25 things I’ve learned so far and still trying to learn now

Life is beautiful.
Life is beautiful.

I am now in my quarter of a century old. Oh wow! It sounds odd to say out loud, for I feel much older. I am no longer in my early twenties and the depressing thing is everyone I know tells me how scary it is to turn 25.

Well, I beg to disagree. Turning 25 can be a positive experience. Forget what everyone has to say. It is not scary! You are so blessed to reach the beginning of a brand new year of life. You don’t turn 25 every day, so enjoy it while it lasts! So I’ll be sharing you here a list of 25 things I’m glad I’ve learned so far and still trying to learn now.

1. Life isn’t going to go the way you planned.
This is my number one for a reason. Realize that you may not end up where you thought you’d be by the time you hit 25. If you end up somewhere better, great! If not, it’s totally okay. Learn from any mistakes. Do the best with what you’ve got and keep moving forward.

2. Know how to budget.
Be serious about your savings account. Do simple taxes. Always have some kind of financial safety net. It doesn’t have to be big, even something small is better than nothing. We live in a crazy, uncertain world. Anything can happen and we don’t have control over much but take control of what you can and minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises.

3. Learn how to cook.
You don’t have to be a culinary artist but know the basics of cooking and baking. If you’re just starting out, pick a few simple recipes to master. Get some cookbooks or read some food articles. If your single and don’t wish to remain so, then cooking is definitely something you’re going to need to learn if you want to raise a healthy, happy family. Plus, eating in on a regular basis is always cheaper and healthier than constantly eating out. I learned that from my Mom.

4. You don’t need to hang out all the time.
Enjoy your friends but schedule time for a little solitarily. Talk to God, have a deeper conversation with Him, read a book, do something that can bring out the real you…be creative. Your brain will thank you. Believe me.

5. Travel while you are young.
You don’t need to be rich to travel while you are young. Find airfare promos ahead of time. It feels amazing to step out of your comfort zone and see wonders and amazing creations of our Creator. It will change your perspective and it will help you decide what you want in life.

6. Be a student.
You may think that when you finish your formal education you get to call it quits on the pencils and books. No, no! Graduation doesn’t mean the learning stops. Think about all the things you’ve always wanted to learn and figure out how to learn them. Whatever it is, make time to immerse yourself in what you’re passionate about.

7. Know when to shut up.
Don’t speak every thought that pops into your head. Mature adults know when to speak and when words are unnecessary. Don’t gossip or spread rumors. Think before you open your mouth and really practice listening to other people. You’ll develop better relationships, succeed professionally and get yourself in less trouble.

8. Have friends that are older than you.
I am surrounded with lots of older people in our home, in the office and in church. Having friends outside your age demographic challenges your brain and gives you broader perspective in life. I’ve learned that having older adult friends is one of the smartest things a young person can do. They’ve lived more of life than you and can speak wisdom into your life. Develop some relationships with adults who are older than you, it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

9. Listen to your parents.
Yes, you’re an adult. Yes, you need the freedom to make your own decisions. But listen up. Your parents have done this adult thing for a bit longer than you have, pay attention to what they have to say. That doesn’t mean they’re always right or that you have to agree with everything they say. But give them a chance, they’ve got experience and that counts for a lot.

10. Keep house.
Whether you’re in a dorm, an apartment, or living with your parents, learn basic home economics skills. Learn to iron, do dishes, vacuum, wash clothes and clean a bathroom. There is more to adulthood than keeping a job. Learn all you can about running a household during whatever season you’re in now so you’ll be as ready as possible when the time comes.

11. Unplug every once in a while.
Put your phone down, step away from your computer, and turn off the TV. Log out, sign out, exit, shut down, and unplug. You won’t die. It’ll be there when you get back. FB statuses don’t always need updating, emails can be checked later. Go and check out life beyond the screen.

12. You should know that life is too short to worry all the time.
You are sitting there, a few weeks before your birthday, thinking, “Where have all the years gone?” Let me just say that it has gone by and whether we like it or not, we can’t turn back time. So stop worrying, start loving and appreciating future moments because life is too short for unnecessary things like this.

13. Kids are awesome.
I love kiddos and I’ve got lots of them in my extended church family. Thank God for giving me the privilege to be a Sunday school teacher. Learn that even in this tech-crazed world, a box of crayons and paper will still occupy the modern child. And when your budget won’t allow even the simplest gifts, your time and attention means a lot. Kids remember more than we give them credit for. Make friends with them and their parents now and you may be the trusted adult they go to when they need someone to talk to later in life.

14. Go to sleep.
Just because you know how to sleep late and function during the day doesn’t mean you should. This is one that I really struggle with. I love the solitude of the night and I’ve done some work during late hours. However, the truth of the matter is the best work is done when the mind is rested. So go to sleep at a decent hour, rise early and hit the ground running. Sleeping late is a bad habit.

