys you can only ever walk through alone.
- Depression is real. No, it’s not a sign of spiritual immaturity. More on this later.
- Growth hurts. It’s uncomfortable. But don’t be afraid of it.
- The world doesn’t owe you anything. Get rid of that chip on your shoulder.
- Life isn’t fair. Live it anyway.
- No, what happened to you wasn’t your fault. Own it anyway.
- There’s no such thing as regret. A wonderful Christian mentor told me this one time, and sometimes I can’t wrap my mind around it but mostly I can’t get it out of my head. Make amends for what you have to, and move forward. Stop dwelling on it. Resolve to make a better choice next time. Move forward.
- People don’t always extend grace, and they don’t always choose to think the best of you. That’s their choice, and it’s between them and God. Don’t let it make you bitter.
- Nothing makes me realize just how much I need Jesus than running late for something and being stuck behind someone with a Wyoming license plate who can’t figure out where they’re going. Or what the speed limit is. Or what a turn signal is. Or how to drive.
- Family is not forever. Friends are not forever. Jobs are not forever. Life is not forever. Jesus is forever.
- People will fail you. Always. Jesus will never fail you. Never.
- Drink the good scotch.
- No one else can fulfil you. There will be times when you feel lonely, and you’ll look for another person to fill the emptiness, but this doesn’t work. At best it’s a band-aid. I strongly believe that the human heart is restless until it finds rest in God, but there’s also a personal responsibility there.
Annnnd….one to grow on:
- It says in the Bible that God works all things for good for those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. I believe that. I also believe him when he said that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Now with that confidence tucked in your pocket: go be brave. Take the chances. Be intelligent about your choices, but take chances. Don’t live in fear.