On the final day of 2016, I wanted to share some concluding thoughts before the new year is officially upon us! For the past week, my husband and I have been in Illinois visiting his family for Christmas. He has Amish family so we have been devoting most of our time catching up with them since they are unable keep current with us on social media. It has been a sweet time for me to spend with my new family and an even sweeter time for him, I know!
As I reflect on this past year, I am reminded that I weathered many storms and witnessed many rainbows. A few of those storms were hospitalization on many occasions, surgeries and procedures, mold in my condo forcing me to move on short notice, seasons of worsening in my health, in-patient rehab learning to re-walk, going on short-term disability and then having my long-term disability benefits rejected leaving us with one income.
All of that comes off as dreary and hopeless, yet I understand that you can’t witness the rainbow without first weathering the storm; and let me tell you! My rainbows were bountiful, beautiful and bright! I was engaged at the end of last year, married in April, went on a magnificent, fairy-tale honeymoon to the Virgin Islands, welcomed our fur-baby Duncan into our home, moved into our beautiful apartment, paid off $3,500 in medical debt and what was left on my vehicle, and I could continue to list the ways that I experienced God moving in our lives.
One of the scariest elements of New Year’s are the resolutions that for some reason we feel required to list. In January of 2016, I didn’t create any new year’s resolutions for exactly that reason. Now as 2017 is breathing down our necks, I want to propose a new idea for both you and I. Instead of labeling these ideas as “Resolutions” already knowing that when December rolls around we won’t have followed through, let’s call them “Growth Points”. This simple change, in turn, sets the precedence that there is no possibility of failure to meet your enormous goal, because as long as you are continuing to move forward in the right direction, you will be meeting your objective of growth.
In the next few moments I want share with you my 5 simple “Growth Points”. Perhaps if you are struggling to decide on yours this might spark ideas in your heart as well as provide accountability for myself as the year progresses.
- Mature Spiritually. I don’t suppose anyone desires or intends on falling backwards spiritually throughout the year; but as the life begins to demand our time and the months quickly pass us by, we often find ourselves in a bit of a rut or downhill spiral. Regardless of where you currently stand in your spiritual walk, God always desires a closer relationship with us. So, I will strive for that. No outrageous commitments that I recognize I won’t keep, simply a growing desire to walk with Him daily.
- Improve Organization. I’m already the queen of Excel spreadsheets, lists and planning in general; however, as I reflect on the last year, I am aware of certain areas that need improvement. Later today, I will be setting up a home office in our spare bedroom and last week I bought a new planner (The Happy Planner) that will help me manage every aspect of our lives in a more concise way. I don’t know where you are as you begin 2017. Perhaps you’re like me and have it all pretty much under control and simply need to fine tune what you already have going on, or maybe you are completely disorganized and know you need to make some drastic changes. It doesn’t matter where you are in your organizational skills- take a small step towards better!
- Expand My Blog and Writing. This point will certainly vary greatly for many of you as writing may not be on your list of “to-do’s” this year; however, this is my hobby, calling and prayerfully a source of income for my little family. Regardless of what came to mind when you read this, there is always room for improvement, growth or consistency in a hobby or business venture. Just like organization, a small step in the right direction is better than no step at all!
- Cultivate My Relationships. As I mentioned earlier, I got married this year and have learned more than I imagined was even possible. It has already been a beautiful time of growth and I have been incredibly blessed to embark on this journey with my best friend! Even though I have learned an exponential amount in just 9 short months, I am well aware that I have the ability to be a better wife, a better daughter, and a better friend. So, this year I will love in a way that is selfless and unconditional requiring nothing in return. I challenge you to evaluate where you stand in your relationships. Is there room for growth? I know there is in mine!
- Enhance My Patience. This quite possibly could be the hardest growth point of all. There are many aspect of my life that I wish change would happen right now, yet I have absolutely no power over the timing of that change. I am longing for the day that my body is pain free, and full of energy. I also yearn for the day when I get to be a mommy and of course I would desire to own our own home. However, it is imperative to accept that though one or more of these may take place this year, they also may not. I am deciding right now that I will be satisfied with the life I am currently living. God is in control. He alone can alter the course of my life and since He is the Author and Finisher of my faith, I can and must rest in the fact that He has already penned each chapter that I will open; and though it may look different than I’d like, it is still beautiful in its own way!
So, I encourage you today as you wrap up 2016 and settle on your Growth Points for 2017 to be brave. Be bold. Be the best version of you!