We all have a story no matter how hard we try to deny it. We have walked this earth for x amount of years, and as each year comes and goes it adds, subtracts and possibly multiples different parts of ourselves to make up who we are right now. I've grown a lot as an individual and even more as a follower of God in the 21 years I've been given on earth. I've learned to mourn properly, to love gracefully, to give and take peacefully, to handle letdowns correctly and to be able to pick myself the right way up when I've fallen. The life lessons I've learned up until now have made me the person that I am. I have reflected on my life and where I've been a lot within the last few months, and I've compiled a list of the important things that I've learned (theres a lot).
Here is a cliche list of 21 things I've learned in 21 years I had on earth.
(Its a long list and I understand if you skip to the end. I won't feel bad).
1. Don't take yourself too seriously. Life is too short to be serious all the time. Have deep belly laughs, cry a few tears, meet new people, expand your circle, try new things, say 'yes', go to a new coffee shop, and listen to that new song- the list could go on and on. There are a lot of endless opportunities in life, take a few that are out of your comfort zone, you never know what might happen. For me, this was moving to Seattle. I had never left home on my own and I was ready to spread my wings and I did all the things listed above. I was able to grow as an individual and as a follower of Christ. I try to often think of Jesus in the situations I said above. What made Him laugh? What would be His coffee order of choice? What is his favorite music genre?
2. You can call your mom and dad for anything. And I think I always will. Moving to Seattle taught me a lot of things, one of which is how much I love and missed my parents. They have been the only ones who have been consistent in my life and I am so glad that God choose them to be my parents. I can alway rely on them to bring a smile to my face, make me laugh and fill me with love; even from miles away. I have found that I really can call them for anything. They have the answers to everything. Who my physician is and what their phone number is, how often I'm supposed to go to the dentist, when I'm supposed to change the oil in my car, how to change the oil for that matter, how to properly wash cloths without shrinking them to doll size, how long to boil pasta, how to make a good cup of coffee, and how its okay to spread your wings, because they are always just a phone call away. Thank you modern technology.
3. Avoid gossip and drama. There is no better breath of fresh air than that of having a drama and gossip free lifestyle. Both are equally a waste of time and add so much negativity and toxicity to your life. I encourage you to spread good vibes, smile- always, say please and thank you, compliment people and actually mean it , and actually be interested in the life of others around you. You can learn so much from the people you surround yourself with and so much about yourself too. Granted, I have fallen short of this one sometimes but it is something I am always working on. To spread positivity in the most raw, natural and authentic form. I try to picture the way that Jesus walked from town to town, bright eyed, kind spirited, and eager to see everyone and spread the Gospel.
4. Watch out for the fake people of the world. They're out there. They only care about the success and happiness of themselves, not others. I encourage you to be as authentic as possible. Wear that dress, those shoes and that scarf- heck all at once if your heart so desires. Listen to the music that makes your heart happy and sing it at the top of your lungs. Don't let the world get the best of you and and don't allow yourself to be put in the box of society. You are a diamond that deserves to sparkle, even when the sun doesn't shine. You are the rainbow after it rains.
5. Money doesn't equal happiness. Money doesn't buy happiness, money buys things, and things put you in debt which equals a not so happy you. Granted, saving money and working hard to do so is a very important thing to do. Find that job that makes you happy (yes, its out there), work hard at it and save that cash. I encourage you to find three things that make you happy that don't involve spending money'. Wether that be spending quality time with friends and family, getting outside and being active, listening to music, making DIY projects, writing poetry, making a blog (even when you suck at consistently posting), making cookies (even if they're for yourself); whatever it may be do it, love it and make it your own.
6. Don't be afraid to meet people. Branching out and socializing is a lot less scary once you do it a few times. This is something that I have always struggled with. I like to describe myself as a introverted extrovert. I love meeting new people, but going through the motions with people can sometimes make me feel sick. Some of my best friends and most cherished friendships are with people that I meet in a small window of time and sometimes at the most random time. God performs some crazy miracles in times like these, so don't hold back, dive head first. Good things can come from scary situations if you allow God to guide the way.
