I started this with ten, but I kept thinking of more. It resulted 19 things I want you to know about life. It felt like too long for one blog post, but I didn’t want to cut anything. So I kept it all.
The first thing I want you to know is this, and if this is the only thing you take away then I will be happy: to know that Jesus is the only one worth living for, so give your life to him. Passionately follow Him, and he will teach you these things and so much more throughout your life. Your job is not to perfect these things, but to acknowledge that you won’t but know the one who does. You can read my story about this here.
2. You’re Responsible TO People, Not FOR People
You are only responsible for yourself and have no power (nor should you think you have the power) to make anyone else do anything. You’re not responsible for how another person reacts, or how another person treats you, or what other people DON’T do. The only thing you can do is set a boundary saying that you won’t subject yourself to the natural consequences of the other person’s behavior. For example, if someone is slacking (constantly, there is room for grace of course) in their responsibilities, let them experience the natural consequences of them. If someone is treating you badly, let them reap a broken relationship with you and distance yourself from them instead of continuing to feel harmed by them. The only thing you are responsible for is how you treat other people. You can only control how you respond to them, how you let them treat you by what you let yourself be around, and how you behave.
3. Requiring Respect From People Isn’t Rude
People think it’s rude when women demand to be treated with respect (you can be “demanding” respectfully). The only rude thing is when people treat you disrespectfully and then get mad at you for asking to be respected. Don’t worry about what those people think, and respectfully communicate your need for respect. If someone is unwilling to respect you, then read the next section.
4. It’s OK Not To Be In Relationship With Unhealthy People
You aren’t obligated to be in relationship with someone if they continually hurt you, your family, or are unpleasant to be around. You are required to be respectful and love them, but this can be done from a distance. People think we’re required as christians to “love everyone” in close proximity to ourselves so they might “become christians”, but that is taking God’s responsibility to change people into our own hands. Which brings me to the next point:
5. You cannot change anyone
People live like they have the ability to change other people. Sometimes women think they can change men if they love them enough or serve them enough. Or that they can change their kids or their friends. We are not able to change people, and it is not our job to change people. Taking on the responsibility to change others is putting ourselves in God’s position, because He is the only one able to change people. Our only job is to love God and love people.
6. Purity is about the state of your heart, not an action
Purity is not an action; it is not something you abstain from. You aren’t “pure” if you don’t do certain things. Purity is about the state of your heart before God. What are you spending your time thinking about? Lustful thoughts, looking at certain images, or talking with non-edifying speech all result in an impure heart, not just a physical act. God doesn’t want you to not do certain things just for the sake of not doing them – He desires a heart that is willing to be obedient to what He asks of us. A heart that is willing to come back to Him again and again after mistakes that will happen.
7. Success Isn’t Determined By Others
You are the only one who can decide if you are successful. We determine if our lives are successful by comparing them to how God says we are supposed to live. Of course you won’t live perfectly, but a successful life is one that’s lived for the enjoyment and glory of God and the love of others. Our culture has many ideas on what makes a person successful. The only way to determine your personal success is by reflecting on how you think God sees you, which is determined through prayer and reading the Bible.
8. Don’t Give Your Attention To Men Who Continually Disrespect You
No man will ever be able to respect you all the time because we live in a fallen world. But one who disrespects you and: 1. makes no effort to continually change in the future, and 2. doesn’t take your request for respect seriously is not worth your time or heart. What is disrespect? It can be things like not regarding your right to privacy, not caring about your safety, or telling you how to spend your time. This is also a form of control.
9. Not Everyone Will Like You – Live Only For The Approval of God
People live like they think they can convince everyone to like them or approve of them. Not only is this unbiblical, it won’t work. The only one you will ever get approval from – and the only one is ultimately matters from – is God. Living to gain the approval of everyone will leave you discouraged, depressed, and always striving. Living for only the approval of God will leave you satisfied, content, and fulfilled.
