A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my awesome Liebster Award nomination. I was beginning to question my decision to start blogging, and I was wondering if I was having an impact. That nomination not only encouraged me, but it was the confirmation that I was looking for to keep going. A few days later, I was nominated AGAIN by another blogging buddy, Ciara from Our Little House in the Country. Thank you so much Ciara, I really appreciate the “shout out”! I’ve finally gotten around to responding to your nomination…sorry it’s taken so long!
One of the questions that Ciara asked me was “What would you tell your 20-year-old self?” Wow, what a thought-provoking question! There was so much that I thought I knew back then, but I realize now, I knew nothing! So since I’ve already posted the “official” Liebster Award response before with the rules, Q&A, additional nominations, etc., I’ve decided to expand on this one question instead. (And to Ciara…I hope you don’t mind! I did answer your remaining 10 questions at the end of this post.)
A Few Things I Thought I Knew, But Truly Had No Clue…
Credit cards are not plastic cash, nor are they free money. Boy oh boy, do I wish someone had told me this back then! I remember being away at college, and getting confronted literally on a daily basis by credit card trolls on campus. “Hey! Do you want a free t-shirt? Fill out this form!” I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to get a free t-shirt. So about a week later, when the credit card came in the mail, I was one happy girl. Cha-Ching! Off to the mall I went…did I mention I didn’t even have a job at that time? And it doesn’t end there. The credit cards led to the store charge cards…The Gap, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret…you name it, I had it! Without the means to keep up with the payments, I ended up in collections just as quickly as I maxed the cards out. I spent my early 20’s ducking and dodging collection calls, and the later part of my 20’s haggling with creditors, working out payment arrangements, and settling hefty interest and penalty fees. If I knew then how important my credit score would be once I graduated college and entered the real world, I would have taken my credit more seriously and behaved more responsibly.
Don’t waste your time questioning; there is only one true and living God. When I was 20, I questioned everything. I didn’t understand faith. I needed concrete, tangible facts and figures in order to believe something to be true. Even when I first started feeling the pull and call of God, I still wouldn’t commit. I took classes on various world religions, and at one point I even questioned if there really was any truth to religion at all. I started feeding into the hype that religion was just a way to control the masses, and that simply being a “good” person was enough. Glory be to God, I got saved and started following Christ a few years later. However, I still wish I hadn’t wasted all that time questioning. If I could go back in time, I would have instead operated in faith and started following Jesus much sooner. My life was forever changed when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I truly don’t even know how I managed life before without Him.
Enjoy your freedom, don’t complicate things. Looking back, that should have been the most enjoyable, carefree time of my life. In many ways it was. But in some ways I think I worried and stressed about too many tiny, insignificant things. Before marriage, kids, career and ministry, my only real responsibility at that age was managing seasonal part-time jobs, and keeping my grades up. That’s really it. Everything else was centered around my social life. I wish I had slowed down more often to smell the roses and appreciate my freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly blessed and I do love my life now – struggles, responsibilities and all. I just wish I realized how blessed I was back then to have the opportunity to go away to college, in the awesome city of Philadelphia, with a supportive family back home, a close-knit group of really great friends, no real drama or worries, and nothing but opportunity at my fingertips. The issues that seemed enormous back then, just seem small now.
Sure, fashion can be bought. But style, one must possess. These are the wise words of Edna Woolman Chase, iconic editor in chief of Vogue magazine. I’ve already shared my dirty little credit card secret…well what do you think I bought with those cards??? That’s right, all the fashion a college girl could dream of. What I know now is: style is not in a name brand. It’s in the way you carry yourself, the way you mix and match, the choices you make. Style doesn’t have to be expensive. Style doesn’t have look like the store mannequin, or fit into the latest mass marketed trend.
