Well, it’s official guys . . . I’m one year closer to being a senior citizen.
So, basically, what I’m saying is . . . I’m N I N E T E E N. W H O O !!!
*cue celebratory cheers all around.*
I am unbelievably grateful for these nineteen years and for the many memories that have been shared along the way. Life is truly such a gift.
With that being said, as a newfound nineteen-year-old, I decided to share just a portion of my “age-old wisdom” on the blog today. (Totally kidding.) All sarcasm aside and without further ado, here are nineteen things that I have learned in nineteen years:
1.) L O V E others:
Don’t be embarrassed to show someone how important they are to you. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Show love; it makes all the difference, I promise.
2.) P R A Y:
God truly cares. Now, I know it may seem cliche, but beyond a doubt, God cares about the big things . . . and the little things. If you’re overwhelmed, talk to Him. Trust Him.
3.) L A U G H :
Laugh– laugh hard and laugh often. Laughter truly is the best medicine, guys. I once read somewhere that laughing actually burns calories, so if nothing else, laugh for your health. In the name of #fitness, right?
4.) G I V E:
Whether it be your time, your affection, or your money . . . just give. We’ve all heard the popular saying, “‘Tis better to give than to receive,” but I’m here to tell you that a monumental truth lies beneath the surface of this trite remark. Just try it one time, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Trust me.
5.) W O R K hard:
I know that spending countless hours buried behind a good book or perhaps spending a day on the lake is more appealing than writing an essay or heading to the ‘ole job site, but working hard is 100% more rewarding. That makes all the difference.
6.) F E L L O W S H I P with others:
I’m a Grade-A introvert, so sometimes sociability isn’t a priority on my “fun-o-meter,” but it is, however, always rewarding. I never leave a time of fellowship regretting the effort that was needed to leave my house. I leave refreshed, encouraged, and thankful. Reach out. Make time for friends.
7.) E A T well:
Now, you can interpret this however you wish, but I am quite a devoted advocate of the “eat what you want because life is short” movement. If you want a burger, get one. Ice cream? You bet. (In moderation, of course, guys. A pint a day will most certainly not keep the doctor away.) That diet will always be there . . . whenever you’re ready. Just remember to treat your body like a temple and to listen when it says that it might be time for a short salad break.
8.) S T O P worrying:
I’m still working on this one, actually. I have an innate tendency to worry– to worry about the future, about the present, and even about the past. Yet, God says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41: 10, KJV). If you’re a fellow worrier, take a moment to rest in this promise. How encouraging it is to know that whenever those feelings of anxiety creep into the interstices of our minds, we have a God who cares. We have a God who listens. We have a God who provides. There truly is no need to worry. Rejoice in that truth, and then, live out that truth.
9.) C R E A T E:
I’m perpetually dreaming up ideas, but rarely do I ever actually execute them. If I’m honest, when I rationalize the amount of effort my dreams demand, I feel incapable, and my ideas often remain buried behind a sense of discouragement. Don’t be like me. When you have an idea, pursue it. Make it happen. As my professor once told me, “there is no time like the present.”
10.) S E E K the Lord daily:
Some of my happiest memories are ones spent in God’s Word. When I wake up early to fellowship with the Lord, I am 100% more prepared for the day. Never have I ever regretted losing a few extra minutes of sleep to time spent with Jesus– truly.
11.) W A I T on the Lord:
Do you ever feel as if your life is just a perpetual cycle of waiting? Well, rest assured, you’re not alone. In fact, there have been many (and I mean many) instances throughout the years when I had to learn to WAIT. Was it easy? Um . . . no, no, and no. (Did I mention”no,” yet? ) Was it worth it, though? Absolutely. I’ve found that whenever I’m confined to the seemingly endless cycle of waiting, talking to the Lord about my concerns calms my frustrations. There’s something so effortlessly comforting in knowing that the Creator of the universe is interested in my personal burdens. He has a plan for each and every one of us; wait on Him.
|| “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” — Ps. 27: 14 ||
12.) R E S T:
Don’t push yourself. Know your limits. Sometimes, you just need a few moments to pray, recharge, and refresh– don’t crumble under the walls of self-inflicted pressure. Instead, tear ’em down.
