As you all probably know by now, I am the biggest fan of reflections there is. I write about it all the time and you’ll often find me staring off into space living it out. The New Year is a time that a lot of people decide to reflect. It’s a time of goal setting, new ideas, and self-improvement. However, the New Year is also notorious for people failing at everything they decide to tackle.
I don’t like to think of changing in the New Year. Rather, I like to think of growing. It is super important to set goals for growth in the upcoming year, but it is just as (maybe even more) important to see where you grew the previous year. You can’t set goals without realizing what you’re capable of achieving.
A lot of times we don’t realize where we are experiencing growth. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to see where you’re being shaped and renewed. That’s why it is important to look backward. Behind you is where you learn.
The key to doing this is not getting wrapped up in the past. I have struggled a lot with that this year. My 2016 wasn’t fabulous. I battled a lot of physical and mental health problems, I lost some people in my life who I loved a lot, and I felt like I was failing myself. I struggled with image, both physically and in what I was achieving (or not). This is the tip of the iceberg, but sums up a lot.
I have been so focused on how hard my year had been and how broken I was that I didn’t realize all the time I was also being fixed and being made better than before.
I learned how to manage stress and look for the joy in every day, I realized who God placed in my life to get me through and to appreciate the people who would no longer walk with me, and I saw that failures were opening doors for bigger successes. I am learning to love myself and working on not comparing myself to others. Through all the junk, I ended the year with my first college 4.0 semester, an officer position in my sorority, and some really incredible relationships.
And I ended it happy.
None of this would have happened if I wasn’t growing while experiencing the pain.
It has been a lot of steady reflection that has opened my eyes to this. My goals for the New Year are now clear. They’re not to change anything, but to continue the growth that has been placed in my life.
Find the beauty in the chaos.
Know where my strength comes from.
Choose to be joyful.
Build firm foundations.
Do things I love.
These are a few of the highlights. Simple reminders I will whisper to myself when days get dark and roads get hard. They encompass how I want to continue growing relationally, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
So, love the pain. Love how far 2016 dragged you down. Because you didn’t realize that whole time you were being prepared for something so much greater. Find that something in the New Year.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18