In My 20s, I Realized It Wasn't All About Me

Originally published Tuesday, 10 April 2012.

***This post is part of a series on The Girl That Sings. Find out more here.


I was one of those girls waaaaaay back in my teens and 20s who could never be told anything. 

I didn't want or need advice because I had it ALL figured out. 

I knew better. 

I saw things more clearly. 

I had life by the reins and I was in control.

{Oh how I wish I had, cause now I'll take ANYONE'S help and advice!}

My first wake up call was about the age of 19.

I'd been a bit wild and reckless, both with guys and partying for a few years. You know, just going through the normal teenage rebellion type phase.

But one night at a party, when things started to get heated and emotional, I sat there watching it all unfold and all I could think was, "What has become of my life? Who are these people, and are they even my friends? Why am I even here being involved with stuff like this?"

I went home that New Year's Eve night and wrote out all that I wanted to change in my life. The next day I woke up and made a decision to walk away from that crowd and that way of life. 

I got back involved with my church, and then a few months later decided to pack up and drive to California to start all over. All by myself, not knowing a single person. It sounded lovely and amazing. Doing such a thing now, in my 30's, would send me into a panic attack.

But that's the the thing about your 20s. You're still kind of a child, but also starting to ease into adult life a little more. For me at that age, it was about taking risks. Being wild and free. Loving hard, and feeling deeply.

It was all about having fun, really. I just wanted to sleep, go dancing, hang out with my friends, meet hot boys, and have FUN!  

I found an amazing church, incredible friends, and tried to find a balance between the world's way of fun and my faith. I was walking a thin line between the two, but I felt it was at least better then where I had been before.

It was all about me, all about fun.

But, then at the age of 23 I lost my dad due to a fatal heart attack. My whole life was turned upside down and my perspective drastically changed. Life was not fun anymore. I was confused, broken, lost and hurt.

Suddenly the guys I had been dating weren't so fun and they definitely weren't there for me when life became real. I realized I had been giving my heart to so many that weren't worthy of having something so special.

And then I met Jimmy.

We had met briefly before my dad died, but it wasn't until after, that our friendship really grew into something deeper and more meaningful. He was there for me, not asking for anything, not needing anything, not playing games, not being anything but loving, comforting, and real.

Without intention, I found myself beginning to pull away from the guys I had been "dating" and found myself instead wanting to spend more and more time with Jimmy. Within a few months, we found ourselves madly in love, ready to take it from friendship to engaged.

{Yes. We moved fast. I wouldn't recommend it really. For those of you in your 20s...}

I share all of this to bring you to THE moment in my 20s where I had one of my greatest wake-up calls.

You see, Jimmy had been a "good" boy. He never partied and NEVER got drunk. But, the biggest thing was that he had saved himself for the woman he was going to marry. And to me that meant everything. It made me love and respect him even more. However, it also made me dread having to tell him the full truth about my past, because it most definitely wasn't squeaky clean.

You see, my philosophy had always been to just have fun now and make better choices later when I was "grown up." I had only ever really thought about myself.

I hadn't thought about the day that all that fun could potentially really hurt someone else.

But the day that Jimmy and I finally had the talk about my past was one of the hardest moments of my life. Seeing the hurt on his face and the tears in his eyes literally broke my heart because all my fun and all my selfishness was now breaking his.

It took months, maybe even a year for us to heal and recover and without a whole lot of prayer and God's healing touch, I'm not sure we would have made it. But it was in THAT moment that I realized and knew, this life God had given me, it was SO not about me.

My choices were not just going to affect me, they had and would continue to affect everyone in my life that loved and cared for me.

That moment was a life changer for me. Every day, from that point on, I made every effort to fully give over my life to the Lord, and let go of all the selfish ways I'd been holding onto for the sake of "fun." My way was hurting others, and I knew God's way was so much better.

I realized it all comes down to choices.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes walking a very hard and painful road to learn the greatest lessons.

I still have fun. 

I still love to dance. 

I still love to take risks (except with food, my hair, and moving). But now, I take a moment to pray and intentionally think beyond me.

I lay it all down before the Lord and I allow HIM to take the wheel.

{If this was a musical, Carrie Underwood would now come out and sing "Jesus Take the Wheel."  But, sadly, it's not. It's just a blog post. No singing here. But you're humming it now, aren't you?}

And let me tell you, it is so freeing, so fun, and nobody gets hurt that way.

And that, you guys, is the thing I wish I could tell everyone in their teens and 20s.

{And MAKE them obey me!!!!}

Think beyond yourself.

If you do this now, you'll save yourself and so many others a world of hurt.

Or don't obey, and learn for yourself the hard way. But don't say I didn't warn you!

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***This post is part of a series on The Girl That Sings. Find out more here.