I didn't mean to lure you in with a clickbait heading but it's getting late and I really didn't know what else to call this post. As I'm nearing another year older, I thought it was a fitting time to do some reflection on some things that I have learnt over the past year from my readings, conversations with friends and personal reflection. Here are four things:
1. Venting can be a form of complaining incognito.
There was a period of time where a lot of my conversations was filled with "venting". Then, I realised that many of my words were not very helpful or encouraging at all. What I thought was harmless venting was actually complaining and it was just clouding my mind with negativity and cynicism. Same goes with getting caught up with other people's "venting". This article sums it up perfectly: "Science has even proven that 'venting' doesn't actually fix anything - instead, it ingrains negative thought patterns into your brain and actually heightens negative emotions. Complaining doesn't help you and it certainly doesn't help your listeners!" I have definitely learned to think before I speak and become more wary of how I respond to people's "venting".
2. God isn't going to tell you what He plans for your life. So stop asking and waiting.
This one blew my mind a little. For a lot of my life I had been asking questions like "Does God want me to do this?", "Is this where God wants me to be?", "What should I do next?" And for the most part, I would be incredibly hesitant when making decisions or was afraid that if I took a wrong step, I might veer off the path He wanted me to be on. I've always known that He has a plan for me. But I've learned that it's not our job to figure it out. I've been reading a book by Kevin DeYoung that has been very helpful and I wanted to share a bit from it: "The problem is we think He's going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know - and need to know - what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God's will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom. The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we what they are and where we're going." We can afford to take risks in life because God doesn't. He already knows what's going to happen.
3. A presumptuous mind is never helpful.
I usually give people the benefit of the doubt but from time to time, I can be quite sensitive and take things the wrong way even if the person didn't mean it that way. I think this can happen quite often with online conversations where you can misjudge the tone of voice and for people who tend to read between the lines. I also sometimes find myself overgeneralising things people do and blurt out statements like "you always..." when in reality, they might have only done it once. It can create this false impression of the person that they're a certain type or assume their actions before they've already done it. It breaks down trust and potentially friendships. And that's never a happy ending.
4. You can love someone without liking them.
This is probably the toughest lesson and a lesson that I am still learning. It goes against the grain of what most people believe and it can be quite controversial in the way that people may argue "Why should I love someone who irritates me? I don't need to be nice to them if they're not nice to me." And while it's much easier to love someone you also like, there is something radical about loving a person you dislike. It is something that was shown to us by God. We reject and rebel against Him and yet He loves us. He provided a way out of the mess we had created for ourselves through Jesus. Free of charge too. It changed the game completely. And so would showing undeserved love to someone who you would usually turn your back to. Of course, it's easier than done. But it can be, with much patience and prayer.
I realise that I have only scraped the surface on these four things and I could probably do separate posts for each of them if I wanted to. I'm sure as I'm still growing through these and learning more 'life lessons', I'll have plenty more thoughts to share. In the meantime, my birth
dayweek begins tomorrow and I am very excited to (low-key) celebrate with family and friends. Photos to come soon!
Now playing: John Mayer - Gravity (Live at Nokia Theatre)