Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some Things I've Learned

Yesterday I turned forty-seven years old. Or as my husband put it, three years away from the big five Oh. (For which he was promptly smacked.)

As I grow older these are some of the things I have learned.

As much as I love presents, it has become very easy for me to put off the instant gratification of tearing into a gift. In fact, I asked that gifts be delayed. I now know what it means to be patient and wait for the really good stuff that is coming soon.

I have learned that no matter where I am, or what my circumstances are, after God my family is the single most important thing to me. We could be living in a mansion or in a hut and as long as they are with me, I will find occasions to smile. Material things may be convenient, and may even bring a certain amount of pleasure, but nothing compares to hearing my loved ones’ voices and seeing their faces.

I have learned that mistakes are inevitable. It’s what you do afterward that really matters. I used to be a perfectionist. The key phrase in that sentence is “used to be”, as in past tense. My husband picked up a post card tonight that I use for handing out at events. He commented on how professional they look. My thought was, would I have it any other way? Yet, even in my quest for excellence, I have learned that perfection is too lofty a goal; it is unrealistic and impossible for mere mortals to experience. Excellence on the other hand is quite nice…and quite attainable. Learning from mistakes is what carries us onward to excellence.

I have learned that our dream is our own, no one else’s. We have to own it, develop it, work toward it and achieve it. No one will do it for us. No one will believe in us if we do not believe in ourselves. And even then, they may not believe in us. I have learned it doesn’t matter if anyone else believes because as long as we are walking in God’s will for our lives…and we believe it…with work and persistence, we can achieve it.

I have learned that others may have to make their own mistakes. I cannot remove the obstacles for them. I cannot save them from themselves. They must experience pain and roadblocks to grow. It is the way of life. As much as I want to reach out and pull them from the muck, I cannot. I must let them live, through the good and bad.

I have learned I don’t have all the answers. When I was eighteen and I knew everything, I wished for a platform so I could enlighten the world. Now, at forty-seven, I have a platform. Now, instead of shouting my opinions, I write and speak from the heart of God. My opinions no longer matter. Everything I do now is to further His kingdom, not my own.

I also know that in the next forty-seven years, should the Lord allow me to remain on this earth, I will learn many, many more lessons.

Darlene Shortridge

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