Tomorrow I will be the Big 3-0!!! Lord willing I would have been on this earth for 30 years, and I’m grateful for each year. I will admit my 20s were rough, and I’m glad to be leaving them!!! I grew up a lot. I cried a lake full of tears, and I learned just how selfish, inconsistent, and a tad bit crazy I truly am. I also learned how resilient, forgiving, considerate, and wise I have become. Today I’ll share my evolution as a 20 year old who knew it all to a 30 year old that is ready to learn all I can. What I have learned about success, love, and God truly has me excited to see what my 30s will have in store for me. Here are my thoughts in light of my personal experience:
- Success-At age 20, I was in my junior year of college. I was under the influence of the American Dream, and I knew obtaining my degree would ensure instant success. Oh how naïve I was! After graduating from college and moving back to Little Rock, Arkansas, I experienced the American Nightmare (student loans with no job to pay them). The only job I could secure was a Substitute Teacher position that paid fifty cents more than minimum wage. Since my idea of success was predicated on obtaining a degree and a good job, by the age of 23, I was feeling like an absolute failure!!! I had nothing but bills to show for my time spent away from college, and this reality weighed heavily upon my identity. I felt like a loser!!! One day while working as a substitute at a Middle School, the principal asked if I’d be interested in a more permanent position as a Parent/Teacher Coordinator. I gladly accepted the position because it offered more money, and it provided me with a huge office, a real title, and some influence. It was my big break, and the reason I went to college. I wanted prestige, and I wanted to be able to boast a little about my Benefits package to my friends who had them. I started to feel “successful,” but I was absolutely miserable doing the job. I had no passion for it. It required more hours than I wanted to give, and no one came to visit my amazing office that I measured my success by. As fate would have it at 26, I was just as miserable as I had been as a Substitute Teacher. After being prompted by my sister to move to Atlanta and feeling a peace about it, I resigned from my position and packed my bags. I had 1500 dollars to my name, a few suitcases of clothes, and boarded a plane to start my new life in Atlanta, GA. I had no job, but I had peace that things would be better than they had been. After three months of full-time job searching, I was offered a position as a Flight Attendant. If someone had told my 20 years old self that I would be Flight Attendant at 29 I would have laughed in their face. But God in His omniscience knew it fit my personality to a tee. I now travel for a living meeting wonderfully strange people, and I am trained to save people in the event of an emergency. I am not sure how long I will have this privilege, but I can say I am enjoying my life. I no longer define myself or success by a degree or salary. I simply define success as being at peace with yourself and others as it pertains to the decisions you make in life. I had to discover that success could not be measured by external things because those things can be taken and my identity would follow. My success is gauged by how I feel within. In the next few months I will embark upon a new adventure, and I am looking forward to where it will lead me!
- Relationships- The university I attended was the breeding ground for Conservative Christian marriages. While everyone was trying to get a ring, I was trying to figure men out. In the process I managed to entertain a smorgasbord of men. I have dated all types, and I managed to get my heart broken, mangled, trampled, pulled apart, and healed in the process. My early 20s was torn between college guys and Silver Foxes (old men who like young women). During this process, I was creating a list of what the “perfect” man would look like for me. In 2008, I thought I had met him. I tried really hard to make him understand he was perfect for me, but he couldn’t see it clearly. In 2011, the “perfect” one found me. He matched my revised list to the tee. He was intelligent, witty, wealthy, and appeared to have a relationship with God. His Bible knowledge was impressive, but as time went on the façade was apparent. In my heart, peace was missing, and we were both trying to manufacture something that was not meant to be for us. Past relationships, pride, deception, and apathy brought on the demise of that relationship. Completely devastated by love being lost again, I became bitter and a cynic of love. By 2013, I was spoiled goods and my attitude reeked of heartache and disappointment. No one had a shot with me because I did not believe them. All men had become liars, and to take one seriously would cost more than I could afford at the time. I spent a whole year in rage, remorse, fear of love, and bitterness. Then around the spring of 2014, I decided to take the facebook advice I was giving and simply FORGIVE HIM for what I felt was a waste of time, and forgive myself for giving up on love and giving in to resentment. December 2014, a blast from the past reached out to me on Facebook. We had met seven years ago at the library, and we exchanged numbers. I was dating Mr.2008, and knowing he liked me he decided to back off. When he reached out in December I was emotionally in a good place to receive a great guy. We have been inseparable ever since we met again at Watch Night Service 2015. He is an amazing man and God has used him to be a reflection of His love towards me. Regardless of the outcome of our relationship, he will go down in history as the man who helped heal my heart. The lessons I’ve learned about relationships are: 1). it takes two to make them work or fail. 2). You cannot make someone love you no matter how much you desire to love them. 3).Dating based on a list is bound to produce disappointment. 4). Love will find you, but your heart must be available to receive it.
- God-At 20, I was a lover of all things Church! I was attending a Christian university, and I was pursuing His presence with all my might. I was a virgin, and full of self-righteousness because of it. I was very judgmental and having no understanding of grace, I was that Christian that made Jesus look bad. Being spiritual and self-righteous is hard pill for others to swallow. Then at 23, I was asked by someone I respected, “Why are you so mean, and where is your grace towards others?” That question was the turning point of my Christianity. I was unable to give grace because I did not understand how much I needed it. After going on a Word Study rampage on Grace, I started to become more gracious. I also wanted to share with others what I had discovered about this Amazing Grace that is available to everyone. After three years of Minister in Training classes, I became an ordained minister before moving to Atlanta. Shortly after arriving to Atlanta the battle for my Faith started, and here I was a recently ordained minister wrestling with whether I believed if Jesus truly was the Way or simply another way to God. For two years I was in a mental battle, preaching it and wrestling with the idea of it at the same time. It was hard, but it made me a better defender of the faith in which I hold dear to my heart. No worries, I am absolutely certain Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Light. I am absolutely convinced that NOTHING can separate me from the LOVE of God. I am fully persuaded that my salvation is secured when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Since He is the author and finisher of my faith, my salvation is PERMANENT and EVERLASTING! I also will never apologize for what I believe and what the Bible says concerning how Christians should live. I say as Paul did in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” I plan on spending every day of my 30s sharing the GOOD NEWS of God’s love and grace. I am looking forward to thirty with much joy and excitement. My 20s grew me up, and I am looking forward to the adventures 30 will bring with it starting tomorrow! If you made it to the end, THANK YOU FOR READING. If you would simply pray for me concerning the journey ahead, I would truly appreciate it. I’m hopeful, prayerful, and excited about what is in store for me. #Goodbye20s #Hello30s