lessons learned

I warned you when I started this project that I am a terrible blogger. This has been made obvious by my sheer lack of posts since my first one almost 3 months ago. 

It's not that I lack ideas, but rather consistency, and confidence. What do I have to say that someone else hasn't already said, and better? 

In all honesty, the answer is nothing, and that's okay. Just because everything has already been said doesn't mean everything has been heard. We all learn and understand differently. Our understanding is colored by our past experiences after all. When we form a memory, it's more or less an impression of what we thought happened in any given situation. It isn't necessarily truth, but it's our truth. 

So here is my truth, or at least, here is my truth as of right now. 

This week I turned twenty two. (Cue Taylor swift singing in the background.) 

My birthday has always been a source of more than a little melancholy for me. I haven't had a party since I was seven, partially because I don't like large groups or being the center of attention, but mostly because trying to figure out who to invite always brings up the inevitable question "who would be hurt if they weren't invited?" Because I was always that kid, and I never wanted to make anyone else feel that way. I still don't. 

The night before my birthday, or sometimes even the day of, I always find myself analyzing the previous year. Looking back at all of the highs and lows. Trying to figure out if I've come out in the positive. If I can check the year off as a  a success. 

I'm going to be totally honest here. I hate that mentality. I hate the idea of taking 525,600 minutes and lumping them together into one giant question mark. Because as much as we may try sometimes, life is never so black and white. It is as diverse and vast as the shifting planet we call home. 

This year, I turned twenty two.

This year, I grew closer to Jesus. I learned what it truly means to be a Christian, and to love others as He loves us. To have grace with people, and myself. Some days, I still fail at that miserably. But I'm here. I'm trying. 

This year, I met the love of my life. The man who will one day soon be my husband. The man who loves me so well and so fully. Who has seen me at my worst and my weakest and has loved me even harder in those moments. 

This year I felt the world shift. I lost my footing. I took on too much too quickly, because I thought, surely if I'm doing all of this, then they'll be proud. I don't know who I was trying to please. I don't know why I was trying to prove myself so adamantly when no one was questioning my validity. But I did, none the less. I took on so much work that I completely lost myself, and any sense of quiet reflection I once had. 

This year I disappointed a lot of people. And I'm sorry. I've always been a people pleaser. A "yes man." And so often, overcommitting means under delivering. And saying "yes" to something or someone I shouldn't have was the same as saying no to something I really should have been doing. I know that now, but it's still something I'm learning how to do each day. 

This year I learned what it means to put all my hope in Him. I learned, because I wasn't. I was going to Him, sure. But 95 percent of the time it was because I needed something. Because I was realizing my weakness and breaking down. I kept getting to a point where I was so broken that I knew I couldn't do it without Him, and in those moments I would cling to Him -which is great- but as soon as things were going smoothly again, I would forget. I understand fully now how important it is to come to Him in our strength as well as our weakness, and with grateful hearts. We have to come to Him constantly and consistently, not just when life gives us more than we can handle alone. 

This year I learned how to take deep breaths. How to be calm in the face of chaos. How to lift all my stress, and sadness, and frustration up to Him. And to trust that He is in control, and His plan is so much sweeter than mine, even if I can't see it. Especially then. 

This year I learned. And I learned, and I learned. That's all it comes down to really, is learning. 

This year I turned twenty two. And if I'm being totally honest, it was really bittersweet.

Here's the thing though. I could sit here with my clipboard, making mental tally marks. Good. Bad. Good. Good. Bad. I've done it a hundred times. It would be so easy, but to do so would be to say that I have regrets. That there are things I wish I could take back and do differently. And as much as I'm ending the year with a couple more (metaphoric) bruises than I'd like, and a lot of hard lessons under my belt, I am so gosh darn grateful for where I am now. And that's what really matters. 

Our lives aren't a series of tallies on a page, or even a separated list of successes and failures. We are all flesh and feeling. Imperfect skin pulled over bones that carry our entire history, created by the maker of the universe. Let us rejoice in that; in knowing how deeply and how fully we are loved. 

This year my goal is to be a little more grateful. 

Okay a lot more grateful. 

Who's with me?