This Friday, I turn 32 years old. I absolutely love birthdays, and any and all people are welcome to make a REALLY big deal on September 18th! It will always be appreciated by me.
But if I’m completely honest with you, the 30’s started off a little depressing for me. Not only did the realization hit that I was getting older, but more so, the 30s started out for me with some major trials and tribulations.
The 30’s haven’t always been easy, yet with each passing month, I’ve grown more and more accustomed to this side of “adulthood”, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Those pesky gray hairs don’t seem to bother me as much, and in fact, I’m both proud and thankful for the life experiences that come with the process of “growing up”.
Today, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons God has been pressing on my heart, particularly this past year. Some I feel like I’ve learned and re-learned, others, I’m still practicing with each day:
- Sometimes the person I need to have the most grace with, is myself. This has been an ongoing lesson for me. Just when I think I’ve mastered it, I find something else to guilt myself over or beat myself up about. I’m learning that the gift of God’s grace, starts when I can pour that same grace over my very own life. I am learning to lay down my unrealistic expectations and my feeble attempts at perfection, and rest in the truth that I am exactly where He wants me to be: faithful, yet flawed…and in desperate need of a Savior. And that my friends, is the best place I can be.
- Take plenty time to enjoy life. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a “do-er”. When it comes to the Martha-to-Mary scale, I tend to lean a touch more toward the Martha. I like to accomplish things, and the more efficient I am, the better. I believe God has greatly used this part of my personality but over the years one lesson He reminds me of time and time again is that I simply need to stop DOING, and start BEING. I’ve become more aware than ever of my tendency to “do” life, without “enjoying” life. I want to take the time to soak in this world and all the blessings in it, but more so, to soak in more and more of my Jesus. Because He hasn’t just given me life- He is my life.
- We have to do our part, but only God can do the rest. My “do-er” self has appreciated this important lesson. This year, I’ve had the opportunity to write, to speak, and to partner with people and ministries I never thought possible. But the greatest lesson I’ve experienced time and time again is that I can only do my part, and trust that God will do His. So many times in my life I’ve TRIED to do His part. I’ve wanted to force certain doors open, or slam others shut. And whenever I’ve taken control, it’s never turned out for my best. But as I’ve learned to sit back and be faithful with the little He’s given me, He continues to multiply my work and efforts 100-fold. He makes it clear that it’s HIS work, not just mine. And I can rest in the truth that He will finish all that He starts. So even when the picture isn’t complete, or when it’s not how I planned, I continue to trust Him.
- Community is a lifeline. Over the last year, we’ve lived in 4 different towns in 2 different states, with the most recent move occurring just two weeks ago. And each time, we’ve had to start over when it comes to connecting and making friends. And let me tell you, the process is completely draining!! But one thing I know is that feeling isolated and alone is even more draining than the effort it takes to connect in community. This year, God has reinforced to me reality that community is a lifeline, because we were MADE for relationships. The friendships I’ve made in each stage of my life have been used to bring me closer to Jesus, and to be frank, to keep me sane! If you’re feeling the sting of loneliness, be encouraged and be deliberate, because you were made for people!
- God CAN be trusted. Oh the gift of learning to trust God!!! And the best part is, He asks us to trust Him for OUR sake, not for His. We spend so much time worrying needlessly, when God is calling us into rest and peace. We can give Him our burdens, because HE CAN BE TRUSTED!! I can’t even begin to tell you of His faithfulness in my life over the past year, from small things to great things. And between you and me, there is one specific miracle I am STILL trusting Him for this year. But from what I know of Him so far the past 32 years, He’s SUCH a good God, and His plan for my life is always for my best. May my soul learn to trust Him even MORE this coming year.
As I reflect on this past year, my eyes well up with tears at the goodness of my God and the richness He’s brought to my life. Life hasn’t always been easy, but God has always been faithful.
He has made every day significant, valuable, and full of purpose because of His spirit alive and at work within me. And there is truly no greater thing.
Here’s to the next year of my life with it’s ups and with it’s downs: May it be dedicated to nothing less than experiencing my Lord, and serving Him to the best of my ability. May I learn to trust more, to love more, and to believe more.
But most of all, may it be a year filled with even more of Him.
For me, and for you as well.
“Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.”
For more on learning what it means to enter into a relationship with Jesus, check out this link!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!