A Quarter Century of Life Lessons
I recently turned 25 - *insert fireworks and confetti poppers* - though I am still pretty young I feel that so much has prepared me for this new year and all that is to come. Among the many life lessons are an abundance of mistakes. The latter of my “Do’s and Don’ts” list far out way the former, but, no experience is in vain and what’s even better is I get to help others avoid the same pitfalls! So, here are 4 things I learned not to do as I move forward in life toward the pursuit of God, joy, and peace.
First, Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
Reflecting on the past 25 years - wow, I feel so old saying that haha - I realized a pattern that held me from having full, beautiful relationships and experiences, that is allowing fear to keep me in my comfort zone. Usually it was the fear of rejection. Sometimes it was the fear of failure. Other times it was the fear of success and not being confident enough to believe I deserved it. Beyond that it was me feeling ill-equipped to move forward with that “something” I needed to work on and therefore procrastinating or forfeiting the project altogether (which is exactly why this blog is about 3 years late).
In my 25th year of life I made a vow to myself to take every opportunity that scares me - with the exception of skydiving, bunjee jumping or any other physically daring because, well, I’m just not *kanye shrug*. I have come to wholeheartedly believe the saying, “Everything you desire is on the other side of fear” because the side I’ve been on for the past 24 years has truly left me empty and even more afraid. Join me in acting on your beliefs and not just talking about them. Live by the Word of God that empowers you, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you because God has not given you a Spirit of fear. See Philippians 4:13, 2 Timothy 1:7
Equally as important, Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This ‘don’t’, much like the other three listed, is easier said than done. You won’t just wake up one day and never compare yourself again because for many of us that is our default mentality. Rather, it’s a gradual change as we train our minds to appreciate the abundance we are divinely blessed with. It’s a process that requires growth and maturity in many other areas of life including self-discipline, personal relationship with God and knowing and understanding your purpose. As God continues to groom me I see more and more the people whose lives I envied from afar by no means have it “better” than me.
When I catch myself comparing I ask ‘what it is about that person/thing you desire?’ Ten out of ten times it is something I can attain, since I know this to be true I ask God if it is His will that I have that also - (because everything that is good may not be good for you, amen? Either way, ask God to remind you to not covet what doesn’t belong to you and to be content with what does. Combat comparative thoughts with scripture: Galatians 4:6, James 1:17, Romans 12:2, Psalm 84:11, Proverbs 4:23
Most important in my humble opinion, Don’t Play Yourself
In my first blog post I explained the series of major transition I experienced in a short amount of time and how desperate I was for stability and peace. What I failed to mention in detail was that God literally God gave me clear instructions and I veered from them. This most definitely added to the confusion. My lack of obedience cost me two years of depression, distraction from the work God called me to do, and granted the devil a wide open door to destroy me mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially, etc. And the very instruction God gave me is still required of me. Delayed obedience is DISOBEDIENCE. It all could’ve been avoided but TRUST I learned my lesson. Whether God directly speaks it to you, you read it in His Word, or He relays it through a messenger always yield to His instruction - it is literally for the preservation of your life. When you are blatantly disobedient you exchange God and His goodness for the evil idol that is begging for your attention. Nothing good will ever come from that. Avoiding and overcoming temptation to veer from God requires accountability and willingness to obey. The Word of God is powerful against the flesh and all evil: meditate on Hebrews 4:12, Romans 8, James 1:13-15, Galatians 5:13-25
Last but never least, Don’t Rush the Process
Learning to “live in the moment” is one of the hardest challenges I face as a young adult. Because I always envision better for myself, I find it difficult to treasure where I am presently. The desire for more is constant so the cycle of never being satisfied is endless. This cycle of greed played a major part in keeping me stagnant because I never matured. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Always wanting more shows a distrust and distaste for God and idolatry for that which you desire.
The recipe for “not rushing the process” requires equal parts patience, contentment, and service to God, lack in any of these areas makes room for the enemy to sneak in. Ask God to reveal where you could be more patient, how you can appreciate what you have and where you are, and what you could do to better serve Him and His people. Time is not in your hands, it’s in God’s. There’s nothing you can do about it. Rather than always jumping to what’s next ask God to show you how to value the present and be a good steward over what you have now, and to fully prepare you for what’s next.
Holy Spirit was sent to assist us in life and our walk with God, let him develop you so you can bear good, lasting fruit as in Galatians 5:22-23. Remember that God withholds no good thing from us (Psalm 84:11).
I implore to put these truths into practice and put yourself ahead of the game. It’s no accident you’re here reading this now. Ask God to show you and help you be submitted to Him so you can develop that character needed to live fully and with integrity and intention.