You know the moments when parents are pulling their tantrum-prone child by the arm, and the kid is doing everything they possibly can to get loose and remain in their “happy place?” That’s what my 2017 felt like. Instead of staying in the toy section of the store, I was being pulled outside. Reflecting back on last year, I’ve realized that while I was hesitating, God was pulling me into the real world, in an attempt to teach me something. It was a year of wanting to press on the brakes instead of doing the uncomfortable things that would grow me. Well, being the good, obedient child that I am, I pressed in.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year. There were a lot of growing pains and, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t my favorite. But I wanted to share some of the things I learned.
- Don’t second guess God. // If He gives wisdom when you ask, and it may not be necessarily what you want to hear, take it and run with it. God places people in our lives for certain reasons. Some may turn into a lifelong friendship, and some may turn out just to be seasons, but they all have a purpose. Don’t second guess God’s purpose for their life or yours. And if God speaks words of affirmation over your life, take them and run with them. They are special, cherish them. They are irreplaceable words from your Creator, with hidden gems within them. Let the world say what they want to say, and believe what they want to believe, but keep your eyes focused on the diamond of a life that God has set before you.
- Hold onto the friends that know you the best. // This is a tough one. Last year I had a handful of friends move further away from the normal 15-30 minute proximity I’m used to. I had to stop and remind myself that since I’m going to college and dreaming of traveling far places, means that they can do the same. They hold that same freedom in the palm of their hands. It may not be something I’m fond of (I’m a huge lover of quality time. I need my pals close.), but thank goodness for hour-long phone calls, and video chats, and a job that can pay for the tanks of gas I go through to visit my homies. Hold onto them because you need each other. You need the nights reminiscing of your middle-school-selves drinking water out of the corners of sandwich bags, and playing card games all day. Those nights snuggling under fairy lights will heal broken hearts. And the days spent filming in the freezing cold with the boys, those will mend cracked perceptions.
In the words of Taylor Swift: Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you. / New Year’s Day
- Let the healing happen. // It’s okay to admit that you’re bitter and that you need time to work things out, but don’t sit in the bitterness for long. Life hurts sometimes. People hurt us sometimes. We’re all human, it’s bound to happen. But one of the most beautiful things that happened to me this year was allowing God heal a broken piece of my heart. Funny enough it happened while I was watching a movie, surrounded by a bunch of my sisters who love God as much as I do (read more in my “Forgiveness” blog post). I’m a very visual person, and in one specific scene God completely changed my perspective. So much so, I couldn’t stop crying. And on my drive home, I sat in awe of the peace I felt. It’s real, y’all. God is the bomb.
- (Persevere Until Something Happens) // This is a concept I’ve learned in church, and it was tested this past semester. I have had a very pathetic social life since school started back in August. I had class everyday, worked a couple days a week, and somehow snuck in Wednesday Youth while balancing homework and sleep and food (and every other essential thing that goes with living). My goal was to bring up my GPA, which suffered from my grade in Bio last semester. I’m waiting on the day when they create a Biology class for non-bio majors. When my final grades came out to be all A’s and B’s, you better believe I celebrated with a nice juicy burger from Ted’s and Jeni’s ice cream! Don’t settle, friends. In the wise words of my pal Hannah Harte (who is a genius photographer btw: check her out at MaryHannahHarte.com): Good enough for now is not good enough for me. Persevere until something happens.
On January 1st, 2018, I went to Ashville to tour The Biltmore Estate with a handful of people I hold most dear. It was actually something I wanted to do in 2017. I tried to plan a trip a couple of times but nothing ever happened. So far, it’s been my favorite day of 2018. This may be a little TMI, but on New Year’s Day of last year, I spent the entire day puking my guts out. It was the absolute worst. I missed out on a day with family, and a decent day to spend my break. But this New Year’s Day, a dream came true. I laughed hysterically until I was crying, I belted out musicals with my bff, I carried my favorite little minion on my shoulders, I captured a few happy snaps, and I was content. My joy bucket was full. I’m taking the new beginning as a prophetic event towards the rest of this year. May 2018 be a year where daydreams come to life!
One of the biggest takeaways from my Biltmore adventure was that I lived that day. Yes, I know, we live every day. What I mean is that I was in the moments the entire day, missing out on nothing. Going into 2018, my goal is to live more. To have real moments, real interactions with real human beings to have real feelings. Less texting, more handwritten letters. Less scroll time, more one-on-one conversations. Does that make sense?
Last weekend I went to Target, with a buddy, and bought some new pens, a new journal, and a dry-erase white board to make my goal setting FUN. I also made a little doo dad that I’ve attached below. Feel free to play with it!
Here’s to a year full of laughter, and color, and irreplaceable moments that we lived. We didn’t try to capture them on camera, but we lived them like our great-grandparents would have done. We listened to old records and danced around in the kitchen. We climbed mountains and felt the cool breeze through our fingers.
We took the jump, we made the fall, and we got back up.
Hello 2018, we are ready for you.