When January comes, it brings a sense of renewal and hope. Each turn of the year is ripe with potential, movement, and momentum. 2014 has been a year of growth, reflection, detachment, severing, holding, stopping, settling in, restoration, stepping up, stepping back, letting go, moving forward, and clinging to faith. Whew!!! That’s a lot for one year.
At the start of 2014, my goal was to be intentional, and there were many times I had to lean in to life. It was my “one word 365.” As December came upon us and sped quickly toward its end, I thought I might have failed, missed the mark, and fallen off the go-for-it wagon. I was wrong. It seems December bleeds into January with a life of its own – providing essential soul-nutrients to birth new beginnings. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to begin again.
I am grateful for all the things I have walked through this year. I have learned some new things and shed the skin of many old things too. I’d like to share 12 things I’ve learned this year. Many of these come from words and stories I’ve written throughout 2014.
I hope you’ll find these words and blog posts encouraging as you rise into the new year.
- We were made for community. No one of has to walk alone. In the community of kindred hearts, we find a deeper sense of purpose and who we’re made to be. Community calls out from us what has always been. We learn to spread our wings and fly again. She Flew was my way of saying yes to being intentional.
- There is a creative bent deep in our bones that refuses to be ignored. When I got intentional about practicing my art, I grew. When we allow the creative bent to speak, it points us to divine truths that were once imperceptible to the eye. The soul sees deeply.
- Human connection and intimacy are nothing to fear. Being intentional about relationships helps us to stay grounded and close. There is a holy beauty in finding and being part of a community of safe people. In safe community I learned it’s okay to say you’re not okay. That is real freedom.
- Trying to always perfect is so exhausting. Just stop it. That’s my aim for the coming year. I want to rest in being. No more striving to fit or bond where I’m not meant to, and I’m good with that. When I’m intentional about saying no to always being perfect, it gives me more room to breathe and grow.
- Story matters. Yours. Mine. Ours. The words brimming from head to toe matter. Learn to listen, to be still, to not get the last word. Imagine the grace that would unfold if more of us listened with whole hearts!
- Dissonance is not the enemy of our soul. It is a wake up call, a quiet whisper demanding to be heard. Dissonance grasps our chin and turn our face to see the bruisings in our hearts. When I’m intentional about listening and seeing, I invite wholeness and restoration.
- Life will certainly hand you lots of lemons, some you can’t even use. But, we have a choice. We always have a choice to change the outcome. It means showing up, being present, and not giving up.
- Mourning will last for night, but joy will come again. Grieving is a natural process, and maybe we fight it to much rather than to feel the sting of ache. It is okay to feel the depths of our pain. It cannot overtake us when we choose to intentionally walk through it and not over it.
- Prayer is a moment to connect or reconnect with God, to still the heart, to make less noise. I’ve learned when I’m intentionally quiet before Him, He speaks to what my heart has struggled with for a long time. There’s no need for me to make noisy prayers that clog the communication airways. God already knows.
- I do not have to live with fear. It is NOT my inheritance. I can be intentional about choosing divine love, peace, and joy are my inheritance in the here-and-now. I can live fearlessly.
- There is more than enough grace for each of us. We won’t always get “it” right, but there is grace enough to cover us. Being intentional about extending grace begets more grace. I want more of it.
- Stand up for what is right even if it means you will stand alone, be ostracized, criticized, downsized, and ignored. Justice belongs to all of us. Speak up. Lean in. Ask hard questions. Pray through. Be intentional and deliberate about listening well and holding faith in the gray spaces. Don’t be afraid to hear hard stories. All lives matter.
- Of course, this is a baker’s dozen of things I’ve learned. I leave you with this last one. I follow Christ, and I am imperfect in my following Him. I have bruises of soul and heart. I’m in need of mending. But this one thing I know… the love of God is big enough and strong enough to make me whole. This is TRUTH. Healing and wholeness are for all of us, and they are within our grasp. God is intentional about soul restoration.
In shadows and Sun, God has been with me. He has surrounded me with community and safe people. They have spoken truth and love in ways that have allowed me to walk in freedom. 2014 wouldn’t have been what it was without friends and family to walk with me. I’m grateful and ready to step into a new year. I’m saying goodby to performance living and hello to a life of grace. I learned I was more intentional than I once believed, and 2015 beckons me to rest.
What have you learned in 2014 that’s boosted your life? I’d love to hear your stories.