The year I learned to hold still

I am the world’s most reflective person. I really love to think about the things I’ve done and why I did them and figure out ways I can grow from the insights I find. I don’t always embrace my lessons learned the way I should, but that’s okay — I think there is still immense value that comes from the reflecting process. I figure since it’s the last day of the year, it’s a good time to do some reflecting. I found these questions (I took a few out because I not married and it felt too forced to work the spouse questions into something more meaningful for me!) for reflecting on the year from a post over at (in)courage — you can read others’ reflections but mine are here, something I think I’d like to do each NYE.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Quitting my job at Ventura College. I wish I had done it sooner, but I knew it wasn’t the right time — I never felt peace about it until I did it. I don’t think we will always be happy in life and sometimes striving toward happiness isn’t the best thing we should be doing, but man… the day I left the campus for the last time I felt enormous weight lift off my shoulders!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Quitting my job at Ventura College. Haha. Even though I was relieved, it offered up so many unknowns, thinks that still aren’t clear for me. But even though it was challenging, it made me put my trust in God that something would come of my leaving, and so far, He’s taken care of me.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Living with married friends for almost six months. I had joked about it with them before, but then it actually happened and it was such an awesome time of growth for me.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Being temporarily unemployed. Now, I know that I did this to myself voluntarily, and I don’t regret it, nor do I want anyone’s sympathy because I know that there are so many people in my community whose work needs are so much dire than mine were or are. They would have killed to have that job. But it was something that I totally wasn’t planning on when the year started and it certainly was an obstacle.

5. Pick three words to describe 2012.
Joy
Worship
Love

6. What were the best books you read this year?
7 by Jen Hatmaker (probably my very favorite)
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (yeah… seems weird paired with 7!)
The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman

7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
You know, I don’t think any of my relationships are invaluable, but it was a nice year for me because I really got to develop some strong new friendships with some of the girls in my home group, including my roommate Monica, Rachel, and of course my good friend Megan — she was a super important person for me this year in terms of leaning on friends and experiencing growth in the Lord. And as always, I am mystified and so thankful over the way God continues to strengthen my friendships with my long-time friends Steph, Kim, and Hillary, and how He has blessed the relationship with my friend Jaimie.

8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I know exactly what my answer would be as soon as I read this, but let’s see if I can put it into words! I wrote extensively about my red ruby necklace (see “The Mending” and “Knots“)and its significance to me — I think the biggest personal change I’ve made is that I began volunteering near the end of the year at a crisis pregnancy center and as the year drew to a close, picked up some additional leadership responsibility with a very big event the center hosts. For me, to come so far and to listen to God so intently means that my life and who I am and what I value is changing radically.

9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
This has been a year of tears. I am a big crier. But I hate crying in front of people because I feel like it makes me look weepy and weak. Well, God has wanted me to be broken (in a good way) and has had me crying in front of people a lot this year. I’ve cried at church, praying at home group, at home group, asking for prayer at home group, at church some more, sitting in the dark in my bed while a friend prayed for me, alone in my room at night, on the way home from School of Ministry, more at church, during worship, and lots of other random places. I think I’ve learned to embrace the broken and the tears and let myself experiencing the emotions God has given me, but to not be ruled by them.

10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
Jesus is my homeboy. Seriously, though, I feel like I have spent more intimate time with the Lord this year than in all of the previous years of my life combined, and it wasn’t enough. I want to spend more time in 2013 with Him as His feet and in His word because it has brought me such joy this year.

11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
My body, it’s a little bigger this year. :)

12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I have worked on listening more and taking less from others. Not easy by any means, but I hope I have done that!

13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
At the college, I really enjoyed spending more time with students in various ways, whether it was at student orientations or working with our student workers at the summer institute.

14. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Revamping an entire program without shutting it down and fixing it. It is ridiculously hard to fix a broken program while still having to keep it up and running at the same time. I think this challenge brought me a lot of growth in the professional arena!

15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Hands down Gilmore Girls. But I have loved every moment of the show and would not unwatch it if I could.

16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Spending more time in the Word!

17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
He is who He says He is, He doesn’t change, and He will honor and bless us so tremendously when we shut up and obey.

18. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
The year I learned to hold still.

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