It doesn’t quite feel like a year ago that I sat and wrote a list of goals and intentions for 2018. As with most years, it’s been one that’s been rammed to the full – with one thing after the next, and it truly has been quite weird to slow down to a stop over the last two weeks. I’ve found myself sitting, quite bored – but because I’ve been so unused to NOT doing anything.
“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
I set out with Proverbs 3:5-6 as my life verse and motto for the year; knowing that whatever happened, I’d be facing change, upheaval, and times where throughout it all, I needed to be trusting God. I can say – that I’ve learnt so many lessons in trusting – but there are still so many more to learn.
Lessons like this; trusting in ALL circumstances – are ones that we have to learn continually. While the premise may stay the same, our situations change – and God teaches us new things through that. So while I may have learnt how to trust God more while at home, or even when going to Israel – it was a totally new ballgame when I got to university, and found myself on my own. Even then, it was a reminder that I have a God who goes everywhere with me, and has gone before to make my paths straight. It is taking time – but truly learning how to trust God in it all is worth it, while also being hard.
I’m not going to spend the time going over each and every one of my goals – but I’ve found it fascinating looking back at what I wanted to get out of this year. Have you written down goals – and I say goals rather than resolutions; because more often than not resolutions never make it to the end of January – goals that you can then reflect on come the end of the year?
I know goals or new habits don’t need a new year to be formed – but there’s something quite nice about having a year as a round period of time! But before I move onto what 2019 may have in store; and what I want to achieve or just set in place, I want to look back a little at this year.
A Year for Learning
I think all years lend themselves to learning lessons, if we truly are prepared to not settle for where we are. I know that there is always more to learn; about myself, about the world, especially about God, and even in academics – and as someone who loves to know more – I don’t want to be complacent with what I already know.
This year especially has been about learning how and when to say ‘NO’, but also, when to say ‘YES.’ From trying to establish when it’s necessary to say no, and how to look after myself – to working out when I need to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. While to a point; comfort zones are there to protect us – if I were to spend my life hiding behind those walls, there are so many things I’d never learn or experience. I learnt a lot during my counselling sessions – and while they were hard; I know that now, I’m very glad I persevered through them.
A Year for Teaching
If there’s one thing I’ve done a lot of this year, more than at any other point, it’s teaching. I wouldn’t say it was something that came naturally – but I certainly have more experience now. Between teaching in Israel for a week, or every week at Church to a multitude of different age groups, I could definitely say I was thrown in at the deep end.
While discovering how to teach, and the joy it is to be able to share and impart knowledge with people – I also learnt a lot from the children and young people themselves. Even in just learning greater patience and perseverance when I don’t quite know what’s going on, but have to come up with something – there’re all skills that I know will come in handy at some point in my life.
A Year for Travelling
I’ve been so blessed in the opportunities that have arisen this year, and the possibility to go exploring new places. Starting with Israel in June; a place that for so many years I thought only possible to imagine, rather than actually walking around and seeing it for myself. As a family we also visited Canada, and toured round the West Coast – exploring Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper and Banff. While the trip wasn’t exactly what we thought it could be, it was still a real adventure, and so much fun. We then travelled to Florida – and I truly haven’t seen a place quite so magical as Disney World. It was a place to embrace my inner child; and I loved it.
A Year for Growing
I think growing is an inevitable part of getting older, learning more, and taking part in new experiences – but I think that undoubtedly, when you take a step out of your comfort zone, you’re bound to grow in some way or another. For me, this definitely involved going to Israel to meet a team that I didn’t know, and even just teaching. It included moving to university, facing Freshers’ week head on (SO SO glad that I don’t have to repeat Freshers in the same way again), learning how to live by myself, and so many more things. I’ve been challenged in everyday life; through the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and more than ever, the friendships I’ve made.
I’ve got more growing, and more learning to do – but each small step is one in the right direction.
This year certainly hasn’t been easy, but there have been highs and lows that are of equal importance. That said, as 2018 draws to a close – I’m giving thanks for all that God’s done this year. In the good and the bad; God remains true, faithful, and is alongside.
“But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3
As we look to the New Year – I’ve been reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. It’s so important to think about all He has done, and give thanks in it.
I’m excited for all that God has in store for 2019 – and I hope you’ll be content to follow along with me as I continue to blog and share that journey.