Jenny in a party hat

This January I turned 25 years old! To celebrate, I wanted to reflect and think about the 25 lessons that I have learnt in 25 years. I love watching these kind of videos, so I hope that you enjoy exploring my life lessons too!

Thinking about the 25 lessons that I have learnt in 25 years was an interesting process. These lessons come from all throughout my life. Lessons that I have learnt from my friends, my parents, wise Christians in my life, and even from social media.

What are the most important lessons that you’ve learnt in your life?

25 lessons I’ve learnt in 25 years

1. Pray first

Every situation can be improved if you pray first. It doesn’t guarantee that everything will go perfectly, but it makes a difference – both to what you are facing, and how you face it.

2. You are allowed to have strong opinions

I used to think that as a Christian, I couldn’t have strong opinions because that would be unloving to those who disagreed with me, or because I must be missing the nuance to the situation. I have come to learn that I can indeed have strong opinions about the things I believe in, and still share them with love and grace. In fact, there are many things that I think we SHOULD have strong opinions about.

3. Your wedding day doesn’t have to be the best day of your life

I loved my wedding day. It was so much fun and a really lovely day. But there are things that didn’t go exactly to plan (it snowed lol). And to be honest, five years on there are things I don’t really remember. But that’s fine. We often put a lot of pressure on our wedding day to be the best day ever, but your wedding is just the beginning of your marriage and life together – and there will be so many more wonderful days to come.

4. An experience can be joyful and traumatic at the same time

It’s confusing but it’s true. And it makes it kind of difficult to process. For me, this was the birth of my daughter – a day FULL of joy, and my birth experience was genuinely very positive. But when I look back at the complications I faced and how ill I really was, it was certainly traumatic too. The two are not mutually exclusive.

5. Children are a blessing, not a burden

Forget what the world tells you – children don’t ruin your life. They are truly a gift.

6. You are not bad at prayer

Stop comparing yourself to how other people pray. I truly think there is no bad way to pray, apart from not praying.

7. You don’t have to be productive all of the time

I am a big fan of productivity and getting stuff done. But especially with a baby now, I’ve really had to learn that I don’t need to be doing stuff. Sitting on the floor and playing with toys / being whacked by toys is good too.

8. You have no idea what’s coming your way

As much as I love to plan, the truth is that we have no idea what is coming around the next corner of our lives. My life now looks nothing like I expected 2, 5, 10 years ago! This can be both good or bad, but just means we need to be ready for these curveballs, and trust God with all of our plans.

9. Just because an opinion is the loudest, doesn’t mean it’s right

It’s easy to feel like EVERYONE in the world believes the same thing – because that is the opinion that you hear shouting the loudest. Whether it’s what you see all over social media, or what you hear amongst your friends or family members. But this truly doesn’t mean that it’s the most common opinion, and definitely doesn’t mean it’s the correct opinion. As Christians, we should always be turning to the Bible to find truth – rather than just listening to the loudest voices.

10. Don’t have sex until you’re married

This is fairly self-explanatory – although you can read more about my thoughts on this here. But God designed sex as a wonderful thing to be enjoyed within marriage, and making this decision was one of the best choices I have made.

11. Don’t force yourself to fit the narrative

There have been quite a few times when I have heard people say: “all women think…”, or “all mums believe…”. And when I disagree with the premise that they have put forward, it has left me feeling that I am somehow wrong in some way – because I don’t fit with this narrative.

12. Children don’t have to change your relationships (but they can)

The amount of people who will tell you that having a baby will change your relationships (your marriage, your friendships, etc. etc.) is crazy. But what I have learnt is that yes babies CAN change your relationships. But they don’t have to. If you put the effort in to maintain certain relationships through this big change in your life, then you can keep those relationships as an important part of your life. But yes, it does take effort on your part.

13. Trauma will teach you more about yourself

The last few years, I have gone few a couple of different, really challenging situations. And whilst I don’t necessarily believe that all challenging situations are sent for us to learn something, it is true that they often do teach us more about ourselves. For me, I learnt a lot about how I deal with situations, what helps me, what is important to me. And often these things were very different to what I had assumed about myself!

