Here's just a handful of things I have been learning the last few months. :)
1. Don't wait - work toward your goals every day.
It's so easy to let different little things that come up prevent you from working steadily toward your goal. I find myself saying, "Oh I'll just wait till this happens, and then do that... I'll wait for that to do this..." etc. All the while, I'm not putting my all into reaching my goals. Instead, if I do need to wait on something, I should still be investing as much as I am able toward my goals. This has been pounded into me the past few months and something I've really taken to heart and learned the value of it's truth. Even if I have to take baby steps as I press forward daily, they are steps, and they matter. Working toward my goals each day is the only way to truly invest myself in them with zeal, and the only way I can cooperate with God to reach them in His timing - not mine...
2. The past is done and gone, you only have the present to work with.
What happened in the past is done and gone, what happens in the future is yet to be done, and all that is left to work with is right this moment. There are a handful of things in my past I wish I could change and have done differently, things wish I could have fixed, things I wish were not done and gone... But no matter how hard I try, what happened in the past can't be undone, can't be changed, and can't be "fixed". I don't know the future. I can't even say what will happen tomorrow. All I have to work with is the present time. The present is all I have to strive to do God's will and shape my future. I only have right now to nurture my relationships, to make decisions and choices, and to do the right thing. The past year, I spent a lot of my time trying to fix things from my past that couldn't necessarily be fixed by me - only by God. It was exhausting and kept me from focusing on what mattered most - the present moment. This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn because it meant letting go of people and things. I don't like "giving up" on what I wish to make right, but sometimes you have to. Good news is, God never lets it go to waste. He uses mistakes from our past to create something good and beautiful that forms us and has the potential to influence our future for the better. After experiencing all of this, I want to focus more on doing my best in the present moment. Love more, give more, and do more right here, right now.
3. True friends are one of the most valuable gems we can possess. Treasure them.
I keep learning more and more about how I can be a better friend, and how grateful I am for the ones I do have. I've been blessed with friends who really care about me and my soul. They are amazing people I could go to for anything, and would do anything for. One of the many things I learned this year about friendship is to not neglect the ones I have. It's easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and not stay in touch, not be there for one another, and neglect spending time checking in on one another and spending quality time together. But it is SO important! True friendship is a beautiful gift from God and a way we can stay close to Him. The past year I would find myself locking myself up and pushing my friends away, instead of pulling them closer. I soon realized how much life good friends bring to the soul and how important it is to treasure them and nurture the friendships I have.
4. Loving others is hard. It is a conscious choice.
The media is really talented at hiding this fact of life. Love is popularly depicted as easy, without sacrifice, and something that just happens with little to no control. What about our day to day love we have in our hearts? It is easy to love when the situation is easy, when we like the person, and when it doesn't require any self-sacrifice. But what about when it isn't easy? Those moments we have to make a choice to love? That's when it gets difficult and the moment to truly pour out love from ourselves quickly passes. Thousands of times I have had that moment, but in my irritation, obliviousness, and self-centeredness I missed my chance to make a true act of love. By God's grace, loving others with a pure loving heart becomes easier the closer we are to Him. Yet, there will be times when our love is tested. Am I only loving others when it is convenient for me to love them? What about when it is inconvenient? Loving others is hard the majority of the time, and trying to love better, and love more is something that has really been on my mind and heart lately.
5. Discipline is a beautiful thing, that is vital to becoming who God wants you to be.
During my 20th year, out of the many things I learned and experienced, I would say what I have lacked most is discipline. While striving to obtain it, I have realized just how beautiful a life of discipline is. And not to mention how HARD. I noticed whenever I slacked in discipline, I slacked in loving God as I ought, being who He wants me to be, and what I should do. Living a life with discipline is essential to fulfilling our purpose and becoming a saint. As I head into my 21st year, growing in discipline will be one of my many endeavors.
Con amore in Cristo,