22 Things I Learned Before I Turned 22

001. Mystery isn’t as scary as we think it is.

We can be tempted to run away from questions instead of towards them, but mystery can actually be an invitation into a hidden work within us.

002. Questions that we ask reveal deeper things that our hearts want to wrestle with.

Every time I’ve had a particular question about a season or something I want to learn about whether it’s what I’m supposed to do next or how do I learn more about prayer, it tells me what I’m wrestling with and that I need to really pursue the deeper root of my concern.

003. The death of your dreams isn’t always the worst thing. AND death doesn’t have to be physical in order for it to be real.

When our dreams die, we think we will shatter. And sometimes we do. But sometimes what comes together after the death of a dream is not what we would have chosen, and yet it’s the outcome that makes our heart come alive again.

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004. Healing isn’t passive. We have to be loved into healing.

Our culture loves the lie that somehow time is what heals us. No, if time passes, we risk letting wounds fester and harden. We are healed with love and attention in community. Healing is an action that resists passivity.

005. Deny your flesh your desires. Learning to say no will teach you what is worth saying yes to.

I’m convinced that if we all got a little bit better at saying no to ourselves, we might actually learn what is good for us in the long run, and what’s good for each other in the long run. A culture of instant gratification only makes us crave more and crave indiscriminately. Then we wonder why we’re unable to resist the call of temptation. If you say no, you have more self-control and a greater ability to discern whether or not your desire is good.

006. Contentment doesn’t start when the “good days” come around. If I want to be content, it starts here. It starts now.

Your life is here now. Therefore, you should be content here now.

007. Doing the right thing doesn’t always mean we’ll be rewarded. Sometimes it’s exhausting. And we will want to give up. It doesn’t always feel good.

If I only do good because I think I’ll be rewarded, then I’m not acting out of integrity. There are times when doing good will exhaust you and it won’t feel like the right thing to do. But the right thing isn’t always the easy thing.

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008. It doesn’t matter if you’re slow when you’re steady.

We can easily overestimate going far without realizing it’s going steady that’ll really take you places.

009. A job isn’t a life.

I’ve had jobs that I’ve loved and I’ve had jobs that were not so great. The best thing you can remember for your mental health is not your job isn’t your whole life. You still have a social life and a body you need to take care of and a home. You’ll be okay even if your job isn’t what you thought it’d be.

010. Rest isn’t not working. It can be working differently to how you normally work.

I heard this from my boss’ boss Fitz. Rest doesn’t mean that we don’t work. But I think it means we work differently. Instead of working with our minds, we work with our hands and vice versa.

011. God intends His surprises. Just because you are doesn’t mean He is.

There are moments when I am utterly surprised and amazed at what God has done in my life. Then I realize He isn’t surprised. He planned this all along. What a God!

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012. Fasting and silence are hard work, but with great spiritual rewards.

As a believer, it is hard work to realize the ways that I have been more nurtured by culture than by my faith. It’s easy to get lost in indulgence and social media consumption, but I have experienced the rewards of fasting and silence and all I can say is I want more.

013. Love has its own timeline. Someone else’s timeline can and will be different from yours.

It’s easy to look on a friends’ lives as they’re falling in love and getting married, but we are not in control of our own timeline. Love comes when it’s supposed to, and not a minute sooner. No use in worrying or trying to control.

014. Words have such power. The words of life that someone has spoken over you will be remembered.

It has shocked me what someone has remembered of what I’ve said and I’ve been amazed at what I remember from years ago. Be wise in how you speak. Uplifting words remembered at the right time have the power to change lives.

015. Getting enough sleep and waking up early is a key discipline for your goals.

I feel like we’ve all heard these ideas for years, but honestly, if I could go back and talk to my college self, I’d tell her two things, actually three things: get more sleep, don’t think about that boy, and pray more!

016. Just because you know what’s wrong doesn’t mean you know how to get better. You can diagnose yourself but you may not have the tools to heal.

To diagnose and to heal are two separate skill sets. Honestly, there are plenty of people that know what’s wrong, either with their mental health or emotional health, but they may not have the tools to get better.

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017. I am as much of a body as I am a spirit. I have to make room to nurture an embodied way of living.

Because of Descartes and Gnosticism, we’ve all connected with this idea that we’re a mind and we’re our thoughts. That’s only partly true. We’re also inhabit bodies. No matter how you feel about your body, it is you. It is the space you inhabit. Learn to treat it well. Healthy food and sleep and water. You’re like a plant! Get yourself some sunshine to grow!

018. When we live disciplined lives, we are more free. Commitments are lifegiving.

As fun as life on vacation is, we are more fulfilled when we’ve got things to do and work to complete. When we push ourselves to grow and work hard, we get to enjoy the fruit of our labor.

019. The things we do for the long haul will be long in us.

It’s easy to be cavalier about the shows we watch or the songs we sing, but the rhythms we implement in our lives will spill out in the hard situations. It’ll spill out when the years of labor wear and tear on our minds and bodies. If we haven’t prepared for hard seasons for faith to be where we turn, we will find ourselves at a loss in what comes out of us.

020. Living a quiet life might just be the most faithful thing you do.

A while ago, I was having a discussion with a dear friend about the people in heaven whose names we don’t know. They weren’t famous down here. They didn’t lead movements or build big businesses. They just kept their heads down and were faithful to love their friends and family and neighbors. Making it big does not guarantee faithfulness. But consistency for the long haul and serving those around you, to me that sounds a lot like faithfulness. It just makes me smile to imagine those servants hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

021. Growth is accepting reality instead of trying to force something that isn’t meant to be.

If I learned anything in college, it was this. Accept reality and you’ll actually begin to love your life for what it is. Not what it could be.

022. Learn to hold things loosely. It’s all in God’s hands.

From Paul Granger, the podcast host of Where Did You See God?. These words of wisdom are shepherding me through this season.

Hope you enjoyed these things I learned before I turned 22!

Signing off,

Gigi

2 thoughts on “22 Things I Learned Before I Turned 22

  1. Wow, you’ve got some amazing gems here. I feel like I could comment on each one of them!
    I love seeing you grow in wisdom, and how you are documenting. So many times in the Bible, we are told to “Remember.” These are worth remembering and meditating upon.

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