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Happy Birthday to Me & 45 Lessons Learned

By Cara Ray on Feb 23, 2021

Today marks another beginning of another year for me. Now smack dab in my mid-forties, I’m seeing (and feeling) more the affects of time. But I’m also seeing some fruit of patient sowing and reaping in both my own life, and my family’s.

We all have this strange relationship with time. It’s both an enemy and a friend. We mourn the loss of our own youthful glow and vigor, but it also teaches us to let go of the things that don’t serve us, and focus on what’s most valuable and precious. More time = more clarity on what’s truly important.

Here Are 45 Lessons I’ve Learned in my First 45

  1. Jesus is more precious to me with every passing year. He is my everything.
  2. Roller skates should not be worn past 35.
  3. Finding an exercise I enjoy has been the key to making it a regular rhythm of my life. (First running, then Hot Pilates, now Bootcamps!)
  4. Managing email is a skill worth developing. Try to OHIO (Only Handle It Once), and archive it once it’s done, or delete if you don’t need it.
  5. Be genuinely interested in others. People will forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
  6. Be fully present when your kids tell you about their day, their dreams, or all the secret compartments in their Lego creations.
  7. Be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader, and greatest defender.
  8. Same for your kids. Fight for them, even if that puts you on the ‘outs’ with people you care about.
  9. Keep a loose grip on your plans. When they change, trust the Lord is in control of even the smallest details of your life.
  10. Sharing the Gospel is one of life’s greatest privileges (and responsibilities). Pray for more opportunities and more boldness to share it.
  11. Elle Woods was so wise: “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
  12. The Truth is worth standing up for even if you have to stand alone. 
  13. When you know the Lord is calling to someplace new, follow him.
  14. When trying to discover God’s will for your life, read the Bible, seek godly counsel, and then do what you want.
  15. Get outdoors more.
  16. Faithful, loving, (and imperfect) discipline of your children when they’re little, will Lord willing, reap wonderful relationships with them later in life.
  17. Admit when you’ve wronged your children. Show them that you need Jesus as much as they do.
  18. Learn the Inductive Bible Study Method for your own personal study. 
  19. Stop watching mainstream media, it’s poison.
  20. If doubting what the world is trying to convince you of, makes you a conspiracy theorist, then I’ll be conspiracy theorist (based on #19).
  21. Drink more water. But tea counts as water in my book.
  22. Journaling keeps you true to your own thoughts, feelings, dreams, needs, and processes. Sometimes you don’t know how you feel until you write it down.
  23. Never underestimate the power of a fresh start.
  24. Taking a calculated risk and then failing, is better than never trying, and therefore never failing or succeeding.
  25. Fight the pull to always check your phone, or listen to the radio, or fill an uncomfortable silence with words. Clarity often comes when we give ourselves room to be quiet.
  26. Serving others feels really good.
  27. Be genuinely captivated by the Word of God in front of your kids. It will rub off.
  28. Stop trying to be tan, if you don’t tan. God gave us Jergen’s Natural Glow Tanning Lotion for a reason.
  29. Find a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, and wear it everyday. (See #28)
  30. A strong core will keep you from back injury. Strong core ≠ a six pack.
  31. Your body is extraordinary. Stop comparing it to others.
  32. Get a seminary education (for free) by listening to faithful Bible teachers online. Years and years of listening adds up.
  33. God is less concerned with your check-boxes, than he is with your heart.
  34. Discovering holy leisure changed my check box mentality and allowed me to freely pursue knowing God.
  35. Marry your best friend, and be his best friend.
  36. When wronged you have two options. You can confront it, or cover it with grace. If you can’t cover it with grace, then you have to confront it.
  37. Perfection is a myth and a terrible slave-driver. Excellence is usually attainable.
  38. You’ll regret more the things you wish you hadn’t said, than the things you wish you would’ve said.
  39. No matter how right you think you are, there is always another side to the story.
  40. Do what you say you’re doing to do, when you say you’re going to do it.
  41. Say ‘no’ to yourself, even when you can say ‘yes,’ just to show yourself you’re the boss of you.
  42. Never stop reading to your kids. Instill in them a love for missionary biographies.
  43. Early morning walks with your spouse is a great way to start the day.
  44. Love others, even when they think, act, talk, and vote differently than you.
  45. Jesus’ return is getting closer every second! (Wouldn’t it be great if he came back before I had to do my 46 lessons learned for next year. 😉

That’s my list. What life lessons have you learned in the last year? Let me know in the comments below.

More gratuitous birthday stuff…

Dad just sent me this picture. Getting my first bike about 1982. I was so pink.
I think I had a similar reaction to my birthday present from my sweet family this year. I plan to put a lot of miles on it. They know me so well, it even has an avocado bell. 🙂
Feb 23, 2021 | Holy Leisure Posts,  Once a Year Posts

Comments

  1. Amen! Love this list. I need constant reminders of so many of these! (and a few I know well without reminders. i.e. mainstream media and roller skates) haha

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