January 8, 2018

Thoughts On 2017 & What I Learned

Peace out 2017 and happy new year, friends! Yay for the first post of the new year! I hope 2018 is off to an exceptional start for y'all. I'm just gonna jump right in today with my thoughts on the last year. . .

This past year will go down in my personal (her)story book as one of the toughest years I've ever had. Not being dramatic, you guys. No theatrics. For lots of personal reasons, the year sucked. At the risk of being vague (somewhat on purpose), I found myself dealing with some really difficult things. I try to protect my privacy and the privacy of the people associated with me so I won't share a lot of details. Just know that if you had a rough year, my heart goes out to you and I can completely relate. Through the mess, however, there was personal growth, and that's what I really want to focus on. I have never been someone to dwell on the negative. Do I grieve or get mad or cry? Absolutely. But once that's said and done, I want to move forward. I want to evaluate what was learned and just be better. That's what 2017 really was for me. A year of becoming better.

After I was able to get my head above water and take a breath, I realized that from the mess, I wanted something beautiful to emerge. I wanted to be someone better than I had ever been before.

Katie shared a post on her blog last week dedicated to what she learned in 2017 that I loved. Honestly, if we can't say that lessons were learned last year then we really missed the mark. Below are my five biggest takeaways from 2017.

How you handle hard times answers so many questions about who you are. I discovered last year that I never want to apologize again for being who I am. I never want to have to explain why I do something a certain way or like something or don't like something. God made me this way and going into the new year, I intend to fully embrace that and not give anyone room to question it. God doesn't make mistakes. You are made exactly how he intended. If there's anyone in your life who challenges that, you may want to consider setting boundaries with them.

Not an option. A priority. Putting yourself first is not being selfish. Putting yourself first leaves room for you to give your best to the people around you, too. It gives you a clear head to follow through on goals and fulfill responsibilities and be completely present in meaningful relationships. Taking care of yourself is an all-encompassing approach toward mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Maybe even financial well being, too. If there are circumstances or people in your life that bring you down more than lift you up, cut them loose. Let them go. Don't hold on because it seems like what you should do. It may be a little awkward or uncomfortable at first, but take my word for it, letting go of the negativity will bring more happiness and peace than you can imagine.

When the going gets tough, you find out who's in it with you. This past year was an eye-opening one in terms of relationships and friends. Those who love you will stick by you no matter what. They won't let you down, they'll speak the truth even when it hurts, they'll be there for you. Their support will get you through the toughest, most challenging days.

This past year was one of rediscovering my relationship with God. Knowing God for yourself, and not taking someone else's word for it, can truly change everything. Diving in and reading the Bible or books by Christian authors or watching sermons and speeches - it can be a culmination of everything you've been desiring in your spiritual/faith journey. It's easy to turn to God when things are hard because you're praying for them to get better - that's how it began for me last year. I was desperate for change and for Him to take the pain and burden from my heart. But sometimes we forget to continue pursuing him in the good times. Develop a routine and find what works for you - it can make all the difference in every aspect of your life.

There is nothing good that comes from comparing yourself or your life to someone else's. Your life is your life. Your challenges are yours. Your victories are yours. The worst thing for your own mental health is to look at someone else's life as a goal or baseline of worth. Everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone has something to celebrate. I blame social media for the modern comparison game. Pursue what brings you happiness, love the people around you, share what you want to share (with a pretty filter or not) and just live

1 comment

Unknown said...

I'm reading Annie Down's '100 Days To Brave' devotional and today (Day 8) was all about how God doesn't make mistakes. So when I read those exact words in your blog post today as well, I had to comment. You don't hear "God doesn't make mistakes" in the day-to-day (even though I'd argue that we should!), so to her it twice in a day? Obviously God wants me to acknowledge it. I'm entering a season of transition that's requiring me to really lean into Him, so remembering God doesn't make mistakes will be paramount.

I don't even know if I make sense, but I identified with this!