Growing up is hard and painful. Sometimes growing up means being at a crossroads and not knowing which way to go. Sometimes it means disappointment and being let down. But sometimes it means growth and although we can’t see how much we grow during the bad times until we look back, we must have faith in the person we become during those times. Looking back on my life, everything I have experienced, big and small, has impacted me. It has molded me into the person I am today and I am forever thankful for it. It is preparing me for the next step in my life. It has forced me to go back to the drawing board and really reflect on the kind of person I want to be. It is not during the fun times in which we grow, but rather the times in life that didn’t go as we planned. I truly believe that my biggest and most profound times of growth were in the times that life let me down. In some of my most painful moments, here are some things I have learned paired with some of my favorite bible verses.
Have dignity and grace
Peter 5:10 "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
In all that you do, have grace. Speak with grace, love with grace and let go with grace. Have dignity and don’t be afraid of being yourself. I have learned that I would rather be liked for being a woman of dignity and grace than being liked for the wrong reasons. I don’t look at the loudest people with the loudest opinions and admire them. I look at those people who are so confident in who they are that they can stay quiet and still be the loudest in the room.
John 13:7 "Jesus replied, 'You don't understand what I'm doing now, but you will understand later.'"
Being strong means knowing that life is inevitably going to bring troubles, but holding your head up high when they come. It means looking troubles square in the face and saying “I will be bigger than you.” Telling yourself “this will not defeat me” and knowing that everything in life has a season. Sometimes life isn’t fair and it still confuses me how bad things happen to people with such pure hearts and loving intentions. But always remember that courage is not the absence of fear.
John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
This may be weird for some of you to read. We have grown up in a world where everyone tells you to guard your heart and do anything possible to prevent feeling deeply. Although, I don’t see it this way. I see being able to be vulnerable as one of my greatest gifts. I see being able to open my heart fully as being courageous and fearless. I wish more people saw the beauty that comes along with being vulnerable. Being vulnerable does not mean that you aren’t strong or that you are weak. It means that you are so brave for opening parts of yourself that so many people are too scared to do.
1 Peter 3:3-4 "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
Everywhere I go I see people all doing the same things and all saying the same things. It’s so easy to lose individuality in a world so consumed with being carbon copies of each other. A world so consumed with being accepted by others and being cool. This world can easily shape you, but not without your consent. Most people become what they see others doing. Sometimes it is really hard to be yourself because you have to really know yourself. You have to have a strong sense of who you are to not follow the crowd and you have to be smart enough to know the crowd to find yourself. This world is filled with the same kinds of people. The world needs more of you and less of them.
What I’ve learned from life so far is that for every bad experience, there is a multitude of good ones ahead. Every inch of sadness leads to one foot of happiness. The simple things in life, those memories which seemed so insignificant at the time, are life’s greatest gifts. Sometimes being let down is just life giving you a detour to better things. Crazy chances can bring unexpected discoveries. Tough times unveil the sincerity of people. I have learned that sometimes people will be intimated by you being so different. I’ve learned that some people don’t know how to react or accept people who don’t follow the crowd. Do not throw away your uniqueness, all those sweet, silly parts of yourself that make you, you. some people will go as far as making you feel bad for being yourself, but if I can give you any advice it would be: screw them. Don’t surround yourself with those who make you feel silly for being loyal and don’t be scared of giving your all to people. Be a lover of full passion. Never apologize for having too much soul, for having too much depth, for having standards too high and for being passionate. For loving too hard and pushing people to see the grass is only greener where you water it. For dreaming too big and having too much faith. I’ve learned that situations aren’t always fair, but god is. No one ever said growing up would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it.