13.) H E L P others whenever and wherever possible:
Unfortunately, it requires much less effort to care for yourself than it does to care for others, but don’t you think we ought to strive for selflessness rather than selfishness? Embarrassing to admit, but I often find myself crumbling under the walls of my own selfishness. I become so clouded with my own agenda, my own plans, and my own needs that I self-interestedly overlook the needs of those around me. However, I believe that if we honestly look, we might just find a little bit of selfishness in all of us. Let’s put a stop to it, shall we? Learn to put others above yourself. Give instead of get. Lend a helping hand instead of solely focusing on your own responsibilities.
14.) C H E R I S H the ones that you love:
Remember that coffee date you promised a few months ago but have yet to “get around to it?” Yeah, you’re not alone. We all have those unfulfilled promises piling up. Breakfast with dad, golfing with PopPop, shopping with the “BFF”– whatever the situation and whoever the person, don’t put it off. Life happens, and because of this, we often brush aside what we deem the “less important” things, but spending time with family and friends isn’t a mere obligation, it’s a blessing. Cherish the moments you have with those around you.
15.) D R O P the mirror:
Ever find yourself glancing in practically every (and any) reflective surface imaginable to ensure that your hair is still smooth and your outfit still stylin’? (Yes, I just used the term “stylin.'” I know, I’m sorry.) Or perhaps, you’ve purchased quite the collection of hand-held mirrors to frequently “check-up” on your appearance? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might be in danger of a vanity problem; but, rest assured that, no, you are most certainly not alone. In fact, it would be awfully hypocritical of me to discuss the “vanity topic” without reluctantly admitting that this is yet another flaw with which I struggle. Lately, however, the Lord has been showing me that beauty is not found outwardly, but inwardly. Beauty is not found in the clothes we wear, nor in our hairstyles, our weight, or our makeup. Cliche as it sounds, girls, it’s true; and quite frankly, it’s time that we start living it out. As Psalm 139: 14 says, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and I believe that once we embrace this magnificent truth, we will no longer unhealthily obsess over our image. Instead, we will rest in the goodness of the Lord and His Creation, comfortable in His craftsmanship. So, put the mirror down, darlin,’ and know that however you look, God made you with a purpose in mind.
16.) S H A R E your heart with others:
I find that people appreciate true conversation– conversation that surpasses mere “small talk” and delves into real, honest discussion. If you feel the Lord leading you to say something to someone, say it . . . without hesitation. Share what is on your heart.
17.) A P P R E C I A T E even the littlest of things:
When you’re involved in a continual pursuit of “the next big thing” you regrettably overlook the little things in life–the things that leave you overflowing with true contentment, the things that inspire authentic smiles each and every time, the things that, yes, are simple, but oh so special. If you find yourself frequently neglecting the “little things” in life, I encourage you to rediscover them. Rediscover the sweetness of a summer sunset. Rediscover the sparkle of the night sky. Rediscover the warmth of a smile. Rediscover the vigor of roaring laughter. Rediscover the beauty of a fresh bouquet. Rediscover. Appreciate.
18.) S M I L E :
I once read, “Never underestimate the power of a genuine smile.” Quite frankly, this quote has since then metamorphosed into one by which I strive to live. You never know what someone is going through “behind the scenes,” and sometimes, a smile might be just the thing to brighten a person’s day . . . a person’s world. So, smile, my dear, smile.
19.) B L O O M:
I wanted to finish with this word, “bloom,” because of its significance to me. Too often, we compare our lives to the lives of others and grow envious of what we believe to be “more exciting” or “more adventurous” lifestyles. We question the purpose behind where the Lord has placed us as we grow restless in our own uncertainty. But how wrong we are, friends!
|| “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29: 11, KJV). ||
The Lord has a meticulously crafted plan for your life, just as He has one for mine. You are where you are for a reason; don’t ever forget that. Instead of hopelessly admiring the so-called greenness of the grass next door, B L O O M in your own. Live for Christ and make a difference right where you are, because you’re not there by accident. “Bloom where you are planted.”
And these are nineteen things I have learned in nineteen years.