There are certain times of year that naturally push me to spend a bit more time reflecting than I spend doing. Those times of year tend to coincide with natural transitions–the turn of a new year, the change of seasons, and of course birthdays. This year, as I inch closer and closer to the three-decade milestone, I am finding myself feeling both nostalgic and reflective.

The result is what will be a series of blog posts over the next 10 days leading up to my 30th birthday in which I will share a total of 30 lessons that I have learned in 30 years of life.

Take Care of Yourself: I have found that the quality of my own self-care is directly proportional to the quality of my care for others. As a person in ministry, I was so fortunate to attend a seminary that placed such high value on self-care. Those lessons have stuck. For this introvert, it means alone time, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and setting appropriate work-life boundaries whenever possible along with tending my soul through prayer, scripture reading, and accountability.

Do What You Love: I have heard it said time and time again, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I am blessed beyond belief to have a career that matches my passions and gifts. I love what I get to do, and even though there are days when it can feel like “work,” those days are far outnumbered by the days when I leave the office saying to myself, “I can’t believe I get paid to do something I love so much.”

Make The Best Choices: A friend and co-worker of mine from my days at Camp Mowana used to say to people all the time, “Make good choices.” That is a phrase that has stuck with me over the years, and one that I often find myself saying to the young people I work with. But, recently, the more I think about it, the more I am trying to reframe that simple phrase from “Make good choices,” to “Make the best choices.” We live in a world of good choices. We are barraged with an all-you-can-eat buffet of good–entertainment, sports and extracurricular activities, church activities, and more, where it can be difficult to sort out the difference between what is good and what is best. And, as I approach thirty and think about the choices I will face down the road with a family of my own, I am reminded that often the best choice is to say NO to something that seems good.

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