Today I begin the last year of my 20’s! Entering 29, I feel grateful and privileged to age but it does feel a little weird I won’t be in my twenties ever again. I am not fearful of aging (or worried about how I’ll look), this is just my last year with a 2 in front of it and it kind of feels really final to a season of life! So much has happened in this decade – I started my businesses, became a wife, traveled to places I only dreamed of visiting, lost people I love, battled severe anxiety (and overcame a huge part of it, praise God) and really gained even more self-awareness (through a lot of self development work I committed to) and most importantly developed my relationship with Jesus (I only began going to church regularly on my own in my early 20s). I consider myself a life-long learner, so the work is never done but I finally feel like I’m becoming a version of myself that trusts God fully and one that trusts herself as well. He gave me a good gut (or shall I say spirit) and I used to question it a lot. Over the years, He would reveal each time: He is living inside me, guiding me the entire way and I wasn’t wrong when my spirit nudged me about certain situations/people. It all makes sense and brings me so much peace. Here are 29 things I’ve learned in my 29 years…

1. My relationship to my source, Jesus needs to be the priority of my time, devotion and attention. This relationship is not to be put on the side for when it’s convenient for me. It’s the priority above myself, my marriage, family, others etc. The more time and space I make and I give, the more tapped into Jesus I am, the more peace I see in my life. Nothing (not material possessions, pretty places or people can ever fulfill me the way He does). Always make the time.

2. Feelings are valid. I’ve always been frustrated for how over-emotional I am (I was a really sensitive kid), but I have found it to be a gift and no need to apologize for how I feel. Add learning to stop saying “sorry” (unnecessarily) all the time to the list! I have a healthier relationship to my feelings now and have worked to process my emotions.

3. Trust was my word for this year and it’s something I’ve had to be stretched and expanded to really understand and rely on. Anxiety is the opposite of trust, and I so often would give in to it because I trusted myself/own knowledge over trusting God’s protection and plan for my life. I can admit that it’s been the hardest for me to let go of. Trusting in His timing, plans and purpose for my life has been the biggest challenge and yet the most rewarding learning process. It’s revealed a lot to me and it has humbled me. I feel like I can finally rest in His promises. It takes time, so if you’re not there yet, give yourself grace. He has an abundant amount for you too. Lay down the need to control and watch Him bring miracles into your life, it’s way cooler!

4. What is meant for you, will never pass you. When an opportunity seemed to have been “missed” I soon saw that something better was right around the corner. Make peace with what doesn’t come to fruition or happen right away.

5. See as many places as you can in this world while you have the energy and the health. Save your money and go see this beautiful earth.

6. Compassion and forgiveness is magic. Seriously. This wasn’t always my first response, especially earlier on in my twenties. I’d make myself the victim over and over again in situations and relationships. Not discrediting my feelings or the fact that yeah, some people really “screwed me over” but I didn’t need to live or act like a victim because of it. It drained my energy and quality of life. The more you have compassion for others, the more you let go of your anger, disappointment and frustration, you enter into more peace. Do it for yourself! It’s such a burden to carry all of that heaviness with you through life. When you have this for people in your life (or those who are no longer there), you can really live life with more peace and grace. People are messy, we need a lot of grace and compassion because we all have “stuff” we carry and then we project on those around us. I can totally see why those who have hurt me did so — it’s because they were hurting themselves. I send them love and wish them peace.

7. Being vulnerable takes courage, but it is so worth it. No-one gets a badge for being the toughest or having it all together all the time.

8. Being a Christ follower means I keep my arms, heart and circle open. It hurts my heart when I see other followers exclude, judge and condemn others. That is absolutely NOT the gospel I know. I love my friends and family from all beliefs, lifestyles, cultures or current walk with the Lord. I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than included for who I exclude. I’ve learned from the example of Jesus and who He spent His time with and spoiler alert: it wasn’t with all the religious people. He is my example. We all fail to live up to His love, grace and compassion everyday, but I think we have to try and try again. His law is love. Jesus is kind, you be kind.

9. I have unsubscribed to people-pleasing this year. I would so often do things out of obligation or worry someone would be upset with me. We aren’t flirting with that anymore, girlfriend. Now, I believe loving on people means sometimes you’re going to inconvenience yourself (just have a healthy limit to how much and protect yourself also).

