Friends, thank you for all your encouragement as I have started this writing journey these last two years. It was only a few years ago that I was stuck. Not thriving. Weighed down with years of un-diagnosed health issues. I was forced to slow down and find contentment in Christ alone, even when my daily life was full of physical pain, sickness and uncertainty.
That season of sickness and waiting brought healing and restoration for me. I had been finding my purpose and satisfaction in how much I could serve. For the first time, I realized my satisfaction was in how much God loves me.
I’m excited about my first book coming out in 2017. I will be sharing all the things I’ve learned about my own identity, and how we can find our identity in Christ. Be looking for more book updates soon!
For now, here are more things I’ve leaned in 2016:
Give without expecting anything in return
When we serve at church or with an organization, we do it because we want to be a blessing to that organization. We give with no strings attached and without asking for anything in return.
This year the friends in my life have served me even when I didn’t ask for help. They have given to me in ways that I couldn’t repay them for. They didn’t want anything in return. The way others have loved and invested in me this year has helped me understand generosity and friendship in a new way. Because of my friends, I’ve learned to give and invest to the people closest to me without expecting anything in return.
Our children’s director gave a powerful illustration at church a few weeks ago. She illustrated how we have 940 weeks with our kids from birth until they turn 18. That’s 940 Saturday morning snuggles with them. Nine hundred and forty Sunday afternoons with them making crafts or hanging out with friends. Only 270 Saturday’s before our children turn five.
I love doing fun outings with the girls. The mundane things at home make me go kind of crazy. This year I learned to embrace the mundane days. They became extremely special at our house. I put my phone away and gave the girls my full attention. We made slime, built airplanes from legos, played play-doh, and talked about all the big emotions two-year-old’s and four-year-old have.
Say No To Most Things
If our worship leader asks me to sing or play in the band one Sunday, my obvious answer will be no. Singing is not one of my natural talents or gifts. If I were to sing on stage, it would sound so bad it would probably be a distraction to those trying to worship. I am most passionate and able to use my gifts best when I am teaching, encouraging and disciplining other women. I love doing this through writing, over coffee, in small groups, or at a play date while our children play. That is what I love. If I say yes to too many things I’m just OK at, I’m left with no space or energy for few things I feel I’m made to do.
“An essential intent is both inspirational and concrete, both meaningful and measurable. Done right, an essential intent is one decision that settles one thousand later decisions.”
Essentialism, p 126
Relax and Enjoy the Moment
A good friend told me it takes two minutes to clean up spilled milk, but our reaction to the spilled milk can last a lifetime.
I found myself earlier this year over-stressed and exhausted. It was causing me to be unintentionally short-tempered and snappy with others. I removed some things from my schedule and found rhythms of rest.
I want my girls and others to see me reacting to them and others with grace and kindness. I can do that by removing stress, resting in who I am in Christ, loving others well, and enjoying the ride.
We Can Do Hard Things
When my daughter first began riding her trycicle, she would want to ride it to the end of the driveway and then come back and be done. She knew how to ride it, but lacked confidence and felt nervous going far from home.
Each day I had a tree or a mailbox on the road as a goal for us to get to. Before we left home I had her say to herself in a loud voice “I’m so strong! I can do this!” Within the next few weeks, she was riding one to two miles on her tricycle. She began either running or riding her tricycle around the neighborhood with me often.
At age 4 she ran her first 5K.
What have you learned in 2016?