30 Things 30 Years have Taught Me

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It's hard to believe that I've been 30 a whole month already but every day I wake up, I am so overwhelmed with a peace and happiness that is hard to put into words. One thing that isn't hard to express verbally is how thankful I am for the redeeming and restoring unconditional love of my Heavenly Father! My twenties taught me so many life lessons. Some where hard, many were life changing but the one that came with the most peace was finally being humble enough to realize that trying to do life without Christ was not life at all, and actually surrendering every aspect over to him wholeheartedly. What I've learned, and am still learning for that matter is, my relationship and walk with Christ is actually less about getting from God and more about aligning myself with what God has already destined for me to be and do before I was even my mother's womb. Even though I wish it didn't take my stubborn behind until 28 and a half to realize those things, I will never take the redeeming power of grace for granted ever again! 

Since the moment I rededicated my life to Christ summer 2016, I ’ve looked forward to my 30’s with the anticipation that I’d be a lot more grounded in who I am through His grace.  Having gone through a decade of the biggest changes and moments of my life, I’m excited for what feels like is going to be an even better season of life simply because I know so much better now what I want and what’s important to me.  Birthdays always put me in a reflective mood, and in an attempt to remember that I’m wiser now, here are 30 things life has taught me so far, all significant but in no significant order :

1 | I’ve never regretted putting God before things, but I have regretted putting things  before God.

I am nothing without Him. Life became so much easier when I learned to put Him first and trust everything else will work out in His perfect timing. 

2 | Everyone feels nervous and awkward around new people.  Be the person to break the ice.

I'm a natural introvert. Contrary to everyone's beliefs, I'm really shy and get even more shy around new people. But I'm learning more times than none, when I'm in a social setting, most people share that same feeling and appreciate it and you when you spark up genuine interactions. I promise it will get better the more you try.

3 | No one is thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are.

I mean that as in don’t let what you think other people think about you decide what you do.  In a lot of cases, everyone is so caught up in thinking about how others think of them that no one is actually thinking about each other- how you dress, what you buy, what kind of car you drive, how clean your room is, don’t do it for other people.  The good ones don’t care about that stuff and stick by you no matter what.

4 | Gratitude is everything.

In EVERY situation!  

5 | Success ultimately comes from maintaining good habits and routines.

It’s the daily somethings and nothings that get you where you want to go, everything from eating right, sticking to a schedule, exercising, being punctual, picking up after yourself, getting enough sleep, good manners, keeping promises, everything that makes you happy, productive, and enjoyable to be around.

6 | My parents are dope and are my strongest and most reliable accountability partners.

I really should have known this all along, but in recent years I’m understanding more the advice they give and the Godly decisions they've made, and am extremely very grateful for it all! 

7 | Hold out for what you LOVE.

Things that don’t count: you like it a lot, you think it’s pretty good, it’s really cool right now, or everyone else says it’s dope.  No, you must LOVE it so much it makes you fly, that there is zero doubt in your mind it’s soulmate status.  This applies to everything, but I really learned it from the past few years of being a shoe junkie. LOL!!! 

8 | Be nice and expect nothing in return.

This is one of the best recipes for happiness.  Give generously and forget about it after you do it. 

9 | Following your passion isn’t the end all be all.

It’s amazing if you can make your passion your job, but just because your job isn’t your passion doesn’t mean you’re not reaching your full potential, and just because your passion is your job doesn’t mean you’re impervious to bad days and self-doubt.  Most things boil down to our circumstances and priorities, which are so personal and different for everyone.  Don’t let the idea of “following your passion” doubt a life you are already happy with, but also make room to explore that side of you.  And don’t let anyone convince you you’re not living your life if it isn’t dedicated to your passion, because it can be more complex than that.

10 | No matter how wronged I am, I will do everything I can to act right.

Even when I play out in my head punching someone in the face who did something wrong  to me, I end up happier knowing that I could let it go and move on.  You can’t take back hurtful words or actions, so don’t recklessly throw them at people. "Kill them with kindness" is so much more than a quote and it really does bother people when they know they've done you dirty but see you continue to show them the love of christ. Actual, factual! I'm not telling you to forget their actions, but I am telling you to forgive, let go and let God. 

11 | Working out is SO much more than working out.

4 life lessons that exercising has taught me:

1. It’s hard and it sucks a lot sometimes, but it gets easier.  The hardest part is staying consistent, but you will get stronger.

2. When past goals or benchmarks are no longer challenging you, set new ones.

3. You are more capable than you think.

4. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

12 | Be curious, not judgmental.

Pointing fingers and criticizing a situation you don’t know anything about doesn’t help anyone.  Ask questions and prioritize trying to understand before anything else.

13 | You know that saying that goes "things don’t happen to you, you have to happen to things?"  It’s true.
I spent years of my early 20’s pouting about my life, dissatisfied with how things were going but I did nothing about it, so guess what?  Nothing happened and I stayed in the same cycles that kept kicking my behind.  I had this fantasy that someone or something would come and save me, that I’d get lucky and get catapulted on an exciting path, but what took me years to learn is that you have to go and do it yourself.  It takes hard work, time, and some really, really life changing lessons, but once you're in sync with the will of God for your life, believe in the purpose he's called you to and stick with it, you will see progress and get results all the while  learning a lot about yourself! 

14 | Everything you do is practice until it isn’t.

