Thursday, December 01, 2011

28 Things*

*Like "27 Dresses", but with less tulle.**

**But probably the same amount of cheesiness....if not more, let's be honest.

So, I turned the big, gulp, 2-9 last week. Climbed into the ride and strapped myself in for the last year of my 20's. The Last Hurrah. The Final Farewell. This is it, people.

I'm now the age of Jane Austen's oldest heroine...which, I suppose, means I have one more year during which to somehow Get It Right. Heaven only knows if that'll happen. Seriously - Heaven. Only. Knows.

But I figure, I must have learned something throughout this past year, right? Goodness, here's hoping. To that end, I decided to make a list. I admit that some of these span slightly further back than a year ago, but not too much - this past year was pretty darn eventful.

And so, in pretty close to chronological order, here are 28 Things I Learned During Year 28.

1. Real smiles are the best ever.

2. Apparently, I act blond sometimes. But shhh - when it makes someone laugh, it's intentional.

3. When God points out someone for me to minister to with a cosmic neon sign, pretending I don't see it is just prolonging the inevitable.

4. My emotions display themselves unashamedly spread-eagled on my face no matter how hard I try to hide them. Every time.

5. It's possibly not a coincidence that it rains every. single. time I step foot onto the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I'm just saying - my hair NEVER looks right at that place!

6. What I dislike in other people often directly correlates with what I dislike about myself.

7. God actually really does know what He's doing. I know, shocker.

8. I sang "It Is Well With My Soul" as a duet with my best friend on Good Friday and it was possibly the purest, most raw form of emotion in art I've ever expressed.

9. Just being me produces far better results than huffing and puffing and striving to be someone else.

10. I got my first paid writing gig this year, writing ad copy for websites. While it was great to be paid to write, and I wouldn't sneeze at doing it kind of felt a little bit what I'd imagine prostitution would feel like. Not that I know. Because I don't. Really! Wait, what was I talking about again?

11. What Any Sane Woman Would Do is never what I do.

12. When God closes a door, He opens...oh, wait, you know that one already? Well, it's totally true.

13. God is not, in fact, turning men celibate to keep me single...although for a brief period this summer, it really felt that way. More on that later. Good story, actually.

14. To get anywhere, I have to give 100%. Not 70%. Not 80%. Not even 90%. Even though I've gotten away with it in the more. Everything God gives me deserves 100% of my effort and commitment.

15. The jackpot is totally, incredibly, fantastically awesome. Every single time, in fact.

16. Every person you really love will make you cry. I often think about how many times I've made God cry. It knocks the wind out of me.

17, When God blesses you, humility and maturity are the best resources. Otherwise, people get bitter. People get bitter anyway, but it's harder to be jealous when the person you're jealous of is gracious. Hopefully.

18. During an agent/customer role-playing game at my corporate call center job training, after hearing me be the "agent," all the men in the training class exclaimed, "Whew! I'm buying whatever you're selling!" That pretty much made my...well, up until now, really. And that was two months ago.

19. Shhh - I'm not a hardcore salesperson. But I am an actress.

20. My favorite thing ever (which I knew before this year, but still) is, once I get to know someone, letting them see a little more who I really am by saying things that shock them. That shocked, incredulous laughter is the best thing ever.

21. Three words: Respect. The. Blessing.

22. I am no longer a Renaissance Faire virgin. But, unsurprisingly, I'll be better prepared and even more, ahem, in character next year.

23. When your pastor calls you Bridget Jones, well, that's pretty much your sign.

24. The fact that so many people I've met over the last few years have opened up to me, confided in me, shared with me, let me pray with them, and have come to me as their spiritual point of contact is at once overwhelmingly humbling and incredibly gratifying. My Lord is so good. All the spiritual bottom-kicking I've taken this last decade is starting to bear some amazing fruit. It's all Him.

25. However, I am not a spiritual Yoda, not by a long shot. I need just as much Godly succor as anyone else. And someone to keep my head on straight...pretty much all the time, in fact.

26. Christian Scientists are all really, really nice people.

27. There is a huge difference between someone for whom you feel like you have to be better and someone because of whom you want to be a better version of yourself.

28. Five words from a fake nun were the biggest cosmic cream-pie I've experienced yet.

That's my wisdom from this year, folks. I hope it spoke to you in the way you needed it to most. Tune in next year as I begin a new decade - and hopefully, I will have learned even more from the incredible things my Lord is about to do in the next 350-odd days left of this one!