7 Things I wish I Knew When I Was Your Age...

Last Friday evening I spoke to a small group of young Spanish women on this topic and I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts with you too. I am specifically leaving out our ages in hopes that this post will encourage you regardless of your current season of life.                                  Lots of love from Barcelona! Jess 

1. What I have is enough. (We made a video about that.) 

2. I am not fat. It’s amazing how often we girls think that about ourselves, even when we don’t admit it. But I look back at photos and it wasn’t true. Even when I was at my largest, condemning myself with that awful “F” word just didn’t do anything good for me. The truth is that my body is valuable and needs to be treated with care, regardless of its size and weight. When I remember that fact then it is easier to think kind thoughts when I catch a glimpse of my own reflection. Health is important, nutrition is important, but there is far more to life than having a picture perfect figure. It’s okay to look bad in photos sometimes. It doesn’t mean I am ugly. I don’t need to speak badly about myself, even when I’m feeling frumpy or broken out. And if being on social media is making me feel bad about my life, it’s time to unplug, for an hour or a day, or longer if I need it. The internet is a place for highlights, it’s not real life, and if I can’t make that distinction in my heart, then I am ready for some time away. Comparison rarely results in anything productive. 

3. The big moment is now. We spend so much time waiting for that “big thing” to happen to us, the thing that will make sense of our lives and change everything. But it never comes, and in waiting for it we often miss out on all that God is doing here and now. Big moments are happening all around us, with these people and this job and this relationship status. We must know that and train our eyes to see beauty in otherwise mundane moments. We need to celebrate and throw parties for no reason or any reason. We must learn to always always treasure the season we are in. 

4. My stories are important. Write them down. Tell them to a friend. Reflect on them often. It’s one thing to say things like “God is a provider”, but it’s another thing altogether to recall specific times when He met our needs. Stories inspire faith. 

5. It’s okay not to understand when things happen. Mary did't pretend to understand what God was doing when Lazarus died, she was okay to be broken in front of Him. (We made a video about that too, and it's a different video from the one above... even if the screen shot looks the same!)

6. Instead of expecting the worst, expect grace. Expect God’s faithfulness. Our minds are prone to fear, it’s a natural state that happens as we approach something new. At least it’s natural for me. I’m practically a professional worrier. But over and over again the future has surprised me with its goodness and I realize, once again, that I worried and stressed for nothing. God promises to be faithful and He tells us not to worry. I do everyone a favor when I just trust Him on that. 

7. Failing is absolutely okay. It’s part of life. The key is to keep going and never stop dreaming, even when our dreams don’t come true. We need to fight for our ability to dream because life will try and squash that part of our hearts. We also need to embrace failures because they teach us and empower us for brighter futures. Some of the world’s most successful people have been those who have failed big and recovered strong.