21 Things I Learned in 21 Years

I turned 21 in August, and after some time of reflection (and mourning of my childhood) I wrote down a list of things I learned:

  1. Sometimes things may take longer for you than they do for others, and that’s okay. Trust the process and find peace in whatever pace life is going at for you.
  2. Doing acts of service for others, whether it’s acknowledged or not, rewards you with a unique kind of joy. Do it often.
  3. Showing emotion and vulnerability doesn’t make you a weak person. It makes you authentically human.
  4. You’ll meet people in your life whose warmth and love feels almost unreal. You’ll miss their presence every second you’re separated, and rejoice every time you meet. Understand that it may not be written for them to be around you longterm. Learn from them while you can, and strive to become that presence in someone else’s life later on.
  5. It’s inevitable that there will be moments in which your faith hits low points. Our hearts go through seasons, and that doesn’t mean it’s the end for you. Although the physical acts of worship may feel routine at times, keep going. It will get better and it’ll be sweeter than ever when it does.
  6. The Creator doesn’t seek perfection from you, He seeks your utmost sincerity and striving. Know that perfection is an attribute only He encompasses.
  7. People can be going through things you could never imagine and still put on the brightest of smiles. Constantly ask the people around you how they are doing. Be a safe and open space for others. Gently let them know that you’re there for them, and actually be there when they need you.
  8. Being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing. Getting out of your comfort zone leads to an abundance of growth – and in aspects of yourself you may not have even thought of. What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of what you need to do next.
  9. The things you go through, God may be preparing you for what you’ve asked for.
  10. We often forget that our parents are dealing with struggles of their own, and we see them as infallible and strong beings at all times. When in reality, if you don’t look close enough you may end up ignoring their fragility, unspoken fears and brokenness that they may never outright reveal to you. They are so very often worrying about us that they neglect themselves. Do good things for them regularly, and try to be a factor that helps their Hereafter.
  11. If you haven’t figured out your purpose, you have no other purpose than to find that purpose.
  12. When God loves you, He overwhelms you. You are put through hardship to become stronger, more resilient and changed. Being in darkness for a time is a prerequisite in order to bask in light. Proof are the stars – they are invisible only until they are in darkness.
  13. You can be the poorest person in the world and still be the happiest. Money is a good side effect of success, but it doesn’t amount to anything in the end. Know what will last, and make those priorities.
  14. Not knowing “what’s next” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The unknown can be beautiful if you change your perspective. Trusting in the journey and thriving (not only surviving) through the experience is what is necessary in order to grow. Look forward to this moment: when you will be able to look back at everything that has led you to where you wanted to be, and every part of you is wholeheartedly grateful.
  15. Some people may go great lengths to destroy what is good. Protection, prayer and gratitude are your friends.
  16. Although everyone seems different, if you look a little deeper you will see that we are more similar than we think. We’re all reaching out for sunlight, reaching out for warmth – we’re branches of the same tree. If you look past the superficial facades that divide us, we all just want the same things.
  17. Finding comfort in solitude doesn’t amount to loneliness. These are the moments that oftentimes allow you to figure out who you are; you don’t always have to be surrounded by noise. Find peace within yourself, by yourself.
  18. Everything is temporary, both the good and the bad. It’s a bittersweet, but also reassuring reality.
  19. Sharing a genuine smile is the simplest way to lift a person’s mood. humanity is truly in a depression. Revive the prophetic smile and give it out in abundance.
  20. Things happen at the right time and the way that they are supposed to. Adopt patience, breathe, and increase your trust in God.
  21. You will only receive what you put forth. If you want something, do the work. If you do the work, know that you will be rewarded some way or another.

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