7. Focus on friendships and relationships equally. I've realized how important it is to not ditch friends for a relationship or vice versa. Everything in moderation because balance is so important. Building friendships and relationships take time, its like growing a plant. They need attention, food, water, and love. You can't neglect one plant to grow with the other, we can all grow together in the garden of life- where the Son is, where there is space, there is love.
8. Sometimes you have to let go. Letting go of things is tough, but its a part of life. If you grasp too tightly to one thing and it doesn't work out, thats usually a sign its time to let go. There are a few select times where God needs a little extra time to make the miracle extra special. I understand that cutting ties is hard and forgiveness is even harder, but the overwhelming sense of freedom is so worth it. Trust me. If it was meant to be God will bring that situation back into your life at the right time, but right now that time is not now. Let it go and grasp onto God.
9. Don't compare your insides to someones outsides. Don't compare how you feel about yourself to how someone else portrays their life, they will always win. In my opinion, internal, personal growth is the best kind of growth someone could experience. Finding who you truly are and who you want to be is so beautiful. Whats even more glorious is being content in accepting that. This is the best type of glow up someone could possibly have. Don't allow the 'Instagram ascetic' rule your life. Don't allow that false front of being the tough guy be what defines you. Allow your true self to be your best self and let it shine for the world to see.
10. Drink you're coffee. You will thank me later. You will find that at times it is hard to get out of bed, especially when its cold and raining and your blankets are just so warm and cozy. But its time to throw those blankets to the side and pour yourself a hot cup of joe (or cold if you're one of those people who drink iced coffee year round). Once you find your perfect blend, its almost like you'll find all the things you've been looking for. I've had some of the most uplifting conversations over a cup of coffee and I'm halfway convinced it has something to do with the aroma.
11. Sometimes nights in are the best nights. Wether that be in your own house, or someone else's. Stay in. There are some very beautiful moments that can be birthed right in the comfort of a house. Don't get me wrong, going out can be fun, but staying in can be just as much fun. The raw conversations, endless amounts of boardgames to play and belly laughs to have, nights in are needed a lot more than we give them credit for.
12. If all else fails, follow your gut. Listening to your heart is important, but before you listen to the voice in your head, listen to your gut. (even when your hungry). Listening is a hard thing to do, especially in todays world with so many things going on around us, it can be easy to get distracted and loose our way. If your heart has temporarily lost its way, your gut will step in and lend a helping hand. Trust me you will know when you have done something right or wrong. You will feel it.
13. Judgement is inevitable. There will always be someone who has something to say. Their blind judgement will always hurt, theres no way around it. You will be judged and it won't feel good. We have all been judged at least one time in our life and it left a lasting imprint that we still carry over our shoulders. Breaking those chains are hard, I still have a few of my own. Instead of looking at judgement as something negative, I look at it as a way of growth and self discovery. I tell myself, "they see me like that, but God sees me like this- always". I've learned to understand that all feelings are valid, they might feel this way, but I know how I feel; and even more importantly how God feels about me.
14. Acceptance. Acceptance of yourself and others is so powerful. There are so many limitations in this world. We might be in the land of the free, but yet there are so many road blocks (both literal and not). This is a challenging area to grow in. Our world tells us that acceptance is important and it should always be taken into consideration, and yet we continue to build walls and discriminate in as many areas and ways that we can. We are all human. It doesn't matter who we are, but who's we are. Just remember that.
15. Yoga is amazing. In one hour I will be a zen yogi who has reached enlightenment. Wether you do yoga to say 'I do yoga' or you do it to improve flexibility and core strength or my personal favorite, to relax, yoga is a lot easier than you think. You don't need to be flexible at all. It is a great outlet to find a quiet place to talk to God while working on yourself as He works on you.
16. It's okay to fail and mess up. That is how some of the greatest lessons are learned. When you were learning to ride a bike as a kid, you fell a few times (or if you were like me, a lot of times). But that didn't stop you from learning to ride your bike did it? No, you got up and tried again until you got it right. Don't stop when times get tough and the waves start to rise. Yes, you will fail. Thats okay. I know that our society tries to tell us that once you fail, you receive a patch of dishonor that you have to wear at all times. This isn't true. Learn from your mistakes and allow your next move to be the best and strongest one you've ever made. Jesus doesn't count your failures and neither should you.