Date for companionship, NOT marriage. When I was 20, I was certain that by 23 I’d be living the American dream: married, white picket fence, 2.5 kids. Little did I know, I was in no way, shape, form or fashion ready for the major commitment and Godly covenant of marriage. Instead of fully diving into every relationship as if it were a “till death do us part” commitment, I wish I would have spent more time seeking friendship and giving myself the space I needed to grow and mature as an individual. At that age, I so badly wanted to play house. Now, as a “grown up”, I can look back and realize that playing is all it really was and ever could have been at that age. And marriage is not a game. Don’t get me wrong – I know that some people do find their true love and even enter marriage at that age. My parents are my proof. They were high school sweet hearts, and have been married for 33 years. But speaking for myself, and the relationships I tried to force, it just wasn’t in the cards. God didn’t bring my soul mate and I together until He knew we were both ready – and I thank Him for that.
Some relationships/friendships are just for a season. Even now in my 30’s I’m still learning this. Back then at the age of 20 I had a small inner circle, who I viewed as sisters, and I cherish the memories of those friendships to this day. While some of those relationships are still in tact, others naturally faded over time, and some others unfortunately ended with fall out. I also had a few boyfriends that I truly cared for. I thought I was in love back then, but now after experiencing the unmatched, unconditional true love that I share with my husband, I realize the difference. I don’t by any means regret emotionally investing myself the way I did in past relationships, I only wish I knew when to let go and move on. I’d tell my 20-year-old self to stop trying to analyze situations and figure out people. I’ve learned that for one reason or another, God will shift people in and out of your life for a season – and that’s ok. Every relationship isn’t meant for forever. Live. Love. Learn. And know when to let go.
Find your passion and pursue it. Recently I’ve been thinking quite often about my dreams and aspirations in life. In a recent post I touched on some of this. If I could sit down with my 20-year-old self, I would encourage myself to do more inner exploration to uncover the many hidden talents, passions, gifts and interests that God planted inside of me. I never really took the time to dig deep to understand what makes me tick. Life is all about trial and error. Mother Teresa once said, “God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” Back then when I didn’t have the responsibilities that I have now, or a family that needed my time, focus and energy, I could have done more trying. Maybe I would have even had a few fails, but I think either way, the experience of dreaming big and stepping out on faith would have been rewarding. Again, not speaking from a place of regret, but rather, a place of wisdom. My heart is still beating, and my Heavenly Father is still seated on the throne of grace. So I know I can still pursue any passion I desire. However, if I knew back then what I know now, I would have taken more time to explore and find my passion.
These are just some of my random thoughts, not meant to be anything more than my own take, based on my own experiences. If you have any lessons you’ve learned over the years that you wish you could share with your 20-year-old self, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
And now to answer the remaining questions I was asked…
1. Why did you start blogging?
I wanted to leave an impact in my own little way. I chose the theme “My Salt, His Light” based on the scripture Matthew 5:13-16, which instructs us to be salt and light in this world. I view my blog posts as my dash of salt and my single ray of light on this earth, and I pray that my words will inspire someone.
2. What is the best job you have ever had?
Even though it stresses me out and gets on my nerves
often sometimes :-), my current job is really the best job I could have imagined for myself right now, and I thank God for the opportunity. I’m the Director of Marketing, Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships for a government agency. I get to build websites, use social media, plan fun marketing events, and travel several times a year all across the country. I’m truly blessed to be working in the profession that I went to school for.
3. If money was no option, where would you holiday this summer?
4. Pinterest or Google +
5. What is your favorite song of all time?
Amazing by Maxwell – It’s been me and my husband’s “song” since early on when we started dating ❤
6. Christmas or Halloween?
7. Favorite outdoor activity?
Lying by the pool or on the beach, under an umbrella, with an ice-cold beverage (that’s considered an outdoor activity, right?)
8. How long have you been blogging?
Just about two months
9. Favorite kids movie ever?
10. What is the one thing you will do/have done differently with your children than your parents did with you?
I wasn’t raised in the church, and I didn’t start following Christ until I was an adult. My husband and I are very passionate about raising our children to know and follow Jesus.
Linked up at: