In about a week’s time, I will be turning 33 years old. I have been told that after 28 a woman should never reveal her true age, but I must politely agree to disagree. I’m not ashamed of my 33 years; to be honest, I am proud of them! I am who I am because of them, and more importantly, I am becoming who I am becoming because of them. I have seen the faithfulness of Jesus in every single year. I have discovered more and more the love of God in each of them. 33 years have come and gone, and I am overwhelmingly thankful when I look back at all of them. They have been 33 wonderful gifts packaged into 12,045 days broken down into 289,080 hours.
That’s a lot of days and even more hours, and sometimes I feel like I should have accomplished more with those days than I have. Other times I feel like those days have been a rather remarkable mix of magnificent beauty, terrible pain and everything in between. And sometimes I even feel as those 12,045 days have come and gone so quickly that I can’t seem to keep up with the speed at which they move. They are like a stack of papers thrown into a windstorm, and I’m chasing and jumping and frantically grasping at whatever single sheets I can get my hands on. The ones I do recover are crumpled by my own grasp, and even though they form a sizeable stack, I can’t help but wish for the ones I see floating away into the distant space of lost hours and unrealized dreams and inescapable forgetfulness.
But I cling to the stack that is mine. It may be crumpled. It may be small. But it is mine. My life lived. My days numbered. My story pieced together. My story of God’s goodness.
As I reflect, these crumpled pages of days past are making a whole lot of noise in my soul! These pages are swaying to the breath of the One Who put ink to them in the first place. The Perfect Author is drawing me back to the stack of memories and moments and meltdowns and madness and majesty all scribbled down for me to reread, for me to count, for me to arrange… as a gift to YOU.
For my 33rd, I want to give you a little something. It’s not a million dollars or a new iPhone or even a Starbucks gift card. But it is costly. At least it has been for me. And the Bible does say it is more precious than rubies and to be more desired than gold. So there’s that.
I have wrapped up for you some wisdom.
Below are 33 ‘aha moments’ I’ve had in my short 33 years of living. To be clear, I don’t claim to know a lot in this life (seriously, there is more that I don’t know than I do!), but I do know that following Jesus is always an adventure with lots of learning curves along the way. Perhaps a few of these will help you in the midst of whatever life lesson you are in the middle of. And whatever age you are, whatever day of life you are currently living, may you be encouraged that Jesus Himself is authoring your story, and that the best chapters have yet to be lived!
33 Discoveries in 33 Years
- Look past poor packaging to receive the gift inside. Even when things or conversations don’t go the way you’d like, there is something to be gained from the experience.
- Learn from the principles that make someone else successful, but don’t try to duplicate their same success. Yours will be different, as it should be.
- Ministry is about worshipping Jesus and loving people. If it’s about anything else, you are missing the point.
- There’s more you don’t know than you do know. That will always be the case, so you should always maintain a teachable spirit.
- If you want to see something change, pray. And then be prepared for it to not only change things, but to also change you.
- Peace is a direct result of obedience to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.
- The greatest message you will ever preach is the one you live away from the pulpit.
- There is no greater aspiration in this world than simply to serve others like Jesus did.
- Pruning always has a purpose. God is always preparing you for what He has already prepared for you.
- You will never go wrong with kindness.
- Don’t want people to want to be like you. Want people to want to be the best version of themselves they can be after spending time with you.
- Don’t withhold encouragement. Give it away freely because people always need it more than they let on.
- Never EVER let fear decide your fate.
- At the end of your life, you’re not going to be thinking about to-do lists that didn’t get completed or tasks that weren’t accomplished. You will, however, be thinking about the people around you, and hoping they know just how deeply you love them. If that’s what will matter at the end of your life, it might as well be what matters now.
- This life is short. Eternity is long. Your best bet is to live with eternity in mind.
- Character matters. Who you are becoming matters even more than what you are doing.
- Don’t despise small beginnings. Every great story starts with a first chapter.
- Arrogance is simply the language of insecurity. It’s the truly humble that are truly confident.
- The right thing spoken at the wrong time will never yield the right result. Be patient and value self-control.
- Faith is never really faith until it is acted upon. All talk and no action is simply a horrible misuse of time.
- Scars are the evidence of healing. Don’t try to hide them; each one tells a story of grace.
- You can’t live a healthy life while spiritually starving. You must eat daily from the Word of God and prayer.
- Great compassion fuels the Great Commission. Let yourself be affected by people’s pain. Let it impact the urgency in which you share the Gospel.
- People are people, not projects. Love them for who they are, not for what they can do for you.
- When you know Whose you are, than you can begin to know who you are.
- Invest in the health of your soul even more than the development of your abilities.
- Pace yourself and take care of yourself. No one else will do that for you.
- If you know you are going to laugh about it someday, you might as well go ahead and laugh about it today.
- Give grace, because sooner than later you will hope people will do the same for you.
- Busyness does not produce fruitfulness. Being connected to the Vine does. Your intimacy with Jesus ought to determine your to-do list. Never let it be the other way around.
- Courage is not the absence of fear, but the Presence of Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and you can conquer the world.
- Don’t turn a blind eye to injustice. Do what you can with what you have.
- You can either seek the applause of man or the will of God, but you can’t seek both.