“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I've ever been.” — Iain Thomas
2015 was an incredible year for me. I grew so much personally and spiritually. It was, at the point in time, the best year of my life. I had no idea how 2016 would compare. But I was determined not to compare the two. I’m a firm believer that the best is always yet to come.
2016 was a whirlwind in the best way. This year I discovered more about myself than I ever have, and the plans God has for me. I traveled abroad for the first time, saw snow for the first time (and got trapped in a blizzard), and started a business. You could say it was a year of firsts. So i'm going to recap my year by highlighting the lessons i learned from a handful of experiences.
1) God really can do more than we ask or imagine
The highlight of my year was traveling to Australia. I did not start the year planning to go there. Actually, I intended to spend my summer traveling to Nashville and Washington D.C. However, as I was planning those trips in February I felt the Holy Spirit say, ‘No, don’t go.” That’s it. No further explanation given. I had saved up time off and money for these two trips that would take place in July, but every time I browsed for flights or researched things to do a negative feeling overcame me. So I heeded to it.
Now fast forward to April. A couple of friends of mine were talking about going to Australia and invited a bunch of us to go. Because I’d saved up my time off, but didn’t go to D.C. or Tennessee as planned, I had the availability to go. What's even crazier is that this trip would take place in July - the same time I was supposed to travel to Tennessee and the Nation's capital. More than that, God provided financially for the trip beyond my wildest dreams. We didn’t have to pay for accommodations and I didn’t have to pay for my flight.
That trip was life changing for me and I know none of it was a coincidence. Had I not surrendered to the Holy’s spirit guidance, I would have missed out on that incredible opportunity. I don’t always understand God’s ways, but I’ve learned to trust him more. He knows what lies ahead for me and I know He will never lead me astray. His ways are higher and better.
2) It's important to try new things
As I stated earlier, I experienced many new things this year and I’m a better person for it. The most stressful experience had to be staying in a Cabin in the mountains of North Carolina and going skiing. I attempted to ski but fell more times than I can count. Sadly, I never made it off the bunny slope. Later that night, we got lost driving up the mountain to our cabin (with no cell service or GPS signal), and got trapped by a blizzard while we were an hour and a half away from our lodging.
Though it was the most stressful vacation I’ve ever been on, I’m glad I went. i'm alive, it didn't kill me. I learned so much - about nature, about my lack of talent for snow sports, how my friends handle crisis, and most importantly about myself. We are, after all, a sum of our experiences, positive and negative. They shape how we view ourselves and the view the world. I want to grow and continually broaden both of those views.
“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”― B.J. Neblett
3) Don't wait, start now
This year I launched a business through Etsy, and the learning curve was huge. I’ve wanted to start a business since I was 13, but had no idea what I wanted to do until July 2016. Once the idea came to me, so did several product ideas. I would have loved to wait and launch my shop when I had everything created, learned more about inner workings of Etsy, and the best marketing strategies for social media. But I didn’t. I launched my shop with a handful of products and little knowledge.
If you’re waiting until you have it all figured out, sweetheart you’ll never start. Things are always changing and there will always be obstacles. If you want it, go for it. You’ll learn along the way.
4) Enjoy the journey – Don’t miss out on today wishing for tomorrow
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Friends, wherever you are in life I encourage to slow down every now and then, take mental pictures, and breathe it all in. Though great things lie ahead, don’t miss out on what’s happening now. So often we think when we achieve a certain status we’ll be happy, but perfection is an ever increasing scale of measurement. What will be enough today won’t be enough a year from now. The best way to find happiness and joy is to learn to your now. This season has a purpose and you’ll never has these exact moments ever again.
And that’s my 2016 in a nutshell! What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this year? I’d love to hear! Comment below.