30 Lessons from My First 30 Years

Having just wrapped up my thirtieth year ex utero, I’m feeling remarkably wise and mature–or at least blessed to follow a God who teaches me the same lesson over and over and over until I mostly get it. I’m not who I should be, but (praise God!) I’m not who I was. Here are the most important things I’m still trying to learn:

  1. If Jesus is God, that changes everything. Everything in your life has to look different because you (all of you, without exception) are loved beyond reason by Love himself.
  2. Jesus is God.
  3. The mercy of God is nowhere more evident than in the confessional. Go to confession. You have nothing to lose but your sin and your shame. You have everything to gain.
  4. There is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you and aching for you. He went to hell and back for you. He’d do it again.
  5. Prayer works.
  6. There’s never a good reason not to be kind.
  7. Kind is not the same as nice.
  8. God’s plan is always better.
  9. Bad prayer is better than no prayer.
  10. It’s going to be okay. Not because everything’s going to work out and everyone you love is going to be happy and healthy but because there is more to this life than this life.
  11. “Life holds only one tragedy: not to have been a saint.”
  12. I am all beautiful and beloved and there is no blemish in me.
  13. Self-loathing is not humility.
  14. God is not good because of what he does but because of who he is.
  15. Jesus didn’t just die for me, he lived for me. Every moment of every day for me.
  16. If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.
  17. There is great freedom in submission.
  18. Joy is not just a side effect of the Christian life, it is a duty.
  19. It’s all grace. Every good thing and every failure, too–grace.
  20. It doesn’t matter what people think. Only God matters.
  21. Nothing but sin merits shame.
  22. “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.”
  23. People are different. There’s no one way to be holy.
  24. If you ask God to teach you to trust, he might take you up on it. Buckle your seat belt.
  25. If your life isn’t built around prayer it’ll start to unravel.
  26. Men and women are different–and that really matters.
  27. “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”4
  28. Every life is a gift. There is no such thing as an unwanted child.
  29. I can’t save anyone–but I also can’t mess up so badly that they’re condemned. It’s just not about me.
  30. I am deeply, unceasingly loved by a God who sees me as I am and knows I can be better.

Meg Hunter-Kilmer is a hobo for Christ, traveling the country speaking to all ages about the love of God and the truth found in his Church. She blogs from rest stops and strangers’ guest rooms at www.piercedhands.com, where a version of this article first appeared.