I've embraced this past decade, as it has become my favorite thus far. Who I am today mostly stems from this decade, only because I embraced the stillness long enough to pay attention to me.
My 20's were roaring with three babies by the time I was 24. Diapers, mortgages, a failing marriage, lots of financial mountains to climb, no structure of who I was, or even time to think about who I wanted to be, just a lot of responsibility laid at my feet. The chaos became pliable, and with each passing day I had learned to surf this thing called life.
As my 30's took off with a position that would be as chaotic as three babies in my early 20's, I discovered something about myself I had never really noticed. I'm good with chaos! I actually thrive in it; I'm A.D.D., my friend had me tested (that's true). My A.D.D. mind gives me the ability to tend to 10 items at once and figure it out, make it happen, and get up the next day and start it all again.
As I found my salvation at the age of 31, I learned to be still and pray. This has been the place where I really learned the most about who God wants me to be. As my theological mind grew along side my faith, my worship deepened, and my prayers began to move mountains. Faith of a mustard seed...
As the last night in my 30's is slipping away, I'm embracing 40; this next decade will be used to help other's find themselves. That's the beauty in aging women, the Biblical order...we are to teach the younger women.
If I could lay advice at the age of MY 20 year old feet I think the top 20 would be:
1. Seriously, Seek the face of God, through his word, prayer and worship. He's a friend that will stick closer than a brother, and your only defense against the sheer horror of this fallen world. Find your shelter in his shadow, and rest under his wings (Psalms 91)
2. Stop serving yourself, and learn to serve others. In this is where you will find your strengths, weaknesses, and you will be the most fulfilled. Truly, be there for people. Recognize their needs and celebrations.
2.5 Be humble...do NOT ever talk about your service to others.
3. Take the criticism with your mouth SHUT, ponder it, learn from it, find your place in it and then stand up and take care of business.
4. Learn something new everyday. Even if it's just through a Google search; never stop learning, never stop pushing yourself. Complacency ages you.
5. SHUT UP! Be still, be quiet, and listen. But don't be a talking head. So when you do speak, it's weighted. I refer to #4...you better know what you're talking about. Learn!
6. SHUT UP! If you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all. And remember, your days will come full circle; you will end up working for and with just about every person you've ever been in school with. Paths cross, everyday, and let's hope you haven't left a sour taste in their mouth from a previous moment in time with you.
7. Hold yourself to the highest standard. Expect yourself to make a difference. Speak life over yourself, remind yourself you are worthy, and you have value.
8. Brush off the haters. But learn to pray for God to handle every situation. Refer to #5
9. Learn what a credit score is and then start building one!
10. Sex is for your marriage, not for misuse or abuse. Your body, your purity, and your future marital relationship will thank you for holding it to a high standard now. You cannot regret what you didn't do. You will reap what you sow, don't take shadows into your marital bedroom.
11. Stay sober...you're ridiculous drunk. It will never serve you well.
12. Journal something about every single day. Even if it's just one highlight.
13. Pay attention to your body, and stop living on Nyquil. It does not cure ALL.
14. Respect your employer. Respect the position. Learn to be a good employee, because sometimes the smartest people, the most educated people fail because they do not have good work ethic. Show up, do what you're ask, and do not complain! Glean what you can from each job, what you liked/hated, and what you excelled at and then think how you can turn the good into a future position. People who hate their jobs make miserable spouses and parents.
15. Set up family traditions, stick to them, honor your father and mother, make attempts to spend quality time with those people who matter, not just holidays. Remember, how you treat your parents is exactly how your children will learn to treat you; that's why it's the first commandment with promise.
16. Laugh. A lot.
17. Love that man...with all of your heart when he comes into your life. Do not let one day pass that you failed to show him who he is to you. This kind of love will ward off the enemy time and time again.
18. Love those babies...even through the temper tantrums. Enjoy every single cabinet with sharpie on it, milk poured on the carpet, and overflowing bathtub. These are the days of your life. No one else's.
19. It's ok to be frumpy when they are little. You'll get your stride back when they get bigger.
20. Make your bed every morning. It just feels good. Oh, and have ice cream at least once a week. Drive with your music loud, say excuse me, buy someone's lunch, save more than you spend, and learn to say no...kindly. Just because they ask doesn't mean you have to. And wear your lipstick bright red!