Always always always always ALWAYS do your best, even if you don’t enjoy it. It creates a better work ethic and it's lessons are far more qualifying than any line on your resume because it builds character. 

15 | You can travel if you prioritize it, like anything else.

The process is different for everyone because obviously everyone’s situations and obstacles are different. My financial maturity was non existence during my twenties and I had the debt and credit score to prove it. While my credit score has nothing to do with travel, it sucks to crave traveling and not have the funds to do it. My financial health is so much better, thank God, but this year I'm dedicated to make it even better and save like a maniac. Prayerfully, starting this summer, I'll be able to plan at least one big yearly trip about 6-8 months in advance going forward.  In that time I'll  save, research and get my affairs in order in preparation for my absence during that time.  I wish I had started doing this sooner, because before I’d come up with excuses that I didn't travel because I didn’t have the time or money but now I know that wasn’t true at all. Put in the effort to figure out what works for you because you NEED to give yourself time off, even if it’s a Staycation, which I'll never be too proud to admit are my favorite. 

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16 | Someone else’s success doesn’t diminish yours.

We need to stick together, lift each other up, and be happy for other people’s happiness.  Jealousy is an unhealthy and ugly monster that is never beneficial and none of us need it. 

17 | If you’re not sure what to order at a restaurant, ask the waiter for their favorites and always go with that.

This has never failed me, but I like being adventurous with food.  Be adventurous with food! It really is good for your soul. Never be too proud to ask questions because you never know what you're missing out on or not missing out on by not asking.  

18 | Surround yourself with positive people.

You don’t have to be friends or acquaintances with everyone you meet. Vibes are extremely contagious and equally important. DO NOT give your time and energy to anyone with continual negative vibes. We are all adults and you owe it to yourself to surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious so stay close to those who make you feel happy and supported.

19 | One of the best gifts you can give someone is your undivided attention.

It’s a fail-proof way to make them feel loved and important. Life is too short. Always strive to prioritize this.

20 | Record your life.

Photos, videos, journals, you don’t have to record everything to the point where you’re missing the moment, but have something you can look back on later and smile about. Years from now it’ll be fun to look back on this list or really anything from this blog and see how my life has progressed for the better. 

21 | Don’t hold grudges.

You don’t have to let people back into your life, but you owe it to yourself to forgive them.  Grudges have a way of breeding other rotten feelings that are better to let go of.  This isn’t the same as getting over it.  Some things we may never get over, but the point is to not let it consume you. 

22 | Absolutely nothing is worth the price of your salvation, health or peace of mind.

NEVER EVER sacrifice these things for anything or anyone.  You can’t live without them, literally. 

23 | Please eat your vegetables.

I wish this one was more fun but I feel passionately about it.  I’ve reached a point where I love and crave them.  There’s a moment of passage into adulthood when you accept that there are things you have to do because the benefits far outweigh whatever your individual feelings about them are.  Veggies are one of them. Drinking water, going to the dentist and getting a yearly eye exam and physical are others.  They’re so so so good for you so  pleeeeaase don’t skip them!!

 24 | Everything gets better once you accept whose and who you are.

Many times we get so focused on our own comfort zones or preferences that we don't take the time to examine ourselves to see what God's word has to say about our lives and our current situations. Once we align our lives, prayers and actions with His word, our faith intensifies because we can rest in the fact that God is bigger than everything we face, He's a good and faithful father and ALL, not some, of His promises are YES AND AMEN! 

25 | Invest in yourself... 
In your financial health, spiritual growth, quality hair and skin products, timeless wardrobe staples, visits to plays and art museums, time with your loved ones especially your parents, quality bedsheets, good books, healthy food, relaxation.....anything that makes you a better, healthier and happier you! 

26 | Never hold back a sincere compliment.

It makes both sides of the interaction happy and is always worth it.

27 | Friendships change and that’s ok.

College especially defined friends as the people you talk and hang out with constantly all the time, but things change, geography gets in the way, and life makes it harder to continue making that kind of time for each other.   It used to bum me out, but I needed to look at it differently.  A lot of friendships have been fleeting, but I’ve also had the same handful of people I can reach out to any time and it will feel like nothing has changed between us no matter how long it has been since our last talk or how far we currently live from each other.  That’s nothing to be sad about. Those kinds of bonds should be cherished 

28 | Open up.

You’re not burdening others with your story.  I’ve found they usually want to hear it and even more, to be there for you. On the flip side you never know who you're inspiring. Closed mouths don't make a difference in the lives of others 

29 | Speak up.

I have a small story that made me see the bigger picture on this.  I went to get a manicure once and the woman who sat down to help me  had dried blood on her fingers that seemed like it was from cuts or ripped skin around her cuticles. With tact, I spoke to the owner and I left. I'll be the first to admit that I HATE  confrontation and upsetting others but that day I found my voice and I have never been afraid to speak up for myself when I feel uncomfortable with a situation. Manicure are not cheap honey and I take them as a very serious treat for myself. Like other things, we need to ask for what we want and express our expectations.  It isn’t mean, it’s communication.  It can also mean standing up for others who need our help. God gave us a voice for a reason. Don't be afraid to use it. 

30 | If you have the opportunity to move somewhere new, do it.

Moving to Atlanta was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  It’s not just about a new location, but the growth you can only find from being isolated from your comfort zones, finding footing on foreign ground, and generally experiencing situations that are new and scary.  All these things make you better.

 Xo, 

Jessica  

 

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