11 Things I Have Learned in 2019
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11 Things I Have Learned in 2019

I traveled the world in 2019 and this is what I brought home with me

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11 Things I Have Learned in 2019
@thenicolerowe

I am in Month 11 of the World Race. I made it through one of the hardest years of my life. It was amazing, it was challenging, it wrecked me, but it also built me back up. I have learned so many things this year but these are the things future racers or missionaries, in general, should know...

Taking care of yourself IS ministry

I am putting this first because to me, this is the most important. I did not take my mental health seriously enough until halfway through the race. I did what I was told and felt peer pressured to be on my A-game 24/7. I was burnt out. Towards the end of the race I realized, God would want me to be thriving not just surviving. Taking care of your mind, body, and spiritual health is just as important as doing ministry in your community.

You can live minimally and still thrive

I did collect a good amount throughout the race, but I went from having an amazing life in America with everything I could have ever wanted to living out of one big bag. I gave up a lot, but still somehow managed to be satisfied with the only bag I know. It made me realize, even through all the online shopping I did while living abroad, I can go home and confidently get rid of everything that doesn't serve me but could serve others very well.

I have more control than I think I do

I lost a lot of my freedom this year. I know what I signed up for, but sometimes it was really difficult. I didn't realize how much control I actually did have, but over myself. I controlled how I spent my time with the Lord, how I spent my off-days, how I spent my time with people during ministry. I felt I had nothing, but I wish I knew I did have more control and it was okay to stand up for myself.

Community is important, but it isn't everything

While living in community for the past year after living alone for about three years, I realized I truly am an introvert. Sometimes, living in community took priority over everything else on my mission when it should have been the second priority. Do not come on this mission thinking every girl will become your bridesmaid and every guy could be your future husband. Come to learn how to deal with people you do not agree or get along with, how to share your space but still make it your home, how to compromise, and how to put on a smile even when things are not going your way.

Say what you need because people really do care about you

BE VULNERABLE. Do not hide what you are feeling because of fear or being embarrassed. These people you are on your mission with will understand where you are coming from and they are probably going through something so similar. Take advantage of this opportunity to be so open and honest with the people you live with. Let them invest in you.

Use your gifts to serve the Lord

Share your gifts and let organizations/ministries know what you love or what you are good at. I spent an entire year feeling artistically drained. I love creating and I couldn't do it for a whole year. On Month 10, I shared what I was good at and my host let me SERVE HIM using my gifts. Month 10 turned out to be my favorite. It is okay to love what you do and want to share it with others. Be proud of it.

You do not have to be good at or love everything

I do not love kids ministry. I love baby ministry, but not kids camp. I do love evangelism. I loved hiking through the Himalayas and leading people to Jesus, but not door-to-door evangelism. I do not like manual labor ministry, but I love creating events for ministries. I felt like a monster because my heart was not where everyone else's was, but if we were all the same, who would be in charge of the other things to serve His kingdom?

Family is everything, it is okay to want to hear from them

Do not ignore people at home to "live in the moment." When you don't have a permanent home because you are traveling every month, your family becomes your home. My parents were my rock this year. I am okay with that. I took a lot of time to talk to them and grow in my relationship with them.

Honesty is the best policy

By the end of the race, I said whatever was on my mind. No shame. I was honest with myself and others. It calmed my anxiety and made it easier to not want to "gossip" or be involved in that anymore. Just be honest.

Take everything with a grain of salt

I told a pastor in Romania that I was Mormon at one point. He did not know the rest of my story. He asked me, "How did I repent?" I took it with a grain of salt because he did not know my story, I did not feel like I needed to explain it to him, and because of the language/cultural barrier, he meant it in a different way, but did not communicate it correctly. Take the "you're not married?" comments lightly, the "you have gained weight" comments lightly, and the "you have tattoos as a Christian" comments lightly.

I am God's creation and I will learn to fall in love with myself when I'm ready

I learned I am special and loved. I am still learning to love myself. I developed an unhealthy relationship with food in the world race. From binging to skipping meals, I put all my focus on what I was going to eat for every meal to feel as if I was in control. I missed out on so much because I was focused on how to change myself instead of love myself. I am still working on it, but God showed me I am special and designed uniquely.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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