Today is my 36th birthday. I was going to piggy back off of last year’s post and make a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year and I got stumped. My ultimate bucket list is growing, as it should, but my yearly list of goals is growing shorter. So, I decided to post about 36 life lessons I’ve learned in 36 years. The plan is to add one life lesson to the list every birthday. I am not proclaiming to be a wise woman. But, I am proclaiming to be a woman full of imperfections and testimonies to share.
Your body needs to refuel. We refuel our electronics, why not our bodies? Don’t ever feel guilty about resting your body. It is a part of healthy living and benefits your heart, weight, mind, and more.
2. God loves me
Regardless of my mistakes. Regardless of my choices in life. Regardless of my behaviors. I know one thing to be true, God loves me. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.~John 3:16
3. Build a relationship with Christ
You have been wired with a need for Jesus. Building a personal relationship with Him will give your life a sense of purpose and need to live life to the fullest. If you have ever felt like your life is missing something, try building a relationship with Christ, that just may be what you are missing. What will it hurt?
4. Find your person
Just like Christina Yang and Meredith Grey were to each other on Grey’s Anatomy, you need that same relationship in your life. I have my person and have had my person since freshmen year of college when she talked my ear off. Little did I know, that endless chatter would be one of the most consistent voices I need in my life. I have my husband, I have my mother, and I have my sister…but none of them compare to my person. I can say and be me without worrying about judgement or intentionally hurting feelings. She is my prayer partner and bible study warrior. You need that one person to “tell you like it is”, have your best interest at heart, allow you to follow your own path, love you anyway if (and/or when) the pieces fall apart, and not say, “But, I told you so.”
Go to Half Price Books, get you a journal and start journal writing. Journaling helps you put your life in perspective. You can process where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.
6. Stop worrying
Worrying is a form of pride. When we worry, we think we can fix it or that we have all the answers and clearly we don’t. Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.~Philippians 4:6
7. Live life with no regrets
Life is a journey. We are all on that journey and our purpose is to experience life to the fullest. Follow the light you have, the truth you know, and don’t look back. For what?
8. Learn from your mistakes
You will not stop making mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger and wiser. Learn from them and share them with others for their own good.
Get up. Get out. Do something. You know why. We all know why.
10. Eat better
You are what you eat and that is the truth. Stop eating crap. All it takes is little changes and eventually your entire body will thank you. Plus, you KNOW you need to eat better.
I have opened my mouth more than ever before in this last year. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am better for it. My relationships are stronger and I have been released from the unnecessary weight of silence.
12. Stop trying to be perfect
There is only one Jesus and he ain’t you. We will never be perfect so now I say, “I’m not a perfectionist. I’m anal.” Seriously, all we can do is be the best version of ourselves.
13. Let it go
From the classic movie that every parent has seen entirely too many times, Frozen, LET IT GO! Whatever it is, whenever it happened, let it go. It is doing nothing more than adding negativity and bitterness to your life and it’s not worth it.
14. Get off the comparison train
William Jones, Mary Jones, the entire Jones family has issues too. So, I had to stop one day and ask myself, “Why are you comparing yourself to them?”
15. You will fail
I have failed and succeeded more than once. In every failure there is a lesson that leads to another success. So, I keep failing! God will take our greatest failure and turn it into our greatest strength time and time again.
16. Live debt free
Debt is evil. It makes no sense to me. I have learned that you can live a life without credit cards and loans. If I can’t pay for it, I don’t need it. I have failed and succeeded at this so many times in my lifetime and I am determined to continue in success one step at a time.
17. Start your day with quiet time
For a little over 3 years now, I have been intentionally waking 30 minutes earlier to have my quiet time with God. I complete my bible study, prayer, and meditation. This has allowed me to give to God and receive from God. I am being obedient to him, yet I am receiving several blessings in the process.
True forgiveness is choosing not to think about it anymore. Consider the debt PAID IN FULL! Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.~2 Corinthians 5:17
Becoming a listener takes practice. Listening is a true art form that requires patience and even restraint. When listening to others or even that voice in your head, you must restrain yourself from “talking back”. Just let the words flow through your mind. Only respond if there is a request for one. Otherwise, shut your mouth and LISTEN!
20. Take the first right step
It may be a small step, but take it. It is your step to take. You will never know unless you take that first step.
