Below is a random compilation of things I learned this past year. Some are deep and others are trivial, but fun. Still, they are a fun reminder of how God has worked powerfully in my life this past year. I’d love to hear some of the things you’ve learned, as well! Comment below to tell me. 🙂
1. It’s okay to take up space
This is a mantra that always seemed cliché to me, but has taken on new meaning this year. I’ve learned how important it is to set limits for myself, to ask for help, and to humbly display weakness. I’m great at being imperfect but not so great at admitting it. This past year has allowed me to grow substantially in that area.
2. Cooking and baking can be fun!
Guys, I’m basically like a 15-year-old the moment I set foot in a kitchen. Why? Because that’s how old I was when I began battling an eating disorder. Needless to say, culinary arts are low in the totem pole when food is such a scary thing. So, I’m learning a lot for the first time. And it’s fun! This year, I’ve learned basics like which knives are for which tasks, how to make homemade granola (which I do regularly now), and what green onions are (scallions!). It’s a fun journey I’m embracing!
3. I can hike two 14ers in a day
One of the highlights of my year was summitting two fourteen-thousand-foot mountains in Colorado, largely by myself. My. Democrat and Mt. Cameron were close to each other, so once I got to the saddle, I racked on Mt. Cameron to the itinerary. Funny enough, I met two girls on the way up, one of whom had recently graduated from pharmacy school at Butler!
4. I’m not that little girl anymore
So much of the unhealthy controlling behaviors I’ve had are an attempt to protect myself when, in actuality, I am not the little girl I was who was defenseless and scared. I know my Maker. I know He is my refuge in times of trouble and the best friend I could ever have. Reminding myself of those truths has done wonders in helping me grow.
5. I survived a goose attack!
I suppose the “lesson learned” with this one is that geese are vile creatures and have it out for me. But I kinda already knew that… in all seriousness though, I was amazed by the love and support of my friends and family in the aftermath of my goose incident. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but by God’s grace, I faced one of my biggest fears and didn’t break a leg. God’s timing really is impeccable.
6. The iPhone 11 is waterproof
This is a lesson that needs some explaining . . . basically, I fell in the water at Starkey Park in Zionsville when my boyfriend and I visited this past fall. Freezing and in major panic-mode, I was diving in the water trying to find my phone that had fallen with me. I am not super attached to the phone itself, but the investment it represents and the files stored on it do make it quite valuable! Turns out: it wasn’t ruined at all! I saw a text pop up as I pulled it out of the water! This little incident was a blessing I’ll never forget–God is in the details (and my boyfriend is excellent in crisis situations!).
7. There’s a fine line between isolation and introvert-time
March 2020 was blissful for many introverts, like myself. It allowed flexibility, quiet time, and warmer weather to enjoy the outdoors. What came later, however, was more sinister. As the lockdown in the Midwest continued, I realized just how much I was isolating myself. Because I’m introverted, I thought it was fine. But the toll on my mental health became clear after only a few weeks. I was anxious, rigid in my daily patterns, and very sad. Through the experience, I learned that my tendency when I’m scared is to isolate myself. So, I force myself to be social (even if it’s over the phone) and I hold myself accountable to friends and family who know me well.
8. There are excellent ways I can be refreshed even during stress
Whether we know them or not, we all have a list of things that refresh us. During 2020, I was able to identify more of mine! I’ve learned that some are: time in nature, good books, baking, having a clean bedroom, time with family, sunrise walks, long runs with friends, notes from others, new adventures, and expressing gratitude. If you haven’t already, make a list of ways you find encouragement when you are in a tough spot.
9. Enjoy the seasons of life as they come
Shortly before I began dating my now-boyfriend, I was finding great contentment and growth in singleness–so much so that I really vacillated about dating at all. I wondered if I would miss out on the growth I’d been experiencing as a single woman with no dating prospects at all. Ha! Turns out: God knows exactly what He is doing. While I was spiritually growing prior to dating my boyfriend, I was also very much stuck. My isolated little world allowed me to justify a lot of passivity and complacency . . . such is not the case when you open up your world to someone else. I am so grateful that God is faithful to place us right where He wants us, right when He wants us there!
10. I will never regret trusting God
This is a saying that I’ve held fast to for a few years, but it took on new meaning during 2020. Each time I loosened my grip, I repeated it to myself. Each moment that brought near-tears, I brought it to mind. When we look back on our short days on this earth, we will not remember the moments we had a strangle-hold on “control.” We’ll remember the moments when we chose to let God be God–and the beautiful result of that trust.
This is a brief summary of some things I learned this year. If you’d like to read a more in-depth review of my 2020 (and please do!), you can check out this blog post.