This week, I turn 30.
You know what I’m most excited about, as I get older?
Not giving a crap what people think of me anymore.
I’m not talking about being insensitive toward other people and blurting out everything that pops in my head.
Part of maturity is knowing when to speak out and when to keep silent.
Trust me, I’m SO not there, but I’m working on it….
But I’m excited, because the older I get, the more I know who I am.
The more I know who I am, the less concerned I am about what people think of me.
Not everyone is going to understand me.
Not everyone is going to like me, even if they do understand me.
And when you’re young it’s easy to get so wrapped up in people’s perception of you that it’s almost paralyzing.
I made way too many decisions as a young person because I wanted to give a certain impression.
And that’s a terrible reason to make decisions.
I strive to never make a decision to appease another person’s imagined perception of me.
Because regardless of what anyone else thinks, I need to do what’s right for myself and my family.
I need to focus on the things my husband and I value.
I need to make healthy decisions, not people-pleasing decisions.
Learning to Not Read Hurtful Comments
I find it heartbreaking that so many people use social media as a platform to abuse and harass others.
Do people have nothing more constructive to do all day?
Regardless of your thoughts about someone, harassment is unkind and unnecessary.
I had a small taste of it when my clothes-shopping ban went viral. The top comments on the video were pretty harsh and judgmental. And I couldn’t help but see them since they were at the top.
These were people who didn’t actually know me. All they had done was watch a 3-minute video with me in it.
How could anyone possibly know the real me and all of my motivations and convictions in 3 minutes?
You know what? I chose to not let those comments carry any weight.
I chose to let them roll off me like water.
I learned very quickly that it’s a good idea to not read the comments on those kinds of things.
I learned that the more “visible” you are, the more subjected you are to criticism.
And at that moment, I had a choice – either to shut down or to speak up.
I chose to continue speaking up.
I used to get self-conscious on here – about sharing my faith. About taking a stand on things. About giving my opinions. About opening up my life.
But time and time again I’m glad I have.
It’s challenging to not give a crap what people think.
But it’s also the ultimate goal of any Christian, I would think.
We’re weirdos, I know! But it’s good to be weird.
Learning to Not Be Ashamed of My Faith
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Yes, being weird is actually what helps us do God’s will!
It’s so easy to be carried along by the culture, and conform to all the cultural norms and expectations. It’s easy to become who the world tells us to be.
But God has called Christians to be weird. To be different. To not give a crap.
Some of us he calls to go to other countries.
Some of us he calls to live in community.
Some of us he calls to sell everything and start a band, preaching and singing the songs he gives them.
It isn’t boring.
It isn’t “the American Dream.”
It’s a life poured out, devoted to the distinct flavor of crazy he’s called us to.
I’m learning to not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:6) but to own my faith for the first time.
Learning to Be Fully Seen and Known
The great thing about marriage is that it’s a lifelong relationship – with someone who knows all your flaws.
It’s humbling, to say the least. No one likes to have their flaws pointed out.
But this kind of relationship also gives me incredible confidence and self-assurance.
Marriage lets me be fully seen and fully known and fully loved all the same.
I hope I do the same for my husband.
And this isn’t only possible in marriage. It’s possible in intimate friendships too.
There’s huge comfort in knowing that I’m loved – for who I am and nothing else.
It’s easier to be brave when my husband and close friends continually give me a safe place to fall.
These are people who know me, know my flaws. Who I don’t need to pretend with. Who I couldn’t fool even if I tried!
They make it easier not to give to give a crap.
It’s just like the quote often attributed to Dr. Suess – “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Learning to Not Seek Validation on Social Media
Another helpful tip for not giving a crap is to remove yourself from social media – either for a short fast or even permanently.
I’ve found that I used to place a lot of stock in people’s reactions to things I posted online.
The more likes or views something got, the more valued I felt.
You know what? Likes have more to do with algorithms than with what people actually think.
Likes are a cheap and useless way to measure your self-worth.
You, as a person, are in no way measured by your number of followers and subscribers.
Your true value has nothing to do with your number of hits and comments.
If this is something that you struggle with, it’s probably time for a break.
It’s time to start looking inward instead of outward for gratification and self-worth.
It’s time to do things for yourself rather than for the response they will receive.
I’m excited about age 30, and excited for all the things that are ahead.
I’m excited to see what happens with a life lived not out of fear or in response to what other people think.
I’m excited to break the mold in as many ways as possible. To know that no matter what anyone else says, I am loved and I am here for a reason.
Because deep down, when you know that, you don’t really give a crap about anything else.
May you know what it feels like to be fully seen, fully known, and fully loved.
May you experience the radical freedom that comes from not caring what anyone thinks of you.
May you live wholeheartedly the life that God has called you to, regardless of whether or not everyone understands it.
Photography by Franciele Cunha