[This is long. You’ve been warned. Enjoy!]
Well, another birthday has come and gone for me. Tuesday, Sept 26, I celebrated my 39th birthday. I am in my final year of my 30s. Hard to believe, but I feel blessed to be here.
My 30s haven’t been at all what I expected them to be. I did get married, which was one of my goals. But every other goal has failed to come to fruition. And guess what? I am not sad at all!! Why? Well, keep reading! [This might be all over the place, but I’ll get to a point eventually!] 🙂
Initially, I wanted to write this super, deep post about living out your purpose in life and I had all of these quotes, etc I was going to share. But I’m going to spare you all of that. However, I have thought a lot about my purpose in life (because ya girl has TIME *lol*). At one point I thought, “What if I don’t have a purpose!?!?” I know I’ve spoken about this before, but yeah, here’s some advice: don’t think this way. Like, never ever think this way because it will mess you up!
Thankfully, my belief in God and my increased prayer life pulled me out of my misery. I know I talk a lot more about God and for those of you that are not Christian, I hope maybe you can open your mind enough to read these posts. Otherwise, I will not be offended if you choose not to read any longer. But this is my life now (always has been) and there’s no way I can talk about certain things without bringing God into these conversations with you. Anyway…
Prayer and studying the Word has given me a new attitude and outlook on life. So when it comes to my purpose, I know that one day, I’ll figure it out. (I think I have already honestly, but more on that another day.) I’ve learned that some of us will meander through life until we can find and fulfill our purpose, while others will find their purpose immediately. We are all different and have different journeys. In today’s world, it’s SO damn hard to remember this, especially with social media. It can be a huge stressor in our lives. The list is endless, but I’ve learned (still learning) that seeing some aspects of someone’s life doesn’t mean that I’ve failed in mine. I must believe that God has something amazing in store for me.
While I haven’t achieved many of the goals in the timeframe that I’ve set, I know that time means nothing to God. All of the time restraints I’ve put on myself (i.e. I want to have a home by this age, I want to have a child by that age), are all irrelevant to God. When you fixate on when something should happen, you make your plans greater than His plans. No bueno. When I thought about that, I stopped focusing on timelines and planning every detail of my life. I still have goals and dreams, which God certainly wants me (us) to have, but I don’t put timelines on them. It’s unnecessary. By doing this, my faith has strengthened and I know that things will work out when the time is right. What’s even more important is that I began realizing that God may have bigger, better plans for me. I meditate heavily on this verse:
“I have plans for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. — Jer 29:11
The above has literally changed my life. If you are a believer, then you understand the immense feeling you get from reading these words. I really don’t know what I would do without His word.
In the grand scheme of things, my life has been wonderful. It’s not what I planned, but everything has worked out. When I’ve given my past some thought, I can see that anything I’ve pushed to make happen, hasn’t turned out well. But when I’ve prayed and let go, things have worked out better than I expected! Until recently, I never thought about those things, as I try not to re-live parts of my past. But for a moment, I think it’s okay to think about past decisions because they can truly be learning experiences.
On another note, I’ve encountered pressure (mainly from family…mainly from my mom) to pursue SOMETHING for the sake of DOING something with my life. I’ve also allowed myself to feel…a made-up pressure? Essentially, always thinking about what people think of me. This imagined pressure has probably caused the most anxiety I’ve ever had in my life. It’s made me feel inadequate and has hindered me for so long. To be frank, I don’t want to be seen as the girl that does nothing with her life. To be more frank: I don’t want to be a loser. No one wants to be a loser, right? Trust me, I would love nothing more than to be DOING something. But I have finally (FINALLY!!!) gotten to the point where I’m going to begin doing the things I’ve wanted to do, regardless of how it sounds or how it looks.
Before I go, I wanted to talk about happiness. I’ve often felt like I was searching and searching for things to make me happy (hello nail polish collection). But it wasn’t until I read a devotional by Brittany Rust called Finding Joy In The Ordinary, that I was hit with a truth bomb:
“Joy is not the same as happiness. While happiness is momentary, joy is not fazed by your circumstances. What’s going on around you shouldn’t determine your joy.Joy is not based on our circumstances but is based on our ability to be thankful.”
When you’re happy, do you notice that you can be so happy in one moment, only to go back to feeling stressed, hurt, angry, sad, unsure, etc, etc the very next moment? Why?
In short: happiness is fleeting while joy is everlasting.
We chase the sensation of happiness. We chase it, we catch it and once it leaves, we’re on the chase again. It’s a never-ending cycle. So what do we do? We find joy.
Joy is what I experienced when I was in the hospital after losing our child. It’s very weird to say that, I know. But through God’s grace, I was able to get through that time and experience joy. Yes, even in moments of despair, we can have joy.
“Joy is not based on circumstances, but it is steady because our focus is on God.”
Even if you are not Christian (you believe in a higher power), you can focus on or believe that there is something bigger than you, anchoring you through tough times. And if you can wrap your head around that notion, that belief can bring you joy. Joy comes from trusting that if things are bad, they will get better. Joy comes from being thankful for life, even if there are things in your life that aren’t going as planned.
I was sad for our loss, but beyond THANKFUL God allowed me to see another day on this Earth. This allowed me to have a smile on my face and gave me strength to get better. My doctor, as well as nurses, were baffled by this with me. I could tell they thought I should’ve been a complete wreck after what happened to me. And I did experience tons of sadness, but I found joy too. At first, it felt strange. I felt extreme guilt because I was happy to be alive. But I began to embrace it because it was truly the power and love of God that brought me through it all.
Keeping my joy and learning to be open to my purpose, is what I want to take with me into my 40s next year. I have also learned trials equal growth. Through them we grow stronger and learn to persevere. We always question (usually with anger), why do we have to experience loss or go through tough times. Next time you wonder those things, immediately ask yourself, “What would life be like if I never had to endure any hardships? What if life were easy? Would we still learn anything?” I’m sure you’ve heard many times that through failures, we learn how to be successful. Whether we’ve loss a loved one, or a relationship ends, these things teach us so much! Yes, they are hard to accept at the time, but little by little, I encourage you to see the lesson.
I’ve learned (and am still learning) many lessons this year. I feel stronger than ever and hope that God allows me to continue learning for many more years to come.
p.s. I edited this for longer than I care to admit. So excuse the typos, the rambling, etc, etc. You know the drill — “It hurts me…blah blah blah” #writerlife 🙂