The last day of my twenties, or: the beginning of the rest of my life.
“The beginning of the rest of my life.” Okay…that may seem a bit dramatic but that is exactly how I have felt this past year. Today is my last day as a twenty year old. It’s just a little bit crazy, if you ask me! I remember my third birthday so vividly. And, yes, of course it was Barney-themed! What a silly question… Haha It was a Barney-themed third birthday party right along with my Barney pajamas and my Barney bedding. Don’t judge. Let’s be real.
This last year has been an interesting one, to say the least. It has been a year of growth and dreaming like I’ve yet to experience before. As I’m sure many of you have noticed by now, with exponential growth comes that lovely feeling of being “stretched”. Sometimes this feeling can be difficult to explain but it’s definitely recognizable when it’s “upon” you. It’s also beyond what you often think you can handle. Key word: think. Thankfully that saying, “God wont give you more than you can handle” has been proven to be accurate in my life. I seem to find myself in situations and opportunities which seem so much bigger than me, or at least bigger than who I currently am. It’s truly a great place to be for many reasons. This place of stretching causes you to search deeper still and find out who God says you really are. Being stretched also stirs up the dreamer within. Who God has called you to be will always trump who and where you “feel” you are at the present moment.
Although much of it seems small to me when taking in the grand scheme of my future and the size of my dreams, what this last year has taught me has been monumental. (It’s funny to think that what is monumental now we will one day look back on as “just the beginning”.) My twentieth year has taught me many things, many valuable lessons that have strengthened my character and increased my ability to dream bigger. I’ve learned endurance from a whole new perspective, and yet believe there to be much of it still out there just waiting to be discovered.
I’ve discovered the beauty in not just “sticking it out” or “surviving” but faithfully committing to seeing my previous engagements through till the end. And doing so even when those around me or others involved don’t choose to. This isn’t because I’m afraid to admit my mistakes or risk looking as though I failed, but because I know God spoke to me and that, “though none go with me, still I will follow”. There is beauty and grace in the process of genuine follow-through. Leave behind any survival-mode mentalities and learn to thrive in the process of every opportunity and circumstance – no matter what path others around you choose. You finishing well, even if “alone”, is key.
Here’s another one for ya: leading by example is truly the best way to lead! So simple, right? By doing just that you not only tell others which way to go but you’re able to take their hand and guide them along the way. Leading by example is as if to lead by partnership. Along with this simple principle being highlighted this past year, I’ve had this strong desire for the topic of leadership in my life. This ones a bit hard to explain. Simply put, I’m LOVING more and more…all things leadership! I always have but especially this last year. (Maybe even two.) It’s as though it’s running through my veins. Haha All these years of having others speak into my life about leadership, being a leader of leaders, etc., and now it’s brewing stronger than ever. I LOVE it.
I’ve learned to overcome with love and honor. These two are more than powerful enough to equip you for success in every situation in life. Also, that being a woman of integrity is far more valuable than simply “being heard” or getting my point across – even if I am right. Did you know, you having the right heart and doing things with excellence and a source of love is, at the end of the day, enough?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t speak up for yourself or that you should keep quite like a good little door mat. Not at all! Say what you feel you need to say and do so with respect and honor and from a source of love. Yet fighting for the last word, defending yourself until you feel heard, beating others with your excuses and truths, building cases, etc. rarely help…even when you really are right. Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay! Those who truly know you should know your heart as well. If your heart is pure then your genuine and sincere motives of love will shine through the darkest of situations….regardless of what’s said against you. Trust in who He says you are and the reputable character He’s given you.
God has taught me a whole new respect for simply “BEing there” in life. I was in Haiti this last January and one day while I was with my team in the surrounding community I became overwhelmed by a specific need that required attention. I was planning it all out in my mind. I was thinking all about the possible completion process and how my team and I could “totally get this done and cared for”. God softly told me to “sit down”, to my surprise. I was already sitting though. Next, He asked me to “just BE there”. He reminded me to not miss out on the moment I was in with those around me and simply BE present – be all there. Those things can wait another minute and are no where near a priority compared to the ones in front of us. Since then I’ve heard some beautiful messages by one of my favorite preachers Kris Vallotton where he shares about how the Lord has been speaking to him about simply, “BEING PRESENT”. This is key for successful loving and leading.
This last year has stretched and challenged me. It’s also shown me a lot about myself that I’m proud to be able to see, especially this early on in life. I’m so thankful for a full year of countless opportunities and blessings! Many of which I would have never guessed to come to pass already. I’m also thankful for the challenges that have caused me to dig deeper, rely on God, and grow as a woman, a daughter, and a leader. Although I may not know exactly what it all will look like, I DO know that God has things in store for this 21st year of mine that I’ve only dreamed of and prayed for. This next year looks like it too is going to be a stretching year and I’m more than ready. After this year of growth, lessons, favor, opportunities, and so on, it’s just simply the beginning. There is much more to learn and many more people to love-on in the world.
These few things I’ve shared are a tiny snippet of what I feel I’ve learned this 20th year of mine. I’m coming out on the other side with the sweetest perspective of victory and a thankful heart for all God has done in such a short period of time. These phrases have echoed in my heart, “you’re stronger than you think you are” and “I’ve given you everything you need”. God is so faithful. His faithfulness in every season is the theme song of my life.
It’s “the beginning of the rest of my life” and I’m stoked! I say that with pure joy and reverence for this beautiful life God has orchestrated for me. I love being able to look to the future and feel like I could explode with excitement knowing that all I’ve experienced of His goodness thus far is truly just the beginning. I’ve genuinely loved the first 20 years of my life and I look forward to the many more to come as I continue to pursue my King and follow the dreams He’s put in my heart.
Thank You, Jesus!
21, I’m coming for you…