10. Sometimes not getting what you want is actually the biggest blessing. I know if I got things on my “timing” I wouldn’t have learned all that I was supposed to before being able to receive it to the fullest. I’m grateful that I’ve had to wait for things in my life, even though I’m the most impatient person. God is sharpening me in this area in a big way. Trust the timing of your life.

11. Be light. Don’t get worked up about everything, just stay light and laugh. I have found in my life I love being around those that can make me laugh and I love being silly. Never go a day without laughter, it truly is medicine! Laugh at yourself often too!

12. Love Difficult People. You’re One Of Them. – Bob Goff

13. Find contentment in where you are. We live in a time where we click a button on our phones and scroll through all of these fabulous lives, relationships, clothes, families, homes, trips and you start to question your own. The key to living well to me is being grateful for what’s already here in front of me. I also know, those images don’t depict the whole story — everyone experiences hurt, comparison, pain, bad days and very unglamorous moments throughout their day. That is never lost on me, because I too have posted a fun, happy image on a really crappy day and no-one would have even known. Take it all with a healthy consumption/mindset for it. I have never cared to chase things or money. I’m grateful and appreciate what’s in my life, but the only thing I’ve really yearned for is calm, peace, family and rest in my heart. Once you have those, you don’t get too distracted by a highlight reel.

14. Progress over perfection.

15. Believe people when they show you who they are the first time. Guard your heart.

16. God’s breath is in me and I can always rely on it. I can rely on my breath to settle my heart, overcome high levels of stress, release and receive clarity. Working on my breath this year was challenging. I’ve always found it difficult to focus on it to centre myself and meditate, but now that I have grasped it more, it’s restored me many times when I’ve felt like breaking down. It’s the only thing I know I have with me at all times — on a plane, on the street, etc. that I can rely on at any moment and place. What a gift!

17. Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.

18. Sometimes you need to slow down. God is never in a hurry. Someone wise shared with me, “whatever is going to glorify God, He’ll never be in a rush, so don’t let anyone rush you into making decisions.” I was always impatient and always in a rush in my early 20’s (call it hungry) and while I believe in hard work, I don’t support burnout (which let me tell you I experienced a really bad one). Now, I like to embrace the slow living movement.

19. You are a collective of the books you read, people you spend time with, conversations you engage in etc. I’ve learned it’s important to be intentional and wise about what and who you let in your life and mind.

20. The ocean will always be the place I feel closest to God and making time to be near it as much as possible is good for my soul. It makes me feel humble, inspired, grateful and tiny all at once!

21. Take time to grieve dreams, past hurts and people you have lost. I’ve admittedly tried to rush this process in my life because I didn’t like how it “felt.” I once heard this: “You must allow yourself to feel your life while you’re in it.”

22. Sometimes good enough, is good enough.

23. Satan will try to fill your mind with lies as you get closer to God and your purpose, but you can just rest and remember they’re just that — lies. You can tell them and him to go straight back to hell 🙂

24. You can never lose with a position of humility, gentleness, patience and love in your heart.

25. Be your own cheerleader. Not everyone is as excited to support and lift you up. Don’t worry about them, just keep that inner voice positive and keep going.

26. Boundaries are a mature and healthy way to build your life around. I always felt it would be rude to not be accessible at all times, but now I’ve learned people who don’t have boundaries themselves are the only ones who would be upset that you have yours. Having them with family, friends, work and yourself is important for your mental health and boundaries keep your relationships healthy!

27. Take the time to capture memories on a camera rather than your phone. There’s something that’s still so classic and heartwarming about printing out photos. I want to remember to keep doing this, even as technology advances.

28. Don’t adapt to the room, influence the room. You’re purposefully placed with certain people, in certain situations and events for a reason. I think that the little conversations I wouldn’t think would make much of an impact but still trying anyway are the ones that are going to matter. I ask God to use me as a vessel even just entering a grocery store now, even in the mundane everyday life moments! You never know how your care, smile, helpfulness or attention will make a difference to someone’s day/life. Leave people better than you found them as they say 🙂

29. Fully embrace grace-filled living: this word has carried me through a tough year and I know that it will be with me leading into the next. My heart is staying open and even though I’ve felt I have surrendered, I choose to surrender more to God’s plan…

I feel loved and grateful. Thanks for being with me on my imperfect journey! xoxo