Hi all! As I’ve shared in my previous post, I just celebrated my 24th birthday. As always, I write reflections and thoughts for every experience, event or learnings from people I meet. I deemed it timely to share 24 lessons that I learned through the years. I hope you’ll find this article useful.
ONE- Know God.
I believe that we exist because God created us. He loves us and He has a wonderful plan for us. We are not created by accident. He longs for us to get to know Him. We are wired to have satisfaction when we know Him. As John Piper used to say, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.
I learned it the hard way. I craved for new toys, new stationery items, and clothes. I delight in high grades and applause from relatives. I watched korean drama endlessly. All these give momentary pleasures but never really trully satisfy. I just feel tired chasing these.
When we know God or have the desire to know Him, we see a different perspective, a clearer perspective on life. We have that sense of purpose and peace and joy and satisfaction that only God can give.
I encourage you to read your Bible. If it is your first time, start with the gospel of John. Read a chapter a day and write down what struck you in a journal. I just also started last year and God never fails to amaze me.
TWO- Know yourself.
Knowing God is just a part of our existence. We also need to know ourselves. I believe that we are unique. Each one of us has a set of skills and talents. God also placed us strategically. He knows where we can best exalt Him.
Consider your strengths, weaknesses, personality and circumstances. Know where you excel and try to join in interest groups to gain more experience and knowledge. You can also look back to your childhood self. What do you enjoy doing? Are you good at it?
For example I like to draw, write, take photographs and sell stuff but I did not put in efforts to develop my talents. Recently I set up this blog to dedicate some time to practice writing and share some learnings with you. I am also helping my dad in the business. I hope it isn’t too late.
THREE- Set a vision for yourself.
Well, it’s not really setting a vision for yourself in a way that you disregard God’s design. You envision yourself as God reveals.
I never really sat down to think about this because it is mind boggling. However at this point in my life, I was somehow forced to do it because I got stuck. Although I still have a long way to go, I grabbed these pictures on the internet that somehow resonate with me.
I put it in collage form vision board as inspired by Nubby Twiglet. Create one for yourself too! Don’t settle to see it on your mind. Put it on paper and share it to your tribe. Start thinking about your future now!
FOUR- Cherish time with your family.
I think you heard this statement many times over. I cannot emphasize enough to value your grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunties, cousins, and others in the family.
I am guilty of this because during high school years, I was so engrossed at extra curricular activities and anything school related. I was juggling leadership roles in several organizations while striving to top the class. I felt really exhausted but I was so thrilled in seeing myself get awards. I did not think about how my parents feel about this. I was selfish of my time.
When I studied in the university, I was living alone. I would cry because I miss them and would send random text messages to them. We became closer ever since. I would also constantly call my mom to share some stories. My dad on the other hand would share his stories to me!
FIVE- Share your life with someone else (and stick with it as long as you can).
My parents brought me and my sisters along at church during sundays. I grew up in ‘sunday school’. We would perform during special occasions. My parents gave me and my sisters money to drop in the offering box. It became a tradition ever since.
I never knew something is lacking but I felt I was not growing enough. I struggled in my time with God. I also felt detached from other Christians.
When I joined a mentoring group in the church I am part of in Makati, that’s when I realized that we need others to keep us accountable. We also help them in their own journey in life.
To be honest, at first I did not feel I belong to this group. Or was I being a typical INFJ? I wanted to stop attending our weekly gatherings but I could not find any reason to leave aside from my feelings. Several years later I realized that I was hoping to feel loved but never really took the time to show love towards them.
After 6 years, I can see God’s work in our lives. We have grown more mature and our bond just got stronger. Several people come and go but we still keep in touch.
SIX- Meet new people and don’t be afraid to ask.
I was a very shy person back in elementary. I even refused to join a contest because I felt I will just humiliate myself. In the contrary, during the latter parts of high school, I joined a lot of events because extra curricular activities would result to additional points.
During university days, meeting new people meant gaining additional insights on various topics. It also meant having connections when you need people for surveys, professors as resource speakers and books for the term.
My dad encouraged me to meet new people. This gave me motivation to initiate conversations. I was also able to meet new people by joining an organization. Through Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), we did outreaches together with other volunteers. We would approach students during free times and talk about life and Christ.
It was quite exciting to hear their thoughts and reactions.
SEVEN- Spend time with like minded people.
While it is good to get to know new people, I realized that we also need to choose our friends wisely. I’d rather have a few close friends who share the same values and principles and who strive to move forward than friends who want to remain in status quo. People who want to grow and learn and be unconventional. People who want to make a difference and use their influence for good. People who want to do hard things.
EIGHT- Welcome spontaneity and be adventurous.
I am a routine person. I’d like to know how my day looks like. I’d like to minimize surprises. As a student, I would prepare homework in advance. I am content of eating the same dish almost every day. I hated spontaneity. I carried this behavior even during my free times!
After I graduated from college, my week ends were usually free. I got a bit bored of the routine stuff. I cannot believe it took me five years before I get to see the shops near our place!
In the past several years, I would make a conscious effort to be more adventurous. I have to push myself to try going on a different route. I have to accompany Teaz so that we’ll get to buy ingredients we don’t normally use. I have to force my relatives to try a different cuisine or restaurant.
I realized that new places, food and experiences inspire us and make us more creative.
NINE- Life is full of choices. It’s either you choose one or the other.
For the longest time, I am troubled by this question–Can we live in luxury (or have a very comfortable life) at the same time have integrity in the business? I still cannot figure out the answer but one thing is for sure–for every decision that we make, there’s a trade off.
I realized that we need to make choices. Not deciding on anything is also a choice! These choices reflect our values and beliefs.
As an INFJ, I struggle in this area. Every viable option seem interesting. Until now, I haven’t figure out where I can excel but I choose to get to know myself better.
Reflecting on life gives me the thought that I am making a progress every single day. I cannot pass a day without pausing. More so, I cannot pass a day without writing my thoughts, feelings and ideas. I hate hurried life! It just doesn’t make sense.
Reflecting allows us to be honest with how we feel towards God, ourselves and other people. It helps us process the things that occur to us or to the environment around us.
If you haven’t tried this yet, you might want to start writing a line per day. If this is still difficult, words or phrases may do.
Identifying songs relatable as of the moment is also good. Or how about taking a picture of what your day looks like?
ELEVEN- Discipline on sleep and exercise
I disliked sleep and exercise especially when I was a kid. I just can’t wait to play and get everything be fixed. I suck in sports and couldn’t figure out why we need to exert effort to be in shape.
Later on, I realized that when we sleep and exercise we nurture ourselves. We help ourselves to do our tasks better. Both activities are not a waste of time.
I learned that when we sleep, we are trusting God that He will restore our bodies, protect us from harm and equip us for the tasks ahead.
I also learned to enjoy exercise when I learned how to swim and do pilates. I realized that we need to find the exercise that fits our style as well.
TWELVE- See beauty in everything
I used to hate the rain and having to walk in the rain. I cannot bear the feeling of wet shoes and feet. I hate it when we are served with dishes that I disliked. I hate it when our flights get delayed.
Through the years, thank God my patience grew! Despite these seemingly unfavorable circumstances (on my part), I try to see the hidden beauty in the moment. I try to capture the rain drops or the people walking in the rain. I try to experiment on the food that I disliked. I try to talk to people when flights get delayed.
When we accept these circumstances and turn them into something good, we do not waste time. More so, we are able to have new realizations, create art or make new friends.