Today is my Birthday! This is such a special day for me for many reasons. One of them being I am the BIG 25!!!! Yep, I am officially old…er! It is still hard for me to picture myself as a 25 year old, but I am. I think the reason this is so hard for me to fully comprehend is because in my young, adolescent mind I had a very different picture of what 25 would look like for me. I always imagined I would be married, or at least in a serious relationship headed towards matrimony. I would be living alone with a full time job with benefits. I would either be pursuing higher degrees of study or just completed my Masters degree. This is the portrait of my life that would be my reality at 25. Adult. Settled. Predictable. Expected.

If I could go back to my teenage self, I would tell that girl to tear up that picture, because your life will not even come close to that image. Although my life is nowhere near what I always thought it would be at this age I am also so glad that it isn’t. For once in my life I am so glad things did not go to plan…at least not my plan. I can confidently say that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at exactly when I’m supposed to be there doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It is so amazing and freeing when you surrender complete control to God and allow Him to not only plan but direct your future. That’s the thing about God ordering your steps. You are walking in His will. Even if I make a wrong turn (believe me there have been plenty along the way) God has even accounted for that as well. He just reroutes me to be back on course. There are no coincidences in God. Everything, from the good to the not so good, happens for a reason. I may not be where the world expects me to be, but I am so glad I am exactly where God destined me to be.

So, as I reflect on the last 24 years of my life and prepare to enter into this new season. There are many, many lessons I have learned, but I summed up the 25 Gifts from God. I have listed them below in no particular order for I believe each are equally important and necessary.

  1. If I don’t have “it” – whatever “it” is, it’s because I don’t need “it”. A.K.A. Be content with your  portion!
  2. Stepping out of my comfort zone is really hard, scary, overwhelming, and even risky but the best and most growth can only occur outside of it.
  3. The texture of my hair, body weight, clothes/shoes I wear, skin color, etc. does not make me beautiful. All of those things a temporary and will pass away with time. My real beauty comes from the God-given gifts I have to offer to the world.
  4. Stepping out on faith is the easiest step. To keep on stepping when things get hard, confusing, scary, risky, lonely, etc. is the true step of faith.
  5. Man/woman will disappoint me every day of the week, but God will never fail me! I must put my trust in God alone.
  6. I don’t need the validation or approval or praise of any man or woman. My worth is not dependent on their approval of me. My worth has been determined by the God who created me in His image. My God thinks I am amazing!
  7. Being single is NOT a curse or even something to be ashamed of. It is a gift from God. Cherish the time you have with God to be completely and continuously focused on doing His will.
  8. No matter what is going on good or bad, as long as I am in God’s will nothing and no one can kill or destroy me. I may get knocked down, run into some setbacks, and even be delayed in my progress, but even Satan has to receive God’s permission to touch me.
  9. I am stronger than I look.
  10. I have a purpose for being on this earth. A calling on my life to be great and to do great things in God’s name.
  11. Remember to always search for rainbows after a storm, count the stars on a dark night, admire the shape of the moon, listen to the rain, and let the sun’s rays kiss your skin. These are all beautiful ways God whispers “I love you”.
  12. Always demand and expect the best from people. Especially any man who wants to occupy my time…Just as God gives me His best and pursues me so should any man who wants my attention or time.
  13. Speaking of time, I’m not about wasting any. No time for random men or relationships. I’m not working to be someone’s girlfriend. I am working now to be the right one’s wife.
  14. God is mindful of me.
  15. Meet new people you would never go out of your way to meet. Learn a new language. Try new foods. Do something you’ve always wanted to try. Take an interesting class just because. Read a book about a topic that interests you. Never stop learning or growing.
  16. Don’t schedule work during your vacation.
  17. Spend real, authentic, uninterrupted, quality time with God every single day.
  18. What God has in store for me is so much better than anything I could get for myself.
  19. When God closes a door, keep it closed! It’s closed for a reason. The closed door is a blessing blocking you from an unnecessary burden.
  20. It’s not about me! I am not the center of the world. I am a very small piece to a much bigger picture. Learn to appreciate and respect someone else’s world.
  21. “No” is a complete sentence.
  22. Worrying is fruitless. God has not failed me yet, He won’t start now.
  23. You can’t be everyone’s friend. Some people don’t deserve that title in your life. Some people you just have to pray for and love from a distance.
  24. Allow God to be God in the relationship. Learn to submit to His will. Die to yourself daily.
  25. Sometimes God has to remove me from everything familiar, easy, and comfortable in order to develop certain characteristics, skills, and faith that is needed for the next step of the journey. These things could only be grown in this particular place under these specific circumstances.

Many people love to ask me what is next?  I am living out a dream that I have never dreamt, in a place I never imagined, doing things I never thought possible let alone an option. To be completely honest, I have no idea what comes next. One of my favorite Christian authors Priscilla Shirer says it best in her book One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land, “for the first time in my life my future is filled with something called ‘surprise’ and ‘adventure’. Instead of the never ending known, I am venturing into uncharted territory.” I am finally free from the “expected life”. The amazing feeling of being free from the pressures of the world. This blessed freedom of not knowing the next step I must take. The blessed freedom of trusting completely and continuously in God’s plan and not my own. The blessed freedom of not seeing the entire staircase, but still walking in faith.  Real trust. Complete trust. Continuous trust. Free from the pressures of the future. Free from the ghosts of my past. Free to just dwell in God’s presence. Rest in His arms with the full knowledge that He has my life in His hands. To truly trust in His will. To walk by faith and not by sight. To close my eyes and jump! Free to live abundantly in Christ! Oh what a feeling! I know 25 will be an amazing, life altering, fruitful, beautiful year! Happy Birthday to me!

7.31

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