17. Accepting being wrong shows strength. Being aware that you and me are human is important. We will make mistakes and we will be wrong at times. Saying, 'I am wrong' is a hard sentence to string together when we have already made up our mind. So swallow the pill and be the bigger person. Humble yourself and if anything it shows that you are able to look at situations from different angles.
18. Take advise from people older than you. They have gone through what you are experiencing right now. I know its easy to say 'You don't know what I'm going through. You don't know how I feel.' Yes, you're right, each situation is different in its own special way, but our elders hold so much wisdom that we can learn and grow form. They have experienced things that we probably won't experience in the rest of our lifetime, they have seen parts of this world first hand that we won't be able to, they have been apart of history as it has been written. And soon you will be the 'elder' to the next generation. We are now the 'young whipper snapper' that we will be talking to. Listen and allow them to fill you up, so that you can in turn pour out to others.
19. I am not perfect. In todays society we are flooded with Instagram models and influencers. They are 'PERFECT'. Somehow along the way we have forgotten that those people are in fact human. I still have so much left to learn about this world and my life and that is what I'm excited about. I'm not perfect nor do I think I am. I've come to realize that when you take life one step at a time you can learn so much about yourself and what is around you. To open your eyes, mind and heart to the world around you, you can learn so so much.
20. Life is beautiful, and precious. Even in the bad parts. If things are going wrong now, just remember- things will get better, maybe not as soon as you want them to, but they will get better. We only get one life to live, we can change our look, our style, music preference, and interests; life on planet earth is a gift and you only get it for as long as you get it. Set your heart on the things not of this earth, I encourage you to set your eyes on not only the gift but the giver.
21. Expect nothing, be ready for everything. Sometimes the best things that can happen are unexpected. I never intended to move to Seattle, but it was the best decision I have made. I packed my belongings and looked straight into the life that was before me, not expecting anything in turn. I have been tested in many different ways and experienced a lot of personal growth along the way and I am so grateful. Allow God to move in all aspects of your life and He will. Be ready.
If you read all of that I am honestly surprised. Thank you.
There are so many things that we can learn in this crazy thing called life and I'm sure you have some things that you could add to this list too. I want you to encourage you to take the lessons you've learned, the challenges you've faced, and the trials you've surpassed and allow them to be apart of your life. Don't try to bottle up or suppress the bad into a small box. After all, they are the reason you are who you are and continue to showcase how you've gotten thus far. The things that we experience everyday might not seem like 'miracles' to you, but the miracles that we get to experience are the ways of God showing up and working in our life. Moment by moment, heartbreak by heartbreak, God is changing and molding you- equipping you to be be the tool He will use to build His kingdom. To be used by God is to be chipped and bent, and it is the defining thing that will set you on a course of eternity. The call to holiness starts when we say 'Send Me', and when we are in the process of change, our lips must be quick to praise, for we are being made into something wonderful by a God who is so so good.
You might be thinking, Sara, I work a nine to five job everyday, there is no excitement in my life and I don't see these so called 'miracles' you are talking about in my life. And I have to say, I understand. I get it. Life is hard and society doesn't allow us to say it enough, but trust me there are so many miracles in your life. You are alive, you have a roof over your head, you have a job, you have a family that loves you, friends that support you, fresh air to breathe, and the list could go on and on, but I want to know what you think of. I challenge you to spend some time reflecting on your life and how you've gotten to where you are right now and why you are (fill in your name). Think about last week and the people you spoke life into, or that spoke life into you. Think about last month and the choices that you made. If you did or didn't make them where would you be now? What about last year? Are you still the same person? Do you still have the same wild spirit? Are you still chasing your dreams? Have you found and landed that dream job or are you happily married with the love of your life and two kids? What has been the miracle in your life most recently?
You see, there are so many ways that these little miracles find their way into our lives, and they always seem to be effortless and when we are least expecting them. Allow them to be apart of your story, allow them to flow to the people around you and within you. They are your story, they are beautiful, they are true and they are from Jesus.
Song of The Blog: Called Me Higher- All Sons & Daughters