Today's my birthday! *insert salsa dancing emoji here*
Today may mark 26 years, but every year around this time, I think about my 20th birthday. From the outside, it had zero "extra" attached to it. It wasn't a hoopla, but it wasn't a flop. At least that's what I allowed people to see.
The reality was, for about a week leading up to that day, I cried every night. I didn't want to turn 20. I wasn't ready. The things that I had wished and waited for hadn't happened, and I felt neglected by God.
Little did I know, God was about to teach little ole me some serious lessons about how big He was.
So without further a'do, here are
6 Things God has Taught Me in the Last 6 Years...
1) Doing things FOR God isn't the same as doing what God says
For years, I had "followed the rules". In fact, I prided myself on how good I was at that. I was staying pure until marriage, passing on alcohol, and trying to make time with God a habit. But for years, God had been asking me to TRUST HIM with my future. Obviously, following God's word and commands were the right thing to do. But I was using them as a crutch to avoid the very difficult thing that He was specifically calling me to. Instead of leaning in to this command, my heart attitude said "But look at everything else I'm doing for you. So... you're welcome. And I'll go ahead and keep worrying about that whole future thing." Wrong answer, Savannah.
I imagine it like a parent who continually asks their child to empty the dishwasher. The parent asks over and over, and the child says, "no, it's okay because instead I took out the trash and I was nice to my sister. So I'm good." It's helpful that the child did those things, and they were the right thing to do, but they weren't what the parent needed.
Sometimes that's what we do to God. We choose sacrifice before obedience. Saul's story in 1 Samuel gives a painful example of why this isn't pleasing to the heart of God. And I lived my own version. Thankfully, God was faithful enough to gently teach me how to obey Him better, instead of boppin' me on the head... which I undoubtedly deserved.
2) The enemy wants me to be alone
Satan knows full well that I am at my weakest when I am alone. He knew the same about Jesus too, which is why he waited for Him to be alone in the desert. The same goes for us. When we are not walking closely with God and living deeply in community, we are at the highest risk of Satan's attack.
After I moved home from college, I didn't want any more girl friends. I had my college friends, and I knew they'd be there long term (which they have been), so I didn't want to have to go through the process of making new friends again at home. Little did I know, I was traveling straight toward a season where I would desperately need to be surrounded by like-minded and prayer-focused women my age. The first night one of my now-closest friends texted a group of us, asking if we'd like to get together and pray, I told my sister, "I'm not interested in making more friends". It was one of the most foolish things I've said in my entire life, and thankfully God didn't allow me to have my way.
Had I walked into my marriage season without them, I would be navigating this time without such wonderful Godly counsel, and I know for a fact that I would be missing out.
3) Busy-ness does not breed holiness
A few years ago, God called me away from busy-ness. It was something I practiced daily. Something I was good at. But it wasn't glorifying HIM. My business was building a following, it was paying the bills, and I really loved doing it. But my relationships- with God and with people- were suffering. By busy-ness wasn't for a SECOND making me more holy.
Think about this: God rested on the 7th day. But He didn't need to. The God of infinite power and energy didn't need to take a little nap on a cloud to refuel from His hard work. Instead, He can be our example of purposefully choosing rest, and being wise in our endeavors.
4) God is not phased by my plans
My tears on my 20th birthday stemmed from one thing: feeling left behind. I believed that God had forgotten about me. Or at the very least, not realized how old I was that day. 20.
5) Speaking about your struggles takes away Satan's power
When I became more and more anxious a few years ago, I had decided not to talk about it. Like, MIND. MADE. UP. And then one day, I started talking about it a bit on Instagram stories and I had a BAJILLION messages about anxiety and depression. Turns out, other women were experiencing this too. And several of them, worse than me. But the more we could talk about it, the more glory GOD received- because we were making efforts to bring our struggles into the light. No longer could Satan whisper lies and fear to me, because I was constantly speaking about it and seeking Godly counsel. It absolutely changed the game for me.
6) I am not the only one
It sure is easy to get into the habit of thinking that I'm the only one.
Turns out, none of us is the only one. Not for a single thing we suffer from in life. Not only can Jesus, who came and walked this earth, empathize with us, but I guarantee that there are people around you who need to hear you share your story. Because more likely than you realize, they'll end up saying, "me too".
I'm so so thankful for the amazing year this has been, and I know that God has more and more in store as I continue to walk with Him for the rest of my days. I hope that these lessons can be of encouragement to you.
Now I'm gonna go eat cake.