Throughout this year, to say that God has been working on me, stretching me, and growing me is an understatement. God has graciously taught me lesson upon lesson, and I wanted to write down a few of them. I do not have any of it all figured out, but I know that He is continually helping me to work on these areas in my life. I will continue to update this list as the year goes by:
– Learn to accept your limits: We cannot do it ALL even if we want to.
– Take time to rest: Choose at least one day out of the week where you “turn off” and simply enjoy the day that the Lord has given you. Do something fun or relaxing! Take a nap :]
– Accept people exactly how they are: Know that every person has a different story and different events in their life that have shaped them to be who they are today. Always seek to understand.
– Always choose to believe the best in a person: Don’t base anything off of assumptions.
– Open, honest, thoughtful communication is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. Don’t withdraw and don’t lash out.
– Take time throughout each day to stop, be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10): It is always good to refocus your eyes back to Him continually throughout each day.
– Be open to the world around you. There is so much to learn, so much uniqueness to it, and so much that reveals God’s glory. Open your eyes to it.
– Be a learner and keep pressing in to opportunities to grow: If you ever stop learning, you may as well be dead.
– Be healthy: Get sleep, eat healthy, take time to rest, work out, and be in the sun.
– Seek to understand what true love is, and ask God to help you love others well (you will not be able to do it on your own strength):
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
– Submit yourself to God every morning, and ask Him to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit each day.
– Seek opportunities to serve others and give of yourself to others:
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
– Get to know yourself more and how God individually and uniquely shaped you to bring Him glory.
– Memorize scripture: This is your number one weapon to fight the lies that the enemy and the world throw at you daily.
– Be ok with interruptions throughout the day: God transcends time and can make up time lost when you are seeking Him. You never know how He wants to use that interruption to grow you or to share His love with someone else.
– Be flexible: things will not always go how you expect them to. Be ready for anything thrown your way. Go with it and have a good attitude.
– Embrace change: Life is an adventure (especially the life of a Christ follower). You never know where He will take you and what the next step of the journey will be. Be ready for change and simply cling on to Him in the midst of it. Be careful of grabbing onto things of the world in the whirlwind of change. It’s easy to get lost when your life feels unstable and out of control.
– Learn about other cultures: Whether you are in America or overseas, place yourself in positions to learn about new cultures and ways of life different than your own. This will expand your knowledge of the Maker of the World.
– Remember that God is a God of hope: Continuously remind yourself that we are never without hope. Even when the world feels so dark, God will one day defeat the darkness once and for all.
– God always seems to work on us in seasons: Embrace the season that He has you in. If the season is hard, accept it, lean into it, and ask God to show you EVERYTHING He wants to teach you during that time. It will NOT kill you, even if it may feel like it will at the time.
– God often stretches and pulls us to strengthen our relationship with Him and to grow us personally. He doesn’t do this out of spite or anger, but out of love.
– Life is hard, period. It is going to be hard if we are walking with God or if we are not walking with God. Decide today that you will hang on tightly to His hand through the storms of life. Be more determined to do so than anything you have ever been determined to do before. It is going to be far better to walk with Him in the storms, than not. You will experience true joy in times you never thought you could.
– Have grace toward yourself: Work hard to grow as a person and in your walk with God, but don’t be so hard on yourself. You are human, you will make mistakes, you are in process, you are not perfect and won’t be until you stand face to face with Jesus. So for now, take a deep breath and have grace toward yourself.
– If you love people, you will experience great pain: Whether it’s leaving someone behind when you move, losing them to death, a broken relationship, or watching them make a life-altering decision. It will hurt. Love them anyway.
“Anyway” by Mother Teresa:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
– We are constantly looking toward our next steps: Where we will go, who will we be with, what job will we have next, etc. But wherever we are at the moment, our purpose is to simply trust God for what’s next, and bring Him glory every day. If you don’t know what’s next yet, God may have you in that place for a purpose. It can be easier to live in the moment, when you aren’t trying to figure out the details of what’s next: “Wherever you are, be ALL there.” – Jim Elliot
– You are most beautiful when you are being yourself.
– You cannot change your circumstances. You cannot change other people. You can change the way you react to your circumstances, and you can change the way you react to other people.