I challenge you to consider the lessons your life is offering you right now. I say offering because God offers lessons, but it is up to us to learn from them. If we don’t learn, the same lessons will be offered again and again. Through both frustrations and exciting times, there is something for you to learn that will prepare you for greater opportunities on your horizon. Today, I want you to be intentional about looking for those lessons and finding ways to apply them to the daily challenges you face.
Here are five of the greatest lessons I have learned on my journey thus far. Perhaps you’ve learned or encountered these along your journey as well. If so, consider these a reminder today:
1. Nothing is permanent.
I first learned this lesson at the age of six, which was the first time my family moved. We left my birthplace of Florida and moved to Germany. I moved eight more times by the time I turned twenty-one—to cities in Colorado, South Carolina, California, back to Florida, and Texas. Growing up in an Air Force family, I quickly learned to adapt to new circumstances, new people, and sometimes even a new country. Nothing in life is permanent—a fact that should encourage you to revel in the joy your life is bringing right now and minimize your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. There is something in your life right now that is not permanent. If it is something you love, in what ways could you embrace and enjoy it more? If it is something you don’t think you can handle, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.
2. You are either living on purpose or living by accident.
Too many people wander through life haphazardly—latching onto acquaintances, jobs, and life situations just because they crossed their path. Those people are bound to wake up one day wondering, “How on earth did I get here?” I call this living by accident. In order to create a fulfilling life, you have to be purposeful in your decisions. Don’t make a decision without reflecting on what long-term impact it will have on you and the people you love. Pursue the things that empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around—inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction you are. Know your purpose and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life. Strive not to end up anywhere by accident—just because it was convenient.
3. Fear does not necessarily mean stop.
Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and interpret that feeling as a warning to stop moving forward. In truth, we should interpret most fear as a natural emotion that pops up every time we venture to do something outside of our comfort zone. When you feel fear, keep moving. It’ll stretch you beyond your comfort zone and get you closer to your goals. What are you afraid of right now that is keeping you from living your best life? Will you make a decision to move forward despite your fear?
4. Less is more.
More than ever, our culture is fixated on proving your worth through your money and material possessions. Whole television shows are dedicated to showing you all the “stuff” other people have. After a while it can be pretty challenging not to compare your stuff to everyone else’s! But true self-empowerment comes from knowing that nothing material will ever prove your worth. Your worth comes from your identity as a child of God and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. Instead, focus on impressing God by living the purpose for which He created you—serving and blessing others in the way that only you can.
5. The power to change your life is in the choices you make.
This is perhaps the most powerful of lessons. Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you that most impacts your life. It is how you respond. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today? You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them. The choice is yours.