Most of you who will read this know that I recently turned 25. I have said this a thousand times before so I won't belabor the point, but I am not at all where I imagined I would be at 25! I had this perfect plan - graduate from college at 21 (ha! what a dream!), get married at 22, and start having babies around 24. Needless to say, those things haven't happened the way I planned and I'm quite grateful it didn't work out my way. If I'd married who I was dating at 21, well... we would've been in a world of trouble.
What I've noticed about getting older is that I am getting better about knowing what I value and then making those things my priority. Life feels more "real" and like I have more responsibility. Over the past several months, I've really learned about making personal boundaries which has changed my life dramatically. I am still in the hyper-boundary-setting stage (where I am setting up electric fences - don't mess with my boundary!!) but I will eventually find a balance that works for me. But, I'm finally learning that I can say "no" to people and not feel guilty about it. Want me to go out with you every night until 2am? No. Want me to volunteer for six different activities a week? No. Want me to let you borrow my homework? No. Want to let you plan my wedding? No. :) No, no, no! It feels SOOOOO good to say that word!!
But, I am also saying YES to a lot of things!!! During my summer internship, our pastor, Jon Quitt, emphasized and re-emphasized this invaluable quote: "Vision is knowing who you are, but also who you are not." You can have that one for free. :) Once I can establish who I am and what my "purpose" is, I can also establish who I am not and the things that I am not "led" to do. I have permission to start saying "no" to the things that will take away from the things I should be saying "yes" to.
When I focus on my "calling" (I hate those terms!), then I find myself happier, more peaceful, more challenged, and more in love with life. I LOVE teaching. I love teaching so much that I am going into debt with the federal government so that I can be a teacher. I am sacrificing well over $40,000 (I'm including all the money I'll have to spend of my personal money to run my classroom) to take a career that will get me $35-45K per year. I'm spending three days a week (24 hours - that's a part time job!) teaching in a classroom and then going to class (15 hours!) two days a week. Basically, school is my full-time job right now! Then, when you add my invovlement in the worship team, kids' program, commitment to Bible study and memorizing verses, outreach programs, helping Blake with youth, co-leading a small group, planning a wedding, and still trying to see our family & friends... I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
This semester, more than any semester before, I am going to have to say "no" to a lot of things. And I won't lie, saying "no" is hard! I feel like I'm missing out on things. But, what I know is that I am saying "yes" to my passions, to things that God has called me to. There is nothing better to say "yes" to than those things! Anything that hinders or impairs the things I mentioned above will just have to come last on my list of priorities. And even those things are prioritized!
My goal in life is not to be one of those people who boasts about being super busy so that I feel important. Not. at. all. In fact, I hate being super busy! But, this is a period of my life where there's just no way around the busy-ness, so... I'm just going to have to deal. At 25, I am much better at handling my priorities than I was at 20. I used to cry out of tiredness because I was taking 12-15 hours and then working 20-25 hours at the bookstore. Psh! I wish I could go back to that time - my schedule was so easy! But, I guess growing up will do that to you. I love growing up. I love learning. And, so far, I love being 25.