New Year’s Eve/Day is one of my favorite holidays. To me it’s exciting; it’s a new year, a clean slate, the mark of all the changes I’m going to make in my life. I know the excitement wears off after a week or two, but the day of is so inspiring. I feel like I can change the world this year.
I like to think that every year of my life has been better than the last. But I’m not sure if I can honestly say that the past year was the best. 2017 has shown me so many flaws in myself that I never knew I had. It’s taught me more than I wanted to know. But I’m thankful for a God who is always there and is willing to teach me the same things over and over until I finally get them. Here are just a few of the most important lessons I learned this year:
1. It’s okay to fail.
I’m a New Year’s resolutions kind of person. This time last year, I even took a course on how to set attainable goals. But, surprisingly, I accomplished none of them. Yeah, I know, who actually ever does. But it was (and still is, if I think about it) discouraging to look back and see those goals I had thought through a lot and how I didn’t even come close to accomplishing them. But looking back, I see a lot of other things I did accomplish that I didn’t put on that list. Also, I made some goals that later in the year I realized would have been less helpful to me than something else. So, all that to say that it’s okay that plans don’t go the way I want them to. This was definitely not my most productive year in comparison to things I’ve accomplished before, but it was an important one that grew me in other ways.
2. God will always provide.
I already mentioned my financial fears this year in a previous post. And that’s a fear that still haunts me a lot, actually. But God always brings something or someone to help me out. I’ve never even been close to starving, and I was able to thrive in my new adult life with great housemates, a car that runs most of the time, and jobs that keep me going even if they aren’t my #1 choice. He’s so good to me. I’m constantly learning that worrying isn’t going to change my circumstances and that God already has a plan for me.
3. My life is different, and I need to be content with that.
I cannot tell you how many of my friends got engaged or married in the past half year. And not one of them has been dating longer than me and my boyfriend. If I didn’t know any of them, I’d be content in the dating stage, but with the shower of wedding invitations and constant questions about when my bf is going to pop the question, I definitely struggle with being content. This flurry of wedding-ness made me question if there was something wrong with my not being engaged yet, even though we have really good reasons for waiting. It’s a process God’s bringing me through to understand that patience and trust is more important than “keeping up” with everyone else. My life are different than those around me, and I can’t live in constant comparison to my friends. I can’t say I’m always overjoyed when I see another friend’s engagement post, but I am learning to trust God and spend time preparing for whatever he has for me.
4. The key to a joyful life is obedience to God.
Somehow I didn’t connect faith and obedience to God until recently. I knew that following God’s word was the right thing to do, but I didn’t understand how vital it is to my happiness. I’ve had so many battles against my sinful nature this year, and no matter how much I tried to ignore my conscience and pretend that sin was okay, I ended up miserable, angry, and broken. Obedience is so hard sometimes, but it’s worth it because I can’t survive, much less live a fulfilling life, when I have something between me and God. Obedience is the way I can get closer to God, and that’s definitely something I need to do.
5. People make life so much more interesting (and fun).
No matter how much I like to be productive, all of my favorite memories from this year have been things I’ve done with my friends and family. Could I have written a few books this year? Maybe. Could I have become better at dozens of hobbies and be richer if I hadn’t gone out with my friends all the time? Definitely. But people are worth so much more than books and accomplishments. That’s something I easily forget but something that I think God ingrained inside of us. We are his prized possessions, after all. We need to think of each other that way too.
I hope you all have a blessed 2018. I’d love to hear any of the lessons you’ve learned last year!