It's officially 2018. And, it feels like the beginning of 2017 started a century ago. However, simultaneously, 2017 rushed by in the blink of an eye. As the holiday season is coming to an end, I am able to relax, clear my head, and collect my thoughts on everything 2017 brought. From starting another semester of college to devastating heartbreaks to finding myself and renewing spirits, 2017 never failed to keep life interesting It was as if I was on a rollercoaster with the highest drops, most dramatic twists, and exhilarating, gut-wrenching speeds. Nevertheless, I have grown more spiritually and emotionally in 2017 than I have during any other year, and I only hope to continue to improve in the years to come. Undoubtedly, the lessons I've learned in 2017 will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I am positive that God will remind me in the future of these teachings. I hope to communicate the three vital lessons I learned in 2017 and how I will proceed into the new year with a different perspective on life. It is my intention that you may relate to these lessons and learn from your own experiences to better yourself and draw closer to Christ.
1. Find the positive in every situation. And I mean every. single. situation.
Although God blessed me with some of the best memories and friendships of my life during 2017, He also brought me through some turbulent moments as well. Within one year my heart had been broken, my faith in Christ was distant and hazy, and my academic and professional career felt as if it was an all-wheel drive truck stuck in a mud ditch just pushing and pushing to get out but never making any progress. I questioned my career path and my goals for life after college. I didn’t know what I wanted and that reflected in my quality of work, as I turned in unedited papers, sloppy homework, and attempted to shortcut every single assignment, which is not my regular behavior. I barely tried, and the truth is…I just didn’t care about that area of my life anymore. My classes were difficult, and I just happened to get almost all the terrible professors my school has to offer. The frustration during this time in my life sent me into emotional breakdowns, where I doubted myself and God’s plans for me. It was hard, and I was giving up. While during last semester I was caught In a fog and didn’t realize the error of my ways, I look back on 2017 and find the positive lessons and outcomes of those difficult situations. All those strenuous classes and frustrating professors helped me learn that everything is not perfect, and I am not in control of what happens in my life. God is. Now, that I have found and learned from the positive product of my burdens, I am able to learn from them and progress forward with an upbeat attitude and a skip in my step. Now, that the fog has lifted around me, I can reflect on all the amazing blessings God gave me during 2017. So, stay positive and look on the bright side of the situation.
2. Live your life to the fullest
2017 consisted of a multitude of movie-like and Instagram worthy adventures: road trips with the windows rolled down, trecking through the mountains with fog at my feet and rain lightly drizzling over my skin, music festivals, and countless exhilarating activities with amazing people, experiencing some of the greatest laughs and memories. While the phrase “live your life to the fullest” may seem arbitrary and commonly said, the majority of people do not put the phrase into action. But, if you truly live your life to fullest, take risks, and be vulnerable your perspective on life with drastically shift. For many of us, including me, we struggle with enjoying the season of life we are currently in, always looking forward to the next stage. If you’re in high school, you look forward to college. If you’re in college, you look forward to being done with school. If you’re working, you look forward to retirement. This mindset creates anxiety and stress about the future, where we are not able to fully enjoy the moments directly in front of us. While planning for the future today is a sold tactic, we also need to make sure it doesn’t consume our lives to the point where we never take amazing adventures in the present. So, go out, be active, live in the moment, and create many memories!
3. Count your blessing and never take them from granted.
I have the bad habit of proclaiming “I hate my life” every time something goes wrong. However, in reality, God has given me such a blessed life, filled with caring family and friends, an amazing school, and countless opportunities. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the hardships 2017 brought, it was easier to focus on the bad that was surrounding my life rather than realize the amazing blessings God was sending to my life. Now that I am in a better mindset, I am able to fully appreciate the people around me and the opportunities ahead. So, my advice to you is to enjoy every moment of your life and be grateful for everything: good and bad. If you focus on the blessing in your life, you not only show the people around you that you care, but you are also able to gain a new, positive perspective on life. As Big Sean would say, “Look, I feel blessed. Blessings on blessings on blessings. Look at my life, that’s lessons on lessons on lessons.” Take Big Sean’s words to heart and learn from your blessing and have a spectacular 2018.