Eighteen Things

Hello sweet friend! 

As we wrap up another year, I wanted to share a short list of 18 things I learned this year. As we open the door to 2019 I pray for growth, love, strength, and new!

1. It’s okay to take it slow.
You read that right. It’s okay to take things SLOW. Go easy on yourself. I am always so eager to try new things sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. It’s okay to take it slow. 


2. It’s okay to say no. 
Maybe you don’t want to go out tonight. Maybe that activity just doesn’t sound like fun. Maybe you’re too tired. Maybe there’s no exact reason at all, and you’re just not feelin’ it. It is okay to just say no. 
3. Taking care of yourself first is going to help those you want to take care of.
If you aren’t in a good mental and physical space, how can you expect yourself to help others the way He has called you to? It’s not self-centered to take care of yourself. Water your garden so that you can help your brothers and sisters.
4. Don’t ask God for advice if you aren’t ready to hear it.
This one was so obvious when my Grandma told it to me, but I had never really thought about it before! So often I ask God for advice or next steps or guidance when I still am attached to my own opinion on how things should go. Asking for help is one thing but listening and acting on what you are told is another. Don’t ask for help if you don’t want the answer.

5. Wait a little longer.
I’ve probably quoted her 1,000 times this year. My dear friend mentioned this to me a couple of months ago and it has been ringing in my head since. Wait a little longer. Sometimes this means physically (in traffic, in the check out line at the grocery store) other times this means with people. Just wait a little longer. 
6. Not everyone grows the same way that I do.
This one I’m still learning. God may be working in me in a way that isn’t the same for someone else. My heart may be sensitive (or not sensitive) to things that work in the opposite way for someone else. What works for me, how my brain and heart work, isn’t the same as him, her, she, or them. Learning and listening to how other people’s hearts tick is so essential to understanding the other person in relationship, romantic or family or friendship.
7. Numbers don’t matter.
Another one I’m still learning and reminding myself of. Weight, followers, likes, income. You are not a number and these numbers do not matter. They do not define you or your worth. Embrace who you are as a whole and allow yourself to bloom.
8. It’s okay to not be friends.
This was another toughie for me. I am a classic extrovert and LOVE meeting new people (I usually just skip the acquaintance phase, everyone is just new friends). But sometimes it’s okay to not connect with someone. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them or that there’s something wrong with you. It’s okay to take the healthy initiative (respectfully) to go “you know, maybe we aren’t friends. and that’s okay.” There can still be support, love, and encouragement without friendship. 
9. Branching off of #8, it’s okay to stop being friends.
It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them or you. It’s okay to grow apart if that is what is healthy for one or both parties. It’s okay and it’s normal.
10. Take it EASY. 
Realize when you’re holding your breath and exhale before you suffocate.
11. Life is not always black and white.
Heck, life for me is rarely black and white. As someone who has OCD, I live in either black and white. But my life is dominantly gray. It is not this or that or left or right, sometimes it’s just looking down at my feet and realizing where I’m standing. 
12. Love and love harder. Lean into love, and allow yourself to BE loved. You are worth it.
13. Love isn’t always joyous.
Sometimes love is freakin’ hard. I fall more in love with Thomas each and every day, but that doesn’t mean as I fall I don’t stumble. God continues to remind me that relationships are fluid. There are good and bad days, time shouldn’t be 100% of either.
14. Forgiveness.
There are things I have long forgiven, whether the person who has hurt me has asked for it or not. Recently I realized when forgiveness occurs without the other person present or asking for it, anger and hurt can still subside in the heart because of that lack of closure. Rather than walking around with that brewing in my heart, I prayed (and continue to pray) for the closure only God can give. 
15. It is okay to be soft and strong.
I have seen a lot of darkness this past year, and have come out stronger than ever. It is okay to be sensitive and tender and also self-respecting and brave. Life can be gray.

16. Trusting in Jesus’ timing.
My heart grows unsteady at the unknown, I love being in control and I love knowing what’s next. Trusting in His timing, His way, and His plan has been a major step for me this past year. Letting go and letting Jesus.

17. Getting to know my anxiety.
This year I learned that, while I have known the ins and outs of my anxiety since I was a child, there is still so much in every minute of my day within my lil head and heart that is run through my anxiety screen. Things that I might not process a certain way or think about as often if I didn’t have anxiety. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t know myself this year, a stranger in my own body. I learned that meeting new corners of yourself is okay, too.

 18. STAY VULNERABLE. As scary and terrifying and uncomfortable as it is. If we aren’t vulnerable we aren’t genuine, and if we aren’t genuine what are we?