15. Take care of your body.
Just like it needs sleep, your body needs good nutrition, hydration, and exercise to function best. Eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water. Find an exercise you enjoy and do it at least a few times a week. Limit your sugar and fat intake and don’t eat late at night. You will age more gracefully when you take care of your body when you’re young.

16. Know what you believe.
The world is noisy with sound of a million different philosophies, ideas, and opinions. Start with God and His word and you’ll have the best framework with which to build your worldview. He will always give you the right wisdom.

17. Know your limitations.
Youth is a great time to try new things, have adventures and step outside of your comfort zone. But know your limitations. It’s okay to say ‘no’. Be smart about your choices and don’t stretch yourself too far.

18. Singleness is a gift.
There is nothing wrong with being single. In fact, it’s a necessary season in life to figure yourself out. When you don’t have the distraction of other, you can get to know yourself, your passions, and your goals. Enjoy and make the most of your singleness.

19. Life isn’t fair and it doesn’t owe you a thing.
You are going to get used, betrayed and stabbed in the back. Sometimes the mess and hurt will be your fault and other times your best efforts will only earn you disappointment and heartache. But God is gracious and life will always be worth living no matter how hard things get. Take responsibility for your actions, work hard, take the bad with the good and learn how to get back up when you get knocked down.

20. Give a care.
Take genuine interest in the people around you. Don’t be nosy or get into people’s business but show that you care about and value them. Smile. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Offer to help when it’s needed. Care enough to give your best to others, your co workers, your family and friends, they all deserve your care. Give it freely and without condition. You’ll be a much happier person when you do!

21. There is difference embracing your inner-child and acting childish.
There are some things that shouldn’t change when we grow up like enjoying an afternoon at the park, a favorite childhood story, or a game with your nieces and nephews but take the best of childhood and pair it with the wisdom that should come with age. Don’t run around doing unnecessary things, not thinking of how it will effect other people. Don’t throw tantrums, toss around people’s feelings or be careless with other people’s things. That’s childish behavior and you should know better than that. Be responsible, say what you mean, and don’t sulk when things don’t go your way.

22. It’s not worth hanging on to clothes “just in case they fit”.
If your clothes don’t fit and all they do is make you feel cramped and uncomfortable, do. Not. Keep. Them! Trust me on this! All they will do is make you miserable. Do your self-confidence and your closet a favour and give away the clothes you don’t need.

23. It’s OK not to be OK.
We are all human, we all have emotions and sometimes, life just gets to us. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to give yourself a break. It’s okay to surrender what you feel to God and have cry on Him. No one will think any less of you. God is always ready to listen on you.

24. Rejection is nothing to be afraid of.
I’ve finally realized that you cannot become successful in life if you’re not willing to risk screwing up. If the worst possible result that can come from pursuing what we want is failing, then there’s really nothing to be afraid of. I got so many rejections. But that is not the reason for you to give up. Look up! Don’t lose hope. Success only happens if you keep trying.

25. It really is best to be yourself. (Promise.)
No matter how popular, beautiful or successful the person you’re trying to emulate, is it impossible to be exactly like the object of your admiration, pursuing this unattainable “ideal” will only make you frustrated and blind to your own, unique beauty. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

So if you’re going to turn 25, then take the opportunity to learn as much as you can before you hit the quarter-life mark. If you’re past 25, then take the opportunity to look at what you know and what you probably should know by now. Life is a cumulative journey and there’s always more to learn and more ways to improve. Embrace the best and live life to the fullest!

 

Your sweetest Melody, ❤

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God’s timing

As I was browsing on my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this photo below posted by one of my friends.

Image: Facebook

Image: Facebook

It makes me think of how God’s time really run? How does God’s time really work? As what Joyce Meyer says, “we often say God is never late,  but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.”

Exodus 13:17-18 tells us that God led the Israelites the longer, harder way on their journey to the Promised Land because He knew they were not yet ready to go in. There had to be time for their training, and they had to go through some very trying situations. They wasted a lot of time wondering about God’s timing, but God never failed to take care of them and show them what He wanted them to do. When the Lord closes a door, it means that He has something better for me than I had for myself. (Meyers)

Imagine this way, you see an open door. You want to walk through it. But before you get there, the Lord quickly shuts it. You are left no choice but to turn around and walk away, each step asking ‘why?’. Sometimes, you are fortunate to learn the reasons later on and sometimes you don’t. Either way, you continue to put one foot in front of the other and learn to praise God in the hallway.

This revelation reminded me of this verse:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I don’t know what my future holds, the doors that will be opened, the opportunities that will arise. I’m in between. Last night, as I was also browsing inspirational quotes on Pinterest, I came across this saying from Corrie Ten Boom (she’s the author of the book, The Hiding Place. It’s about her life hiding both physical and in spiritual place):

Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

 

So simple yet so powerful. When I think of Corrie ten Boom and her life-threatening situation, my situation pales in comparison. Corrie didn’t know if she would live to see the next day, let alone her future. But she continued to trust that the Lord had a plan. Her strong faith and unwavering trust inspire me.

