Instead of the anticipation-filled, party planning frenzy that turning 30 can often incite, it actually had the opposite effect, causing me to withdraw for a while, trading outwardly sharing my thoughts and writing for long periods of solitary, internal contemplation.
Approaching 30 has made me more reflective, inward-facing, introspective, self-analyzing, and downright moodier than I’ve been since my silent, brooding teenage years. But, as promised, midnight does not last forever, eventually the dawn breaks, and with it, the light comes.
So the following list of 30 lessons I’ve learned was born out of my emergence into that glorious light. Despite my fears that 30 would be filled with despair and disappointment (mostly with myself), I can say with confidence that the God I serve really does “make all things new”.
This morning, I woke up to welcome 30 with joy, peace, contentment, a renewed mind, a reinvigorated sense of purpose, and a vivid reminder that this life is temporary, so I need to set my eyes, and heart, on the things that matter most, on the things that will last. So here is my list. Take from it what you will. I look forward to the incredible days and years ahead! Happy Birthday to Me!
1. Make every day count.
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. Love your hair. Even the gray ones.
4. Basking in the moment is far more important than documenting and posting it.
5. Protect Your Peace. Relentlessly.
6. Worship without restraint.
7. You. Are. Loved. More than you know.
8. Don’t let anyone but God design or define your life and future for you.
9. You are an original work of art.
10. Yes, those are your mother’s words coming out of your mouth.
11. Some things are worth fighting for, and some things just aren’t worth mentioning. Learn to know the difference.
12. Your dreams matter.
13. Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1
14. Do not despair in the twilight tussles between God and self. Your true identity is revealed in the wrestling. Just ask Jacob. Genesis 32:28
15. Pray. Without. Ceasing. Literally, have an ongoing dialogue between yourself and your Heavenly Father. A very wise woman once told me that the key to finding peace and contentment even in the everyday, mundane, tedious tasks of life, is learning to welcome God’s Presence into each moment, no matter how seemingly insignificant. It works. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
16. Family matters! Be present!
17. Mentors matter! Have one! Be one!
18. Sleep matters! Your brain and body will thank you!
19. Seek Divinely-orchestrated friendships. They make the journey that much sweeter.
20. Embrace your Vision. Build your Dream. Even if entrepreneurship isn’t your thing, find an outlet, an opportunity, an organization where you can make the most of the gifts you’ve been given.
21. Identify your gifts. Acknowledge them. Call them by name.
22. Use your gifts to enrich the lives of others, and you, in turn, will find your own life made richer.
23. Remarkable transformations happen one small adjustment at a time.
24. When you are tired, the house is a mess, the laundry needs to be done, you’ve had a long day at work, and someone keeps hollering “mommy, Mommy, MOMMY”, over and over for no particular reason, children are STILL a blessing.
25. Stop reading so many of those “Things You Should Know, Do and Have By 30” articles. They make you paranoid that you’re failing at life.
26. You are doing much better than you think.
27. Be strong and very courageous. Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Joshua 1:9
28. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
29. Live out loud, with your whole heart, as if the next moment could be your last. Show the compassion, give the love, share the smiles, demonstrate the care you want to be remembered for. Your actions today become your legacy tomorrow.
30. Try Jesus.