As I have thought about how I want to move forward in 2015, I realized how crucial it is that I take the time to reflect on what 2014 has taught me. If I want to steward my future well, I must take to heart the lessons my past has taught me so here goes:
1.) Problems and pain are inevitable. However, the perspective through which I view them changes everything. I can treat them as a divider, something I have to get past to get to the next place I am going; or I can see them as a dead end and choose to quit. My perspective is everything.
2.) Authentic friendship is a gift from Jesus. I have always been so set on having a million best friends and being liked by everyone. However, I am realizing that there is simply not enough time or energy to make everyone your bestie. Having real conversations, establishing deep trust with someone, investing in their life, learning their heart and being a selfless friend is simply not a gift you have the ability to give everyone. Choose wisely and focus on the quality of your friendships instead of the quantity.
3.) Time is the most valuable possession we have. I have heard it over and over and over again: “You can’t get today back! Soak it in. Enjoy every moment!” While I knew this was true, I didn’t realize the privilege it is to have more time. Each moment, each day, each week, each month, every year—we have an opportunity to share the love of Jesus and make a difference in this world. Let’s not waste it- He’s counting on us!
4.) Relationships require dying to yourself every single day. As I have grown in my relationships with those around me and sought to be a better girlfriend, daughter, friend and coworker, I have realized the true key to loving someone is selflessness. As you deny your own desires, preferences, offenses and reactions and love someone how Jesus loves you, the true art of connection is formed. We must trust that He will take care of us and take the focus off of ourselves.
5.) Having fun is underrated! Do you know what I believe is absolutely necessary in remaining youthful and having a zest for life? Believing that FUN is part of the equation! Sometimes, playing mindless board games, being ridiculous with your friends, going on a spontaneous adventure— those are the best things you could do to help your psycho-scheduled, organized, hard-working, analytical self focus! You need balance in your life! Be a child again
6.) Take care of yourself. Drink more water. Walk, run, do SOMETHING everyday. Go outside and get some sunshine. Get enough sleep. Apply sunscreen. Take vitamins. You only have one body and it is your vehicle to do the things you want to do and reach the goals you want to accomplish in this life! Cherish it, respect it, honor it and treat it well. It will do the same in return.
7.) Unplug. Yes, technology is amazing. The ways we are able to communicate, express, share and learn through the avenues of the internet, and specifically social media, are nothing short of incredible. However, we have let them take over our interaction and become our dialogue rather than having real conversations and being present with the people right in front of us! We must learn to unplug and be self-aware. Having dinner over an ipad/iphone is the opposite of romantic- put it down.
8.) There is no substitute for hard work. While there may be short-cuts to almost everything it seems like, there is absolutely no loophole when it comes to working hard. No matter what you’re doing, how much you “love it”, how much money you make or how little you like you’re boss, it is your responsibility to work hard and do your best. I promise that it is noted and recognized by those around you. Whether rewarded monetarily or not, your character and your Creator command it.
9.) Choose to always be thankful. I have realized that there is a distinct difference in how I handle situations, people, conflicts and life in general when I am feeling grateful. Choosing to see what God has already done and what you trust He will do is choosing to believe Him for who He says He is. When we choose to worry and fear, we do not allow thankfulness to take root. Let it permeate your heart, your mind and your soul and it will change how you approach your every day.
10.) Being a cheerleader is WAY better than being a hater. Let me ask you this: Have you ever felt good after putting someone down? Maybe for the first five minutes, but truly, what are the lasting affects? We were created to spur one another on, encourage one another to seek the richness of life and be eachother’s cheerleaders along the way! I promise you, celebrating the success and joy of those around you makes life a way bigger and better party than if you live for yourself- trust me!
11.) Material things will never fulfill you. I know we hear it constantly and honestly, it goes in one ear and out the other, but the truth is, nothing we buy, own or possess will ever fulfill us or sustain us. It is always temporary, giving us the initial high and then leaving us hungry for more. The only one who was ever meant to satisfy your craving is the One who made you – Jesus. He lasts forever and His love is never stale, subordinate or temporary. Choose His love. Let it be the reason that you live.
12.) The raw forms the rare. Let me explain. For so long, I was scared to be completely vulnerable and open with people, even my best friends! The possibility of judgement, lonliness and betrayal felt too large to risk. However, I have realized that the rare and lasting relationships in our lives are built on vulnerability. When we are raw, open for others to see, willing to take off the façade we put on and be our true selves, it is then that people can truly love us. It is impossibly to be fully loved unless you are fully known. Therefore, we must let others know us if we want to be loved.
13.) Life is really wonderful. It really is. When I stop to think about all that God has given me, the people that surround me, the future that awaits me, my heart is overwhelmed. “Why me?” I continually ask myself and my Maker. But I know that it was exactly the way He intended it- Life is meant to be a crazy but beautiful journey. While hardship, pain and the sting of reality may be hard to bare sometimes, we were created to keep going and to be wildly amazing at this thing called life.
14.) Jesus’ love is the real deal. I am not sure how else to say it than this: The love that we speak about, preach about, read about, hear about, pray about, all of it— it’s real. It’s alive. It’s powerful. It reaches far and wide, across all stretches of land and into the center of every human soul. It is active and accessible for every child of the King. The biggest mistake that we could ever make is to not believe or accept that we are loved, for when we do, it changes everything about the way we live.
I’m excited for 2015. I’m excited for EVERTHING that it will bring! I am expectant for what is to come but choosing to stay in today, January 4, and live it up in all it’s glory, for that is what He asks of me!
Praying that we are bold, loving, compassionate and obedient people this year. The world is watching and waiting and our Savior is expecting.
Let’s go!!! IT’S OUR YEAR
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” -Hebrews 12:1