Likewise, in my in-between, “when I can’t trace the Lord’s hand, I’ll trust His heart.”

 

Your sweetest Melody, ❤

Choose JOY

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

The last time ago our ministry leader thought us about “Joy in the Lord” and it really strikes me out! That is why it was made possible because of that idea.

So how do you define happiness and joy? Is there any difference between the two? What does it mean to be truly joyful?

Everyone wants to enjoy life. The world places their source of joy in what they own, in their reputation, in their status, fame, money and other luxurious things. Yet, all of those things are unstable and can easily evaporate. It can only give you a temporary satisfaction.

Happiness is external and comes from experiences and those around us. It is temporary and depends on what is happening at that moment. Happiness is concerned with earthly things while Joy is internal and eternal. Joy comes from the Lord.

If you are looking for the right path, it’s with Jesus Christ. The One who died for you and rose again. He wants your heart because He loves you, that’s why He died for you. All you have to do is accept Him and believe.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9ESV

Salvation is a free gift of God! He can give you a new life like never before. Surrender your WHOLE heart 100% to Him and He can give you outstanding joy like no other, which cannot come from any other source but Him. Joy is a sense of fulfillment not a temporary feeling of bliss. All you have to do is believe in Him, it’s your choice, like God said many are called but few are chosen because few choose to believe in Him but if you do He can make you clean and bring you to the light. I want you to find Him because it’s just so amazing when God makes you a new person, make things clear for you and brings understanding, that’s the joy I have in the Lord!

Have you ever notice that sometimes you have everything in life yet you feel happy in a moment then suddenly there’s a touch of incompleteness again? Well, happiness is like a cosmetic, it is on the outside while joy is character, it is on the inside. Happiness only meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Therefore, happiness is like a thermometer, it just registers conditions. Joy is the thermostat that controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis. Joy many times intensifies in a crisis. Happiness is wonder but let me tell you something, friend. Happiness is at its fullest when it is blended with joy, when you know the joy of the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.” So if you live for happiness, you are a prisoner of circumstances because if the circumstances change, then you are not happy anymore.

Be a model of Joy.
Be a model of Joy.

As Christians there is one thing we should model, it is the joy of the Lord. God designed the Christian life to be an abundant life. The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22).

Joyless living makes us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, not to mention that it’s a miserable way to live.

I’ve listed here some simple questions that indeed brings me to understand how significant joy in the life of every people.

  1. Why is joy important?
    a. Joy helps us stay positive and encourage others and reminds us that there is something better waiting for us. Joy draws us closer to God and keeps our hearts from hardening.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. –Romans 15:13

  1. Where do you find joy?
    a. Possessing joy is a choice. With all the trials and challenges happened to me, I find joy knowing that God is at my side and that He is thinking about me. I find joy when I am able to show grace to someone else because of God’s daily grace to me. I find joy knowing that Jesus finds me worthy even when many people don’t and I sometimes even don’t consider myself worthy.
  2. What kills joy?
    a. Comparing yourself to others. This comes in so many shades that we sometimes fail to see it for what it is and I’m guilty as charged here. You might be looking at someone else’s lighter workload, more vacation time, less pressure, or desirable spiritual gifts. None of it is wise. You will either feel cheated or inferior—and joyless.

God gave us each different gifts—unique gifts, valuable gifts, admirable gifts. But when we compare our ministry or opportunities with others, we are bound to lose our joy.

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”—Galatians 6:4

        b. Impure thoughts. When you allow temptations to play in your mind, you will lose your joy. Christian cannot have impure thoughts day after day without experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And no one who is under the constant conviction of the Holy Spirit can be happy.

We must have a pure heart to see God for who He is and there is fullness of joy in His presence.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

        c. Seeing outside the will of God. This is complicated because we can easily believe it is God’s will for us. Be careful. When your mind is out on a plain of “what ifs,” you will not regain your joy for where you are. If it is the difficulties of ministry or the struggles in your family or another relationship that are prompting your dreams, renew your time in God’s Word, give thanks for the blessings, and stick it out. Finish the race with joy!

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” —Acts 20:24

  1. What daily strategies help you focus on joy when times are tough?
    a. Pray, pray and pray. Seriously, even when my happiness fades, I never lose my joy. I look around at what God has given me, how He lifts me up every day, how He has protected me and I can be unhappy yet joyful at the same time. My strategy when times are tough is to stay positive, connect with like-minded people who uplift me, and listen to some of my favorite worship and praise music.

There is only one source of Joy – God Himself. The world can offer you a lot to make you happy but finding joy can give you a fulfillment in life. There are many joy killers, but there is one joy-Giver. His name is Jesus.

Jesus can give you a life better than the one you have now, a life full of joy, love, peace, understanding, hope and thankfulness but He wants you to come first to receive Him whole heartedly, turn from your sin and to your own understanding and abide in His truth. Cling to His promises daily, obey His word and fear the Lord! BELIEVE.

“ And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Today, choose JOY!

 

Your sweetest Melody, ❤