25 years old.
As I sit here reflecting on what it means to be turning 25 years old, I could not be more grateful. For all the highs, the lows, the successes, and the failures. All of those moments have molded and sculpted me into the woman I am today, and I am so incredibly proud of her. And for once on my birthday, I feel extremely at peace. Not worried about what is next or when I’ll achieve my dreams. But for once on my birthday, I feel totally at peace with Gabby, and the woman that she is becoming.
When I think about all of the life lessons I have learned over the last quarter of a century, I wanted to share a couple of my favorites with you all.
- Control is an illusion.
I used to think I had so much control over the things that happened in my life. It gave me joy THINKING that certain decisions would bring certain outcomes. But if I had so much “control” why did I struggle with such severe anxiety over situations for years? If I knew everything that was going to happen, then why did the first half of my 20’s look ENTIRELY different than I expected?
Because I now understand I never had any control. I could plan my life as much as I wanted, but if it did not align with what GOD had for me, then it would never come to fruition. And what a blessing that is – because his plan has always been better than my own.
I now love the feeling of releasing the desire to have it all together and instead lean on God who knew before my birth every struggle, every triumph, and how it all ends. I thought clenching my fists would give me the peace I so longed for. I realized it is the surrendering of my way to his that gives me all the peace I could have ever hoped for.
- If you are focused on pleasing others, you become a puppet.
It’s tough to not look left and right for approval when you make decisions, especially ones that you perceive to be important. I used to crumble internally when I felt like a decision or action I did, did not please my parents. I felt bad in college for telling my friends “no” when they asked me if I wanted to go to a party. I felt like a party pooper. I felt uncomfortable for wanting something different.
I am so glad I realized that no matter how uncomfortable I feel at times, it would be more uncomfortable living a life that was never my own. As I began affirming myself and being comfortable with my own decisions, life became so much more enjoyable. I enjoy knowing now that whether or not my actions make sense to others they make sense to me. And that is all I could ever ask for in this life.
- Working on your physical health is great, but it is more important to work on your mental health.
If I can confidently wear an outfit but crumble if my picture doesn’t get enough “likes” on social media, something is off. I used to really believe that my worth was dictated by the number I saw on the scale. That until I reached a certain weight, I was not good enough. But my physical appearance wasn’t going to help me through when life was difficult. I was going to need to be mentally equipped if I was going to have the strength to maintain the boundaries I set when people tried to IGNORE them. The parts of me that would need to be solid when the world around me made me question who I was. THOSE were the things that mattered more than my jean size. I would never be the woman I dreamed of becoming if I didn’t strengthen such a huge part of me – my mind. Yes, physical health is important don’t get me wrong. But when we say we want to work on our bodies, let us not forget our minds are a huge part of that too. Ironically, as I strengthened my mind and shifted my perspective, my improved physical appearance just became an added bonus.
- Rejection is your biggest blessing disguised as a painful feeling.
Whether it is the job you didn’t get. The partner who didn’t become permanent. The friend who isn’t who you thought she was. The business idea that failed. It is PAINFUL to feel that in some capacity, you were wrong. You weren’t qualified. Your judgement was off. You weren’t worthy. We so often take rejection as a personal attack on the core of who we are when in reality, rejection has little to do with who we are.
Could it be we didn’t get the job because there was a better position around the corner?
The partner who didn’t become permanent might have held you back?
The friendship that fades is less about you and more about the two of you choosing different directions – neither of which are wrong.
The business idea you had didn’t come to fruiting not because it was a bad idea, but maybe because your strengths and passions were bettered aligned elsewhere.
Years ago during my first job, my dad said “you are not meant for everything and everything is not meant for you.” And that’s okay. Instead of looking at rejection as a reflection on who I am, I now see it as a reflection on who God is. The way he can move pieces around in my life in a way that not only answers my prayers, but exceeds my expectations every time. He’s never taken away something that I needed or closed a door that I wanted to reopen.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the way God has moved in my life, and this year I’m so excited to see what he has planned. Life is so precious, and this year I’m thrilled to continue loving and pouring into the people that God has placed in my life, allowing my authentic self to breathe, and making space in my life for the blessings God has given me. I can’t receive those blessings if I am too busy holding onto things not meant for me.
So grateful he allowed me to see 25. Thankful for each one of you for letting me be a part of your journey as well.
Water Your Garden always,