21. Everybody’s got their something
It may seem like that other person is perfect. They appear to have it ALL together. The truth is, they don’t. Everyone is struggling with something, self-worth, depression, debt, illness, body image, the list could go on. We are all flawed. It’s how we manage our flaws that makes the difference.
22. Find your something
Discovering and following your passion for work or hobby allows you to feel that you life has a purpose and meaning. It gives you a release from the hardships of daily life.
23. Challenge yourself
The real stuff happens when we step out of our comfort zone. I have done my fair share of putting my self out there-yoga, crossfit, running, kickboxing, swimming, presentations to corporate leaders, teaching teenagers, writing a blog, starting an online business, becoming a work at home mom-the list could go on. I’m so over it that now I just jump right in. Either I will sink or swim, but I’m going to learn something and the end result is usually life changing.
24. Be faithful
It took about 34 years for me to full grasp the concept of faithfulness. For me, being faithful gives me the energy and determination to put one foot in front of the other. We are a microwave nation. We want our results now. We have everything else available in an instant through the use of our tablets, computers, and phones. So, when being faithful takes longer than desired, I instantly want to jump ship. But, being faithful means staying the course. By being faithful, I am always rewarded on a larger scale than I could have ever imagined.
25. You can’t do it all
My husband has been telling me since college that I overdue it. I let my plate get full and then I end up trying to juggle several plates. And we all know the ending of this story. EPIC FAIL. I have tried to set priorities, discover my boundaries, and learn to say no. The power of the word, “NO”, is unbelievable. The world will go on with or without me. So, I’ve learned that if someone else can do it better, LET THEM!
26. Trust your gut
If you feel it, go with it. By trusting your instincts, you are trusting yourself first. And who better to trust than yourself? Or do you not trust yourself? If that’s the case, that is another lesson learned.
27. Being healthy is more than eating right and working out
I have learned the hard way that for me being healthy means getting sleep, taking time for myself, communicating, drinking water, making and keeping doctor’s appointments, AND eating right, AND working out. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is more than a vanity complex.
28. Sometimes that deadline will come and go
Now, I know that some deadlines are not meant to be missed. I’m not naive. But, rest easy. Those other deadlines can be reset to ensure your best work is on display. I had a deadline for this post and it already thirteen days late. All I can do is keep writing and move on. I can’t lose sleep or waste energy. That is really not helping my situation. I can only acknowledge my mistake and move on.
Live on less. Get rid of excess. If you don’t need it, rid your life of it. Clutter is an indication of the status of your life. By removing clutter, you will minimize your life which will help you focus on what really matters. I automatically feel 10 pounds lighter when I declutter.
I absolutely love to travel. My husband and I love to immerse ourselves in other cultures. Traveling allows you to temporarily step out of your box, try new things (and food), and relax. In many travel situations you will be forced to release control and go with the flow.
31. Give your kids the attention they deserve
Kids are only kids for a short number of years. This time will pass so quickly. I have never heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time at work.” But, I have heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time with my kids.” I will NOT have that regret on my conscious. I have learned to slow down and be present with my littles. I listen, respond, and show interest. Even if I don’t want to talk about, see, or hear another video game strategy or Frozen revelation!
32. Give to others
When I think about giving, I automatically think of monetary giving. But, giving to others does not necessarily mean a cash donation. I can give my time or even skills to help someone. It can be as simple as babysitting for another mom, volunteering my time at the kids’ school, or even visiting a sick friend. “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your had to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.~Deuteronomy 15:11
33. Being a parent is the most difficult career on Earth
God gave me these children because He knew I was adequate. So, I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time and when it gets hard it is HARD. But, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability as my service to Him.
34. Fight for it
Whatever it is, whoever it is, fight for it. You may not think so, but you have a little bit of fight left in you. Life is worth living if you have a fight to win.
35. Be grateful
I have so much to be grateful for. When I truly examine my life, my gratitude list is overflowing. I am grateful for every experience, every failure, every success, every mistake, every friend, even the gym membership I love to hate. I am grateful and blessed beyond measure.
36. Love hard
I have learned to love hard even the situation or other person makes it difficult. God loves me regardless of my many mess-ups, so, who am I not to love others? We love because God loved us first.~1 John 4:19
photo credit: Erwin Winkelman via photopin cc
What are some life lessons you’ve learned thus far? Have you mastered any of lessons I’ve shared? Please share below because I have a LONG way to go!