It's 5:01 am. I've been up since 2:27. Hungary. Restless.
In only 2 days, my debut book will be released for the whole world and frankly, the excitement is terrifying! I can't sleep because I am nervous about being completely vulnerable in a world that loves to judge.
The thing about me, and most of us, I'm sure, is that authenticity is such a vitally important characteristic to have- especially in today's society. Sure, we may not always be understood, but at least we are authentic. That is just one of the many life lessons I have learned over the last 3 decades of my life, in addition to so many other lessons that I'm learning as each minute becomes a new hour and a new day and a new opportunity for growth.
God has given us 24 hours in every day, and, whether we are aware of it or not, so much goes on in that time span. How often do you stop to realize that each hour of your day is packed with life-changing lessons? Sure, there are the life altering realities that spin you on your heels- we all get those from time to time. And though we shouldn't ignore the lessons from such unexpected circumstances, I wonder, if maybe it's the subtle lessons of each day that truly shape us and build our character, sometimes in ways that we are not aware of.
So, this morning, as I am responding to my editor's emails, taking notes and praying that God uses my book to help others grow, I'd like to share some personal life lessons that started me on my path to being an author, and a Christian, in the first place.
1. Your Life is an Opportunity to Make a Positive Difference
There is no such thing as a bad day- just bad decisions made in our day. We, as women, have the power to produce life wherever we go. It's a choice. We can see people, events and circumstances as problems, or we can see them as opportunities. Either way, your reaction is really only a reflection of your maturity and the understanding of your own purpose.
When we consider others before ourselves, show kindness to hateful people, seek ways to help those in need or just give a genuine compliment to another person, those decisions are what makes a great day! We can wallow in self pity and hold grudges and attitudes when things don't go our way; we can complain about our current circumstances and harbor envy in our hearts towards others, but that is a misuse of your life and your time.
Learn to invest yourself in making moments meaningful. Learn to celebrate others and pray for God's wisdom to guide you through areas of discomfort and uncertainty. Remember, His mercies are new every morning! So wake up, pray and slay! You've got this!
2. Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak and Slow to Become Angry
A lot of drama occurs when we simply talk more than we listen. Understanding is a spiritual medicine. Popping off is a spiritual poison.
Not everything is going to occur to meet your needs. You might feel left out and disconnected. You might feel misunderstood or wronged in some way, but it's always best to seek understanding, instead of blaming and bashing others for your feelings of insecurity. Learn to breathe!
Start by first approaching the problem, instead of shying away from it- preventing the other person from explaining their side of the story. It makes no sense to be mad at someone who has no idea you are mad at them. That's stupid. That's 6th grade.
The Bible says to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. In layman's terms, God is instructing us to use patience in discovering understanding. Too many friendships have been ruined because one or both people were too imature- too easily angered and offended- to be strong women and confront each other about hurt feelings or misunderstandings. And though none of us enjoy conflict, the problem isn't the problem, necessarily, the real problem, and tragedy, is the unwillingness to address the problem in order to find a solution. Too many of us cling to our hurt, as if that is justification to act immaturely. It isn't. If we are to be women of God, we must first start with practicing honesty. Cutting yourself off from other people who love you, simply because you are hurt, is selfish and prideful. We have to learn how to be willing to seek understanding and be angry less.
3. Compliment Yourself
Okay, I already know about 10 people who will probably giggle to themselves about this one, because this is a life lesson that I practice daily. Call it vainity- cuz maybe it is, but it's such a beautiful thing to feel good about yourself! It took me a long time to do so in a healthy way.
Modeling confused me, a lot. I was gorgeous to this designer and uninteresting to the next. I was in magazines and on TV, but had the most barely love life. Was I pretty? Was I not pretty? I don't know. So, one day, I just decided that I was pretty... in fact, I decided that I was rather gorgeous and I hold tight to that opinion, even today.
Listen, your essence and your existence is beautiful because God says it is. I won't argue with Him on that and neither should you. You are one of a kind- unique , special and gifted, so the least you can do is love yourself and love her well!
We each have our scares, our imperfections, our flaws... but that's what makes us unique and the moment you realize that you look the way you look on purpose is the moment you can begin to rejoice, because God creates everything in excellence!
So learn to look in the mirror and celebrate yourself! You look good girl! Be proud! And...a little lipstick never hurt!
4. First Impressions Mean A lot
We live in this age where we don't want to be judged. I get it. But, you can't walk around naked and then get mad at negative reactions from others. You can't have poor credit and feel offended when the bank won't loan you any money. You can't behave crazy on social media and then get upset when other people don't take your seriously. There is a cause and effect to every choice we make and though we are entitled to do whatever we want, we are not entitled to force others to react to us in the way we want them to. Only God sees the heart; people only see our choices and how we choose to carry ourselves molds an impression of who we are to others, just as we hold impressions in our minds on others, based off of their lifestyle and decisions, as well.
Listen, you can't make crap decisions and expect golden results. That's not how life works. And you can throw out the "I'm being judged card" all you want, but the truth of the matter is, if you don't do questionable things, then no one will have a reason to question you.
Every day, we have the opportunity to decide how we want to present ourselves. It’s that first impression when you walk in the room, engage in a conversation, post that picture on social media or react to the stranger that paints a picture of who you are.
We are all different and we were all called to live different lives. That's what makes our world beautiful. Learn how to carry yourself in your personal best. I'm not suggesting perfection, because Lord knows that's not possible for any of us. But, what I am suggesting is that we all take some inventory of where our mentalities are, the daily legacies we hope