I thought this might be a stereotypical blogger post, but I am a big fan of self-reflection and goal setting. Ergo, a post about the highs and lows, lessons learned and JOYS celebrated in 2011.
High: Nicaragua! The first memory that came to mind of 2011 was the lovely mission trip I had the great privilege of co-leading last spring break. It was by far the most overwhelming, stretching, and rewarding process and I am eternally grateful for it. Seeing the entire process of planning a trip, choosing a team, and taking that team to a Spanish speaking country was – well, nothing less than spectacular. God brought together the most perfect group of people, and has since turned that team into some of my dearest friends. Seeing the way He worked through each of them in our time there was a far greater blessing than I ever could have asked for. Through that trip God taught me SO much about His faithfulness to me, and the rewards we will see if we put our trust in Him.
Low: I had my first ever cavity. Serious bummer.
High: Camp Living Water! I was also blessed with the opportunity to spend a second summer working at the greatest camp ever. Out in gorgeous Wyoming, I was surrounded by God’s creation as well as some of His most wonderful people. Our staff was incredible and some of them will be lifelong friends. My campers were my highlight; I loved spending another summer building relationships with new and repeat campers. I adore those girls beyond words, and was inspired by their honesty, vulnerability, and passion for the Lord. Forever grateful.
Low: I turned into a very emotional girl in 2011. But this was a beautiful process, really. I learned a lot about myself through this; I am a “recovering good girl” (www.chattingatthesky.com – ladies, read her book, Grace for the Good Girl, it’s wonderful) who hid behind the mask of “having it all together”. I am a pro at handling other people’s problems but internalizing my own. And during 2011, God put His foot down and said Enough. I learned, when I finally trusted and opened up to others about my struggles and heartaches, that being vulnerable is lovely. The whole idea of community is bearing each other’s burdens, walking alongside each other in the JOYS and the pains. Nobody has it all together, truly, and I loved learning that tears are a healthy, normal thing that often bond our hearts together in a most special way. Grateful.
High: Two of my beautiful, lifelong best friends were proposed to in 2011, and I get to be a bridesmaid in both their weddings! I cannot express the JOY it brings me looking forward to celebrating this milestone with them. Cannot wait for summer 2012!
Low: I experienced a lot of “lasts” during 2011. Last tennis season, last year of life for my sweet dog, last semester of college, last time living on the east coast (for now, at least – who knows where the future will take me), last summer job…it is difficult and scary to face these, but as I said before, ‘goodbyes’ in any sense only lead to exciting ‘hellos’.
High: Being accepted to grad school! WOAH. I do not feel old enough for this to even be possible, but it is happening. And it is happening soon. It is terrifyingly wonderful. I’ll never forget that moment when I found out I was accepted and knew my life was forever changed. Forever grateful.
And one more High! A dear, dear friend and I started a JOY journey together last spring, counting things we are thankful for as inspired by Ann Voskamp and her book One Thousand Gifts (read it!) and reached our 1000th gift right before 2011 ended! What a huge blessing and a beautiful way to end the year.
I am a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions as well, so here are some of my goals for 2012:
To be objective – this might seem random and weird, but it is just something I’ve noticed in my life as a weakness of mine. I often forget that there are two sides to every story, that when someone tells you something about someone, it may be exaggerated or biased. It is a mark of maturity, I think, to be able to take a step back from a situation and view it from both sides. It is helpful to everyone involved for someone to speak peace and understanding into the situation.
Not to gossip – this may seem middle school-esque, but it is always a problem. I was convicted of this at camp this summer, and realized that I am often guilty of caddy gossip. If we are truly longing to live a life characterized by grace and love, this has to stop. Join me?
Leave every place better than it was when I arrived – whether that is resolving conflict or washing dishes, I just think it’s a good idea. (:
Be like Mary – In John 20, Mary goes to the tomb looking for Jesus – who has risen from the dead – but she doesn’t know that yet. The angels ask her why she is crying, and she tells them. Then Jesus (who she had originally thought was the gardener) simply says, “Mary.” And she instantly knows it is her Savior! I was so struck by this. John 10: 3-4 says, “He calls his sheep by name…and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” Mary drops everything to be at her Savior’s feet whenever she can. She knows his voice and follows immediately. I want this kind of faith and adoration.
So there you have it, my highs and lows of the past year and my goals for the coming one. What are yours?