Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reflections of Something Greater

I recently turned thirty ..... (insert gasp here). Yep, that's right, the big 3-0. No longer a "twenty something" or a "young adult", I'm a full on grown-up now.

Turning 30 seems to be a big milestone birthday. I've watched people say that now they are old, that they are depressed, or that they have lost part of their life. A 30th birthday seems to make one question their current life direction and look back on their younger years wishing for an extension of them.

A few days ago my husband (who is only 29 still) and I were talking about how I felt about being 30. It made me think about it, as I have been fairly reflective of my life the last few months. I feel like turning 30 has been a transition point for me, a good one. Perhaps even like I am poised on a precipice waiting to burst into a new season. Here are a few things that I have learned in my life that change my perspective about getting older.

#1 I can [still] do anything I want to do
I grew up watching my parents do everything.  My dad has one arm and he built a master bed and bath addition to our house. My parents have raised us to believe that we could do anything we wanted. Confidence is HUGE. I firmly believe that if I ever needed (or wanted to) that I could personally repair a major appliance, walk the 400+miles to my parent's house, run a marathon, learn a new language, become a professional athlete, or build a house. I say that because one thing that I am, because of my parents (mostly my dad) I am confident in myself.

#2 Don't fail at things
I've never considered myself a failure. I've succeeded at everything I have ever tried. That doesn't mean that I am perfect at everything, or that I have never experienced set-back or defeat (anyone who bowls with me knows I'm not perfect at everything!). But it does mean that I have never let that be the final say in a situation. I never end things on a bad note. If you always pursue God's direction and doing the absolute best that you can do,  then you will be a success at everything you do. You get to choose how to end a situation and when to walk away from it; do it on a good note.

#3 Don't compare yourself to others
Its the first thing we do. The second we get into a room full of new people we start comparing. It is human nature to want to know where we stand in the hierarchy of society, and to always want to be moving up that social ladder. Comparing ourselves to others only creates and feeds tension. I don't compare myself to other women, I like to look at their lives and encourage them. Some of my best friends are people I could easily get into a competition with, but we have both chosen not to. Competition is a great thing in the right setting. Competition can bring things out in us that we never knew we had, it drives us to work harder and do more than we ever imagined we could do. But that work and determination should always be for good. Next time, instead of trying to be better than someone, give them a complement and encouragement.

#4 Rushing things only makes you frantic
Matt and I still have a lot of dreams and things we want to do in our lifetime. Last year after our miscarriage I started feeling frantic, like we had to instantly decide if we wanted to try getting pregnant again, pursue adoption, etc. Then I stopped for a moment and looked at the bigger picture. Yes, 30 years of my have passed and they aren't coming back. But I still have more years than that left. There is a balance between rushing and procrastinating,  it is called peace. Find the peaceful timing of your plans and dreams.

#5 Mountains can be gone over, gone around or gone through
Going over a mountain isn't always the best route. Some of my favorite memories with my husband are ones we spent driving on long highways driving around and through mountain passes. When you encounter a "mountain" situation take a step back for a minute to look at all your routes to the other side before you start barreling over it. In your rush to conquer it, you may miss the paved road that leads around it.

#6 Change only when you want to
Peer pressure is awful. And contrary to popular belief, it does not end after graduation from high school. I've never been one to "go with the flow". I've been the one glared at because I wouldn't go along with or agree with the group. Standing up for something you believe in when no one else will stand up is hard. Morals and ethics are personal to each of us. They are formed between us and God. The moment we let someone else change who we are or what we believe is the moment we start living for others and not for God.

#7 Be the good you want to see in the world
There is a lot of bad stuff happening out there. I mean, have you watched the news lately? It is scary. The Bible says there will be wars and rumors of wars in the end times, and we are there. Fear doesn't get to have the final say. Terror, panic, evil and even death don't get to be the end. We get to stand up and let Jesus have the final say. If you (like me) are disgusted and dislike the world around you, then start doing something about it. You don't have to become Mother Teresa overnight (or at all), but you certainly can start with the one person in front of you. Give a smile to the cashier who messed up your order, cut the mechanic some slack when he diagnoses your car wrong, and smile at everyone. A little bit of change can go a long way.

#8 Never underestimate a single action
My brother gave a sermon at his church last week and I was listening to the podcast of it. One of the things he said really stood out to me. He said that people have it prophesied over them or dream to preach to/save thousands, but no one starts preaching to stadiums full of people. If we stopped and shared Jesus with one person a day, we would preach to 365 people a year, and in three years we would have shared with 1,000 people.

Think about the course of 10 years. If you shared Jesus with one person a day for 10 years then you would have preached to 3,650 people. And what if each of those people shared kindness/Jesus with another person a day for those 10 years? The effect of your one kind and loving act (even a smile or a "God bless you") can have a HUGE impact in the world! Make your impact a good one.

I've done a lot of things so far in my 30 years. I won a collegiate national championship in crew (rowing), have biological children, lived in a very 3rd world country, only been intimate with one man my whole life (love you, Matt! Our wedding night giggles are still some of my favorite memories), shown people the love of Jesus, prayed the "salvation prayer" with people, and loved the person in front of me. I've done and seen a lot, but I have a whole lot more left to do and see. 

I have a lot of things left on my dream/bucket list, but I don't feel pressured or rushed to do them. There are years and years left ahead of me and the perspective I have heading into them sets the tone for how they will be. My first 30 years aren't gone or wasted. Just like an iceberg, only the tip of my life has been shown so far and I have years ahead of me. My first 30 years are reflections of something greater.

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