3. Nothing ruins a friendship faster than jealousy and competition. So when you’re jealous of a friend or secretly trying to one-up her, pray to get your heart in the right place. Remember that what’s good for your friend is good for you as well because you’re both on the same team.
4. Feeling different is completely normal. We all feel different because we are different. God created you uniquely so you can serve your generation like no one in the universe has ever served before. Rather than wish to be like everyone else, look for ways in which your authenticity can be used for His purpose.
5. Every choice has a consequence, and the choices you make today impact the opportunities you’ll have tomorrow. While making positive choices (like working hard in school) will open doors down the road, making negative choices (like failing to apply yourself) will close doors. Whatever choices you make, be prepared to live with them.
6. Be kind to everyone, but distance yourself from negativity. Trust your gut instincts when you feel like a friend or group you spend time with would drop you in a heartbeat or purposely leave you out because these instincts are usually correct.
7. Knowing who is good for you – and who isn’t good for you – is the key to healthy relationships. While good relationships give you the courage to be yourself, toxic relationships crush your spirit. They cause more stress, tears, and drama than genuine joy, laughter, and happiness. Learning to recognize when a relationship isn’t working – and having the courage to walk away when the warning signs appear – is an important life skill to develop.
8. There’s no such thing as a perfect friend or perfect person. While you should have standards for the people you allow in your innermost circle – expecting a certain level of trust and respect – you should also leave room for grace and forgiveness. All of us make mistakes and occasionally hurt the people we love. Don’t give up on a friend just because they messed up or did one thing you don’t agree with.
9. The best way to build confidence is to challenge yourself and accomplish a goal outside your comfort zone that forces you to stretch, grow, and master new skills.
10. Not everyone deserves a voice in your life. Not everyone has opinions that are worth your time and attention. When deciding whether to listen to a person, ask yourself this: Do I respect this individual? Do they have a history of making good choices in their own life? Do they genuinely love me? Do they care about my future? If I had a big decision to make, would I seek their counsel? Do they draw me closer to God and enhance my relationship with Him?
If you answer No to any question, then think twice before taking their words or advice to heart.
Most of all, Marie Claire, I hope you always remember how unconditionally loved you are. As much as your daddy and I love you, your heavenly Father loves you even more. He’s the only true expert of you, for only God has known since the beginning of time who you are, why you exist, and what you were born to do.
So trust Him with your big questions and little questions, and know that I’m always here to help. Whatever is waiting on the other side of 10, we’ll discover it together. We’ll celebrate, cry, and share in all the emotions that evolve as a little girl grows up.
Happy 10th birthday, my little ray of sunshine, and thank you for your light. You’re a joy to know and a joy to raise, a sweet blessing in my life for which I’m so very, very grateful.
This article originally appeared at KariKampakis.com.