10. Experiencing Shame is Normal; Only God Can Free You From It
Feeling shame is a part of being a human in our world. God didn’t create us to experience shame, but is a repercussion of sin. People spend their entire lives not knowing they struggle with shame. If they do know, they often have no idea how to free themselves from it. God is the only one who can free you from your shame. If you learn that early in life, you will learn more than most people do in their entire lives.
11. Don’t live by your feelings
Our culture tells you to follow your heart. Don’t do that. Your heart will deceive you and lead you astray time after time. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Instead, pray and use the discernment God gives you. Discernment is from God, which can feel like a feeling but you will learn to tell the difference as you grow in your faith. Instead of studying your heart your entire life, study God’s word and his heart and pursue his wisdom and discernment. He will give it to you. (“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
12. People in the Church will hurt you. Don’t let this be an excuse to leave.
Being in a community of believers is important. So important God commands it, and Paul talks about it throughly in Acts and in the New Testament. But people are surprised when someone in the church hurts them. Sometimes people use it as an excuse to leave a body of believers or find a new church. While it’s ok to change churches for the right reasons, letting this be a repeated or wrong excuse is unhealthy. Sometimes people think people in the church shouldn’t hurt them, but we should expect nothing less from fellow humans. We are all still sinners, christian or not, and we will all hurt each other until Heaven. Healthy conflict resolution is necessary, but abandoning your problems at the expense of Christ’s body of believers is not.
— Subscribe to My Monthly Newsletter for Encouragement, My Favorite Resources, And Inspiration To Grow In Your Faith —
13. You find your true identity in Christ, Not by Looking In the World
Looking to the world to find your identity will only leave you confused. This is because we weren’t created to find our identity in anything but what created us. Our God created us to be a certain way, and the only way we can learn it is to study what He says about us and Himself. When you find your confidence in who he who is, who he says you are and not what you think or feel you are, you will find freedom.
14. Worship is a lifestyle, not an action
Worship isn’t something you just do on Sunday morning, singing with other people. It is anything that brings glory to God. It can be writing, serving your family, submitting your will to God’s, creating a welcoming home, or thinking about God throughout the day and asking him to be with you. Worship is a lifestyle that you grow in throughout your life, not a single action.
15. Don’t Worry about the World’s Beauty Standards
You will hear and see many things in your life that make you feel inferior or like you’re not good enough. You will be tempted to change how you look, work out to look a certain way, or be someone you know you’re not. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:10) Beauty fades and no one will ever feel like they are good enough when they look to the world as their standard. The only thing you should care about is how God sees you. Care about the state of your heart before God, how you can serve other people and show them God’s love, and how you can enjoy God and bring him glory.
16. Dream that God will Do Big Things in Your Life and Pray Expectantly that He Will
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:25)
God commands us to pray, and tells us that anything we ask according to his will he will hear and give us what we ask. He is glorified when we pray bold prayers expectantly. When they are answered, the world can see that they were only possible from God.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
17. Learn how to say no and how to accept no
It is so important to learn how to say no not just to others, but also to yourself. It’s popular to “follow your dreams at all costs”, but sometimes it’s best to say no and change our direction. Unless you learn to say no to yourself, you will be a slave to your desires and unable to follow Christ. The entirety of what Christ asks us to do on earth is to say no to ourselves, die to ourselves, in order to follow him, and ultimately to spend eternity enjoying him. “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” (Luke 23-24)
18. You won’t do any of these things perfectly
The only thing that matters in life is that you continually go back to God after you make a mistake and 1. Acknowledge it, and 2. Ask Him to help you and be with you. Don’t get frustrated when you mess up, instead know you will do so until Heaven but that God loves you as much now as he will then. And that he is more patient with you than you are with yourself.
19. There’s nothing you can do that will make me or God not love you.
No matter what you do or how you think I feel about you, I will always love you more than anything. God will love you infinitely more.