With my 25th birthday quickly approaching, I decided it was time to sit down and reflect on what the past year has taught me. Looking back, it’s crazy to think about how much I actually accomplished in my 24th year of life and if I had to choose one word to describe it, it would be bold. Now for those who know me personally, this would definitely not be the first word they’d use to describe me. But I’m inclined to use this adjective because so much of my year was spent stepping outside of my comfort zone. At 24, I finally had the courage to create this blog. I took a risk and left a job that I hated (but gave me more financial security) in exchange for one that I truly loved & granted me more free time to pursue things that mattered to me. I chased my travel dreams and actually made them happen. I prayed big, bold prayers and watched God move. I connected and reconnected with the people around me. I spoke up more. I stood up for people I cared about. I put myself out there. Like way, waaay out there. Which was equally scary as it was rewarding. 24 was definitely a year full of new experiences, unforgettable memories, answered prayers and seasons of growth.
With all of that said, here are 5 of the most important things I learned at 24:
1.) Sometimes you gotta forget about “feeling ready” and JUST DO IT.
As I mentioned earlier, at 24 I finally had the courage to create this very blog – Rejoice in Your Journey! This was something that had been on my heart for the longest time but I was always too afraid to actually start because I didn’t “feel ready.” I had no idea how to run a website, I didn’t have any blogs ready to post, and frankly, I was pretty terrified to open up and share my thoughts/heart to strangers on the internet.
If there’s anything I learned from the past year, it’s that you will probably never feel 100% “ready.” Sometimes we plan and obsess over the smallest details, and we trick ourselves into thinking that we’re not ready because our product or idea isn’t “perfect” yet. But if perfection is what we strive for then we’d never reach the point of feeling “ready”.
This is why we sometimes have to forget about “feeling ready” and JUST DO IT! We must take that leap and simply begin our momentum. It may not be perfect, but at least we have a starting point. And the beautiful thing is we can learn and grow and improve from there. But we can only get to that point if we take that first step forward and JUST DO IT!
2.) There are certain levels of love, strength, connection, and joy that can only be unlocked when we make the courageous decision to be vulnerable.
When I hear the word “vulnerability” a part of me cringes. As I mentioned before, I was terrified of putting myself out there on the internet for everyone to see. I was afraid of the possible criticism, judgment, and the feeling of being exposed. But I found that in doing so, I met so many genuine people who reached out and told me that they too have gone or are going through the same struggles that I shared. It’s a remarkable and relieving feeling to share that “You too?!” moment with someone else. But it’s a beautiful connection that would’ve never happened if we hadn’t chosen to be vulnerable with one another.
And it’s not just online or through this blog where vulnerability has changed the game. I’ve found that in my real everyday life when I open up, it creates a space where the other person feels free to share what’s on their hearts as well. As scary as it is to be vulnerable, it is the place where more joy, more meaning, and more strength can be found.
3.) The voice we choose to speak to ourselves with is SO important!!!
I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!
Near the end of year, I was faced with a lot of stressful things at work and I began to notice that the voices inside my head were becoming more and more negative. It got to the point where I constantly felt physically and mentally drained. It was then that I realized that our self talk whether positive or negative has a huge impact on the way we feel, function, and perform. Being judgmental or critical towards ourselves only brews negativity. Nothing good comes out of focusing on our faults. Not to mention it’s unproductive.
A much better option is using an inner voice that is gentle, kind and more understanding. Try it! An entirely different feeling surges through your body when you choose to speak yourself in a more loving manner. You feel lighter, calmer, and more at ease.
Choosing to practice self compassion over self sabotage is life changing. LIFE CHANGING! So I beg you, please be mindful of your inner monologue. It makes all the difference!
4.) God can use our brokenness to create something beautiful.
Long story short, I had my heartbroken last year. I went throoough it, fam. Lots and lots of ugly crying in the shower, in the car, in my bed, and in my quiet time. It was neither pretty nor easy but as with all heartbreak, I learned to live through it.
I mention this because it was in this difficult season where I learned that God can use our brokenness to create something beautiful. Amidst all of the pain and the hurting, God was using me to encourage others who shared similar struggles. A blessing in disguise, my hurt & heartache helped me connect with so many different people. It sparked the creation of my gratitude journal + several blog posts, and most importantly, it led me back to God.
5.) God is in control.
24 was filled with many highs and a fair share of lows but through every twist and turn, God was with me every step of the way. He was not the slightest bit surprised by any of the setbacks or detours that I encountered. Again and again, I was brought back to the fact that God is in control and that I need only to trust in Him.
When I look back at all of the things that happened this year – the prayers that came to pass, the dreams that came into fruition, the opportunities that presented themselves to me at just the right time- I start to tear up because I see God’s hand in it all. Even in the middle of difficult and painful seasons; even in the people and places I had to let go of and walk away from; and even in the areas of my life that did not turn out the way I had planned or imagined. I can laugh now at all of the things I worried about but God worked out for my good.
Ahhhh, brb while I cry about what a good and faithful God we serve.
“For we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to His purpose.” – ROMANS 8:28 [NIV]
And that concludes my list of things I learned at 24! 🙂
Cheers to 25! I am ready to rejoice in all the growth & goodness that God has already layed out for this upcoming year. I am pouring you all a cyber glass of champagne and sparkling cider so we can toast and celebrate. See you in my next blog post! 🙂
All my love,