As the year came to a close and resolutions started to fill conversation, I reflected on the year. As I looked through my pictures, journal, and quiet times, I realized how much growth 2018 brought in so many ways.
Here are some of the lessons I've learned about the Lord, myself, people, and the world around me:
1. The Lord doesn't just want to be in the driver's seat of your life, but actually driving the car.
You need to give Him the keys, aka the means, to drive your life/car instead of white knuckling those keys. He wants you to take the aux and ride with him instead of hiding those pieces of your life and heart that are keeping you from moving in that car.
2. Your voice is valuable and important.
Finding your passion and motivation helps you find the places where your voice can especially be used.
3. Being vulnerable isn't a sign of weakness but of strength that stems growth.
Being vulnerable is an opened gate to your heart. Feeling emotions instead of blocking them off/bottling them up is healthy way of learning more about yourself and weeds out who you can't go to in those times.
4. Invitations are crucial and can change everything.
Your words so important. Invitations that I've received have been opened doors that I never thought was possible. We all strive to be wanted, accepted, and loved. An invitation is a small gesture that makes a big impact.
5. You have a bigger impact than you may think.
You have people silently watching you and your words AND actions impact that person. You don't understand your area of influence until someone either tells you or you leave that area and take a new perspective. You are important— take this responsibility seriously.
6. We all influence from our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).
Everything flows from our hearts, so people pick up where your heart is more than your words.
7. Forgiveness isn't just for you, but it's for the other person as well.
I understand that forgiveness aids in the healing process, but think about this for a second: that person is broken and striving for acceptance and love just like you. But if you spread hate or stop talking to them, they will feel unworthy of help, and it will be harder for them to change. If they don't feel worthy for help because no one is reaching out to them, what do you think will happen? That hate spirals and gains power in the silence of people around that person. Remember, forgiveness does not mean that what the person did was OK at all. You're allowed to feel hurt, mad, confused, etc. Just know your impact and that forgiveness is something that you AND the other person need to heal and change in a positive way.
8. The Word is crucial to get to know the Lord better as well as how He sees you.
If the Lord says that this is His word and that it became flesh through Jesus, don't you think that's important? If you want to learn more about a person, what do you do? You spend quality time with them, get to know them through their actions, and hear their heart. What better way of doing that with the Lord than reading about His heart, truth, life, and promises through the Bible? Learning these truths and His heart help you understand who you are and how He sees you, talk about self-image help! You are worth Jesus to God.
9. I've come so far in so many ways, and a reminder of this truth is needed.
Remind yourself of where you came from and that there is so much more for you. This is not the end, but a page of a chapter in a novel of your life. Don't put too much weight on one sentence when there are hundreds of pages to fill with growth.
10. It's okay not to be okay.
Don't feel guilty for being human. You can't pretend that you're perfect, and the day you realize that will be a crucial step to see the beautiful plan of your life unfold.
11. Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
Gotta love that reminder that good 'ole Pooh gives us. Don't take time or people or granted. Hang out with your grandma. Go to family dinners. Go on spontaneous adventures. Get that ice cream and have a movie marathon with friends. Believe me, you'll blink and that window of opportunity will be gone. Use it.
12. God doesn't make ugly, worthless, or weird.
He makes beautiful, valuable and unique.
13. When we are in the fire in life, we come out looking more like the Lord.
Malachi 3:3 explains how the refiner (God) puts the iron (us) into the fire (difficult and challenging season(s)in life) to refine. In that process, to know when the iron is done in the fiery and intense place, He looks to see if He can see His reflection in the metal. He wants to make you more like Him through those seasons. He doesn't forsake you, He loves you and wants you to experience growth through becoming more like Him. And believe me, He knows when you're ready to be taken out of the fire. Don't doubt him and don't be stubborn about it. He adores you and wants you to see the purpose through the pain.
14. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a certain period of time.
Accept that people help you learn about others and yourself. Don't take the time with that person for granted. Use the wisdom that you gained from the relationship and pass it on to pour into another relationship.
15. God doesn't see numbers, He sees hearts.
The Lord never cared about how many people were in the crowds, He cared about hungry hearts yearning for Him. Don't let the lack or abundance people in a community deter you from letting the Lord work. He works through everyone everywhere.
16. His water is living and can seep into the cracks of our hearts.
Water travels through the tiniest of cracks, so His living water still flows through the cracks in our hearts and to the deepest parts that we didn't know we were hiding. Let Him work.
17. Memorizing verses helps with daily reminders and encouragement.
Find a way that works for you, whether that's writing the first letter of each word on the back of your hand or changing your home screen to a picture of the verse, it will grow you in ways you didn't think were possible. Pray that a verse will speak to you, and it will serve as a constant reminder of Him and who you are becoming.
18. He works the most when I let go of control and cling to Him.
We were never meant to control life. If someone invents something, you trust them to make it work right? That person knows all of the ins and outs of that invention because he/she spent endless hours working on it. This is how God thinks of you. He crafted you in your mother's womb and created life so that He can control it. He knows the ins and outs of you and your life. Trust Him.