January 11, 2014

Lessons Learned in 2013

Over the past week (off and on), I’ve been reading through my past journals from 2013 to reflect on who I was, what I was thinking, and just what happened on the day to day. I picked up on a lot of the lessons I learned or things that were brought to my attention a little more and even a few words of insight that are helping me again in this very moment as I move forward. So, I thought I would share those with all of you…
  1. To appreciate the people who have been in my life through it all, instead of constantly wondering what happened with the friendships that have just faded out over the years. People come in and walk out of your life for a reason, and it doesn’t mean that we should just keep chasing after them. There has to be a point where you both just stop apologizing, make peace with it and move on.
  2. Things always do have a way of working themselves out. Let’s be honest. Life sucks sometimes; it’s not always pretty and things don’t always work out like we plan, but we have to keep finding a way to carry on. It has been a hard year full of challenges, in more ways than one. I’ve had doubts, fears, and a whole lot of other things in between. But, God always uses those circumstances to help me gain perspective; to see things a little more like He would. He uses it for my good, and through those times, I can see clearly that He really is good all the time, regardless of what life throws our way.
  3. Being a leader sometimes means you have to jump into a situation before you fully know what’s expected of you… At Catalyst, Pastor Andy Stanley brought up several key points that I’ve tried to remind myself of here and there throughout the year. It’s not always easy, but that’s part of being called to a bigger purpose.
  • “We have to commit to WHAT and figure out the HOW later.”
  • “You don’t learn much in your wrinkle free days.”
4. I started to see how much I’ve always had this need/desire to “belong,” and because of that, I’ve constantly  tried to keep up with everyone else with things and didn’t even notice it at the time. This goes all the way back to when I was younger, even in elementary school; having the latest clothes like my other friends, who were shopping at Limited Too, etc. It also goes hand in hand with comparing myself to other people in looks, personality, the way I write, or even just personality. It has become more evident to me that I need to focus on the path that God has for me. I am one of a kind and original, we all are. And if we’re always trying to be like everyone else, we miss out on the really cool things that God has planned for only us specifically.
5. This “waiting” period of being single is exactly what I’ve needed, and I haven’t always seen it the way I’ve wanted to…This isn’t meant to destroy me or kill my confidence or to be a reminder that I’m going to be “forever alone.” No, it’s to grow and learn more about who I am (outside of my parents, my friends, my other family members,etc), to get closer to God, to get into the things that I’m passionate about and to go after my dreams of writing and entertainment, wherever that might lead. Too many times I think I’ve relied too much on other people for decisions and I need to take this time to find out more about me. I want to get my priorities straightened out and to be confident in what I want and where I’m going, before I bring anyone else into the picture. I still have my own insecurities and things to work out. I’m learning how I need to be the right person, before expecting to meet the right person and that he’ll just change everything. God needs to be the focus in my life, or I will end up making that person everything, which would only leave me feeling disappointed and wanting more.
“Be patient. Enjoy these moments. Learn more. Become more independent. Save. Live life. Nashville will always be there and whatever is meant to happen will…Later. Not now. Be okay with that.”
(One of the entries I wrote in my journal over the summer; I’ve been trying to remind myself of this when it seems like the waiting is getting a little too long and wondering whether it’ll even be worth it. It’s always a yes).
6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s so cliche, but most of the time, within reason, there’s not an actual reason to be so afraid of a new experience (i.e. trying a new ride at Disneyland, meeting a friend of a friend, eating a new dish you’ve never had before). When I jumped in to new situations, I really ended up having a great time, when I almost backed out. I drove a jet ski for the first time and it was one of the best times I’ve ever had; flying across the water with nothing standing in my way or driving a car for that matter was pretty cool, too. Listening to new music didn’t kill me, watching a new TV series wasn’t the end of the world, and trying a new area of ministry at church (even if it didn’t work out), was still a good experience to start stripping away layers of the kinds of things I want to do around there.
7. If I’m always looking forward to the future, I’ll never be totally content, and I’ll never fully be able to appreciate what is happening right in front of me right now and what God is doing for me in this moment.
8. I’ve felt called to Nashville and that it is the place for me since I was 16. But, sometimes when you’re young, you can think a lot of things are meant to be in your life forever and that isn’t always the case. However, the more I’ve prayed about it and thought about it, and made out the plan/vision I see for myself in the future..I really can’t see myself going anywhere else. Each and every time I leave, I get really sick and I almost have to fight back tears as we board the plane. I leave a little bit of my heart back there with each visit, and someday when I return, it will be completely restored. Obviously, it’s going to take a few more years (maybe more) to save up and to have everything lined up, but instead of just hearing that as a “no,” I’m hearing it as a “not now.” I need to be patient and wait, get some things figured out and realize that there is no rush. I’m going to finish school, save up money, and when I feel God’s telling me the time is right, I’ll head on out…Until then, I just need to sit back and see what’s in front of me out in good ‘ole California.
9. Sometimes when we’re not totally sure of what the next step is that we’re supposed to take or don’t know what kind of decision we should be making. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to just DO SOMETHING. It might not be the best decision, but because we stepped out in faith, God will meet us there and will redirect our steps if we make a mistake. But, the real mistake would be not doing anything at all.
“You’re still in a time of transition dear–It’s upsetting for any of us when we’re not exactly sure how God’s moving in our lives.”
“The uncertainty–I don’t think the Lord lets any of us get through life without some seasons like that. Otherwise, how would we grow in our faith? Faith is moving ahead in obedience, dear. Just moving ahead one step at a time, trusting Him until He shows us what’s next. He’ll make it clear to you eventually. Sure as anything.”
(From the book, “Undeniably Yours” by Becky Wade”)
10. You have to take the bad days that come along with the good. You have to find a balance of all of the good and bad things in your life. And the bad will certainly help you appreciate the good that much more. But, all of it is a blessing in the end.
“If you’re in a good season…Celebrate it. And if you’re not, seasons are always changing. And that’s why it’s so important to put your peace, hope and true joy in The One who NEVER changes.”
(Amy Grant said this in concert when she came to town back in July, and it resonated so much with everything I was going through).
     11. Honestly, binge watching a TV series on Netflix actually helps me with school. So, I think that should be a lesson for me in this next quarter. Any good shows to recommend? haha.
12. Too much time on my hands can be a very dangerous thing, because I worry way too much…
13. It’s good to be specific in our talks with God, and it’s good to tell Him things that He already knows. It’s like when we see one of our friends posts something good that happened on Facebook. Even though we already know what has happened, we still want the update for ourselves when we see or talk to them next, because sometimes there are more details that they’ll tell us. God wants to hear those things from us, too.
14. “There are times I haven’t known where I was, but I’ve never been lost.” ~ My Grandpa
He was actually talking about directions and driving when he said this, but I’d like to think this applies SO much to life. I don’t always know where I’m going or why exactly I’m going through a certain season. But, I always have to keep believing that I will end up exactly where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to arrive.
I’m sure there were plenty of other things that I could have included, but these are the main things. I’m ready to go into 2014 stronger than ever and ready to tackle whatever life throws my way. I have God on my side, along with good friends and family, who know how to handle a heart like mine. :)
That’s all for now,
And…HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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