14. Say “no” more

I am not always very good at saying no. When I hear about a job that needs doing or something that I would be good at, I feel that pull to volunteer. This is definitely partly me being a bit of a control freak and not always trusting other people to do things. But even if it’s an easy task, when added to everything else that needs doing, life can get far too busy far too quickly – leaving me with lots to do, and not enough time to do any of them well. Plus, for me, I find it much harder to then stop doing something than just saying no in the first place.

15. You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it

This is something that I was reflecting on recently with my mum, because as a child, I did a lot of things that I wasn’t that great at. From playing musical instruments to running (and other sports), I enjoyed these activities a lot a put a lot of effort in, but I was never the best at any of these things. I wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t have that natural talent that so many people have (my sister included, much to my annoyance). But that didn’t stop my enjoyment of those things (even though it easily could have done) because I found the things that I did enjoy – the friends and community that I did these activities with, learning new things, giving things a try, making progress (even if it was slow).

16. Choose carefully the people you surround yourself with

The people that you surround yourself with, that you spend time with, are the people that you are allowing to have influence over your life. They will (whether you notice it or not) impact the way in which you talk, the way that you act, the way that you think. So choose them carefully based on the kind of person that you would like to be.

17. Don’t let people look down on you for being younger

I have definitely been the new kid in a new job where everyone has found out my age and instantly exclaimed “I’m old enough to be your mum/dad!”. I’ve had people look down on me, treat me differently, or assume I was less competent than them, just because I was younger. But what I have learnt is that whilst we can learn from our life experiences, age does not always equal wisdom. And we shouldn’t treat people as if it does.

18. Take your baby to church (it’s worth it)

Now that my baby is almost a whole year old (yes I’m shocked too), I am even more grateful that we made the decision early on to prioritise taking our baby to church, even when it was hard. It means that now we are well embedded into our church family as a family of 3 ourselves. It has made me feel very confident in taking Georgia to church with us. If this is something that worries you, do check out my video full of tips for taking your baby to church here.

19. Give more grace than you think you should

We all know that we need to give grace to those around us. But maybe our patience starts to wear thin pretty quickly. Maybe there’s a certain person who we struggle to give grace to. Either way, an easy rule is – the amount of grace that you think you should be giving, give more.

20. Take all the photos

Those people who tell you to stop taking photos and just enjoy the moment? Ignore them. You can do both. I love photos and I especially love the hundreds of photos that I have taken since Georgia was born. I love flicking through them, I love getting them printed and putting them into a scrapbook, I love the memories that they hold. So I will continue to take them all and more.

21. Let yourself change

Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, thinking that because we have always loved X, or everyone knows us for doing Y, then we couldn’t possibly stop doing those things. They become intertwined with how we perceive ourselves, and our own identity. But these things are not who we are, and it is never too late to change – change the things you enjoy, change the clothes you like, change your hobbies.

22. Hard is not the same thing as bad

Yes, this is very much stolen from Abbie over at M is for Mama, who you can find on her blog or Instagram. But it’s so true – just because a situation, or a season, is hard – doesn’t mean that it is bad. There have been some hard days of parenting, but they were not bad. Not everything difficult is instantly a negative, hard things can be so good.

23. Seek advice

As a society, often we just want to follow our hearts, trust our gut or otherwise just live our best lives. What we often fail to do, however, is to seek advice. Turn to the people in your lives who are wise, who know you well, and who you trust. And ask for their advice. Whether it’s about your job or career, about your relationships, about challenges that you are facing. Lean on the people around you and seek their advice.

24. You are valued and loved, but that doesn’t mean you’re perfect

The self love movement has constantly told us that we are loved. That we are valuable. And these are both things that the Bible teaches us too. They are important messages, but the Bible goes one step further and reminds us that we shouldn’t stay the same. We aren’t perfect, and we should constantly be trying to become better, to become more like Jesus.

25. Love is a choice

Love is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t what most people seem to think it is – a feeling or emotion that binds two people together forever. But feelings are not constant. Feelings change and feelings come and go. Feelings are swayed by other people and by the world around us, and by the situations we are facing. In reality, love is a choice. A choice we make every day to love, respect and honour another person. A choice we make even when we’re in a bad mood or having a difficult day.

Wows. Those were the 25 things that I have learnt in 25 years. I’m so excited to see what the next 25 years will hold, and all the things that I have yet to learn.

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