(this pic = me trying to look slyly interrogative) 😉
In 16 days, your girl will be celebrating her 21st birthday! Adulthood is officially going to begin! And this post also marks this journal’s first birthday, my first post having been written a year ago. It’s crazy to believe 12 months have passed! I’m so excited for the next season.
To be honest, September is feeling, as it often does, like a season of new beginnings. Lots of people are starting new school years or university, many people are turning one year older, and many are already preparing for 2018. So I wanted to write a few words of encouragement for new seasons, especially for those starting new academic years, or wanting to grow spiritually or personally. Here are some of my top tips for your next season!
Your New Academic Season
All of my best academic advice is currently chilling on my channel, but I want to highlight the importance of starting things early. Whether that’s planning your study schedule, buying your resources for the new school/uni year, or beginning to revise for your summer exams, start everything as early as you can.
I’ve found that this is often really fundamental to academic success. The people who start revising or preparing earliest always seem the least stressed in comparison to those who leave everything to the last minute.
Keep this in mind at all times: make life as easy as possible for your future self. To be honest, this mindset is probably worth applying to many—if not most—areas of our lives! It’s definitely one that I try to live by in all areas!
For example, why not make a commitment to revise systematically and throughout the year, starting in October? Or, over Christmas, revise what you learnt in first term; make notes as though they were your final revision notes for your summer exam—then that’s a third of your revision done/prepped already for Easter. You’ve potentially just lightened your Easter holiday revision workload by half. That’s just an example, but it’s an easy way of consolidating what you’re being taught throughout the year.
Remember: make life as easy as possible for your future self!
Your New Spiritual Season
It’s going to sound cliché, although it really shouldn’t, but as a Christian, spiritual growth really doesn’t come without reading the Word of God and spending time in prayer. My biggest tip for those who struggle to read the Word because they don’t know how to analyse it is to watch sermons and observe how the speaker extracts wisdom from the text that can be applied to our lives. The more you see it done in sermons, the more you are able to try it for yourself and eventually find a way that works for you. A really good speaker I can recommend for observing this process of analysing the Bible is Sarah Jakes Roberts; in her sermon style she literally walks you through the text and how she’s analysed it.
To those Christians who don’t read the Word or pray because they don’t have time, all I can honestly say is: make time! I say that with as much love and gentleness as the urgency of the situation here allows: make time for spiritual growth, because the enemy be making time to bring spiritual attacks and steer you off track every day without fail! Be as committed to spending time with God and reading His Word as the enemy is to derailing you from doing so. That means 100%. Sounds harsh, but it’s the absolute truth.
For instance, you can read the Bible on your commute to work or lectures, listen to the Bible in audio form if you drive or walk to work, wake up a little earlier, spend a little less time on social media—the list goes on! Honestly, we humans are very, very skilled at making time for what (and who) we want to make time for. If we want to make time for reading the Word, we’ll find a way to do it. And if God instructs us to do anything, including reading His Word, it’s because it’s not impossible to do—whatever our circumstances.
Your New Personal Season
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a year since I started this blog! Many of you may not know that when I did, I did it off the back of one of the most difficult years I’ve faced. In August 2016 I was messaging my Mum from a small dorm room in east Africa where I was volunteering, planning the steps I needed to take to find my way out of the emotional storm I was experiencing. By September 2016, this blog was founded as the mark of the new season following my storm.
I followed my plan, and a year later am in a totally different place. This can be your reality, too. Persevere. Plan your way to your brightest season. Which fake friends do you need to drop? Which inspirational people/role models do you need to fill your mind and circles with? (Tip: as a Christian, Jesus must be the first and greatest here).
Sometimes it’s time for a complete revamp and renovation of our lives. Find the source of your sadness and, prayerfully and to the best of your ability, remove it, erase it, distance yourself from it, confront it once and for all—whatever is necessary. Your sadness-source might be toxic people around you, or it might be your thoughts. Identify it; realise you’re bigger than it with God on your side; take steps to embark on your brightest season yet. (I have a video with tips on how to do all of this here.)
Whew! This post may seem a little less warm and lovey-dovey than usual, but it’s because I’m so, so passionate about these areas and about helping people succeed in them and find breakthrough! And sometimes convictions work better than cuddles. 😉
So. With all of that said. All the best to everyone starting, or who’s just started, a new season! Whether it’s a new year of life, a new year of school/uni or a new season of spiritual or personal growth, I pray it is an excellent one for you!
Love always, and see you in October,