10 Lessons for 22

I’m a big fan of birthdays. I like the party aspect, but I was explaining to a friend that it’s a lot more than that. Over the course of 365 days, there are so many moments that don’t get celebrated. Moments that simply pass us by without much attention, but it’s in those uncelebrated, ordinary moments that God is shaping us more into who He wants us to be. We are learning valuable lessons in those moments. My birthday is simply a celebration, not of me, but of those moments over the last year that deserve reflection & celebration. As I’ve reflected over the past year of my life, a year filled with 2 moves, 3 new jobs, a graduation, a relationship, a break-up, 3 vacations, a new cousin to be and countless other special things, I’ve learned a lot. Lessons that are special and important. So without further ado, ten of the lessons I’ve learned as a 22 year old!

  1. I’m emotionally attached to television shows. I cried when I finished the entire series of West Wing. I watched 2.5 seasons of Scandal in one week. I am emotionally attached to television. I can go weeks without watching cable, but Netflix is another story.
  1. Sin is serious business. The unintended consequences of sin can destroy relationships and a lack of fellowship with Jesus. I must make a decision to go on the offensive against things that have the potential to distance me from Jesus.
  1. I look forward to the day when I will worship Jesus with people of every culture, nation, tribe and tongue. Until then, I want to surround myself with believers from all over the world with different backgrounds. It’s God’s plan for us to be one body of believers and I’m thankful to be able to see part of His heart on the topic.
  1. This summer I served at a food pantry once a week. All I wanted to do was say, “Woe is me,” at least once a week this summer, but serving others puts things into perspective. I built relationships with those I was serving and got to read gospel tracts to kiddos. I learned that being blessed is outside of current circumstances, but instead something ingrained into the identity of being a Christian.
  1. I’ve always loved my family, but I can’t said that I’ve always liked them, we love to press each other’s buttons and get under each other’s skin. This year, there was a noticeable shift in my relationship with my sister and brother. Emilee and Jake are far funnier than me and just overall beautiful people with huge hearts, and I loved living under the same roof with them this summer, spending time learning from them and watching them grow.
  1. I’ve learned that independence is a gift. A special gift that must be learned through circumstances that may not be of my choosing. Learning to give myself pep talks, take risks and go places all on my own has been one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned in 2013. I make pretty good company for myself, and get more comfortable and confident the more I do on my own. I’m thankful for a season of independence and watching the ways it is transforming me into a healthier individual who can confidently walk with Christ.
  1. It’s the Kingdom or the world. I can’t have my feet in both places. I must choose. Where will I be all in? This year has shown me that I would love to go all in for the Kingdom, to live fully for God and not for me, but man, I fall short. I’m thankful for grace, and for the desire to do things for God. Lord, help me live fully for the Kingdom, ready to give up all things for you, and go where you lead me, not where my selfishness and comfort tempt me.
  1. Injustice fires me up. Especially when it’s against women and children. The statistics are staggering, but the stories are even more heart-breaking. I keep asking God to help me be part of the solution, not part of the problem. May my life be about reconciliation and redemption for victims whose innocence has been taken unjustly.
  1. While in college, it felt like every other weekend there was something to celebrate or a reason to be excited. Once you graduate from college, the reasons to celebrate are often times more significant – weddings, new jobs, raises, babies – but they are less frequent. This fall, I’ve vowed to celebrate even the small things, trying to make a mundane and the ordinary something beautiful. I’ve learned that even the small stuff, however ordinary it may be, is a cause for celebration.
  1. Honest, genuine community is difficult to find, so when you do find it, hold onto it. I’ve referred to my community in Indianapolis this year as a “soft place to land”; I went from being surrounded by almost all my best friends in the spring, to no community at home during the summer and now there’s a happy medium. Fighting for friendships is worth it. I’m thankful for friends who will eat dinner with me, come to events I throw and share their lives with me – no matter how far apart we may live. I’m thankful that community on earth paint just a mere imitation of what fellowship with Jesus will look like in Heaven.
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