You know today is the celebration of 30 years of my life. I was born on the 21st of May 1987 a little earlier than expected with a rather exciting entrance to the world, looking a little like a Smurf and needing a lot of oxygen to start my lungs of. I was the third child born into my family, I have 2 sisters, I was the tomboy they were the princesses but you can imagine the carnage and chaos my poor father had to go through during our teeenage years. Though in our defence he always wanted girls.
My husband has been rather excited about my birthday, possibly so I can stop poking fun that he is in his 30’s already, but also possibly because he loves me enough to delight in these special days with me. Recently I have been considering what I would have loved to have learned a decade ago. What would I tell a younger Shelley? Oh the list is endless. But I feel these would be my top items. your looks don’t matter… oh to be as overweight as I once thought I was, if only you knew how much I struggled with this, magazines and media will tell you you have to look a certain way… YOU DON’T. Be you!
Friends are those who stick by you in tough times not those who roll by when the suns out. Friends listen when you scream at them about your marriage issues, and they just go and pray for you. Friends are those who put up with your insecurities and stick by you anyways. Friends love your ‘real’ not your fake. Friends are those who love the rawest version of you and are not afraid to challenge you, who are not afraid to shout at you and tell you your wrong.
Don’t compare yourself… your awesome. You know the old Shelley, she may have had her ‘issues’ her problems and it was right that they were things I dealt with but you know sometimes I wish I could go back and be that girl again I would do it so differently (or so I tell myself). I’ve always been stubborn, strong willed, feisty, and inquisitive, I was a joy to parent… though it’s genetic- have you met my mother?? 🙂 I’ve always had those qualities and I think I always will, yet 10 or 20 years ago I seen them as negatives. So many people who came into my world for a moment, people who I didn’t realise didn’t matter reminded me kindly of how I shouldn’t be; and I hated those aspects of me, yet today on the brink of 30 I love them. My favourite character traits come from my inquisitive nature, my desire to be informed and my strong will to decide what I want and my daring pursuit of Jesus and what he has for me. Oh how I wish I had known how great these things where then. I’m currently raising a just turned 5 year old who is my twin, and I will remind her every day that she can be those things, because a passionate, self loving, stubborn, 20 year old who loves Jesus is a force to be reckoned with!
I would tell myself not to let others effect how I lived my life. Do you know how much water I let into the boat of my life that didn’t need to be there? I was literally sinking in life circumstances that affected me but didn’t need to effect me.! I needed to remember that God is captain of my life and I needed to stop being the ship mate that let other passengers on board who hadn’t paid their dues. You know just last year at bible week, a pastor reminded me to reflect the father, I have prayed this so many times in my life since, he reminded me so diligently that God has a plan for me, and that by allowing these circumstances to stay in my life I was weighing myself down. What wise words! What a life lesson! I have it in a book and I keep going back to it, I will forever keep it and I wish I had known it sooner. I wish I had wanted to know it sooner.
The last thing I would tell a younger me is simple, you don’t always get answers. Some things just stink. I have spent so much of my 20’s searching for answers instead of learning lessons. One of my favourite preachers has been telling me for about 5 years now, and recently it just dropped. The penny literally fell into place. I no longer want answers but I do want to journey with God and so I find myself running to Him with my queries and my questions, my hurts and my joys. It may have taken me longer than I would like but I have learned one of life’s hardest lessons and that is to run to God, worship Him in my hard places, praise Him in my joys, and study His word in spite of how I feel, to really desire His plans and to rest and leave mine with Him to resolve. Because although the bible says God give you the desires of your heart, it does not mean instantly, it means that the desire of my heart should be Him and all things then flow from Him. I wish I had known this before.
Don’t get me wrong I have plenty still to learn, I am still learning to trust, I am learning to love well, or should I say be loved well, but at the end of it all I will welcome in my 3rd decade worshipping God in church with my family, and with my friends. I would love for you to learn what it took me forever to learn. Love Him first and desire His ways only!