2021 …what have you learned?

You’ve heard it on social media, or in person, what people are saying, things like this:

  • At the beginning of 2021 they said, “I hope 2021 is better than 2020!”
  • If 2021 was a saying it would say, “the year of every changing rules.”
  • At the end of 2021 they are saying, “2022 is shaping up to look like more of 2021!”

You can hear the irritation they’ve carried through the year. It’s true, 2021 was a year of ever changing rules. I cannot help but see how 2021 has caused us stand in our convictions and move forward or live our lives trying to enforce the rest of the world to obey the shifting goal posts. 2021 has brought many lessons and insights that I wouldn’t want to skip in my lifetime just to get out of going through this year. Here are some of the things I have noticed:

  • Simply making enough money won’t also make you happy.
  • Working for a living in a soul sucking job won’t satisfy no matter how much money we make.
  • Doing what you love is better.
  • That we can live with a lot less than we think.
  • It’s possible to hit big goals in a shady economy.
  • Debt is bad and debt free feels great
  • Start investing in things that last.
  • Take care of your emotional life.
  • Learn to rest, the mess will be their when you get back.
  • Loss, pain, tragedy, and struggle are inevitable but how you process them will be the determiner of how you go forward.
  • Family really is the most important thing.
  • We need a tribe of people in our life to navigate well.
  • Doing life alone and on your own is a hard, hard life.
  • We don’t know, what we think we know, and humility is better.
  • We learned no sector of our American life is safe from bad decisions.
  • We can’t control life but there is One who can be trusted through it all.

Hopefully, we as Christians, have learned to hold tighter to our families, and our Christian brothers and sisters. When life has been as hard (emotionally and mentally) as it has been for the last 2 years, we have either learned to process, grieve, and let people love us to wellness or we are still out here trying to do life like the last 2 years haven’t happened, or worse we are busy cutting off or out people who don’t think like us.

Ephesians 4:1-3…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Best thing I have done this year, by far, is to let the people who are in my life (Husband, family, pastors, close friends, and team) see into my heart and mind a little deeper than before. I mean, really let them in, past my defenses, past my facade, past my way that I desire to be seen, to the me that has been just under the surface and afraid to be seen. Every year, I want that girl to be seen more and more. The only way to get through all the emotional turmoil and struggle the world has, and will throw at us, is together!

Together means WITH EACH OTHER willingly. In Christ, we are a His body and He asks of us to be united. To become one. Together is not coercion. Not control. Not under force or intimidation. Not by manipulation. Together is an invitation. Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” When was the last time someone tried to make you do something you didn’t want to do and you willing continued to be around them? Probably if you were in an abusive relationship is when! Together is when I bring what I will and you bring what you will and we walk with each other sharing what we have to bring. Together is the only way I have made it this year! How about you? I am so thankful for those in my life who have walked together with me. Can I heal on my own, just me and Jesus? Yeah. I can. I’ve done that. Hid away my junk, attitudes, frustrations, and only brought them to Jesus. Deep diving in your own soul with God can be rewarding. It can make you a little more self aware. It also takes more time. When we allow others in, and function the way God intended, as a body, they see what we can’t. If we will submit to it and in humility allow the revealing, healing and growth comes at a faster speed. If you throw seed on the ground and watch to see them grow. You might see it. Most likely the growth gets choked out by the weeds. People in your life walking alongside in the process are like weed killer and growth cultivators. They can help till the ground. They water. They remove the rocks and the things that try to choke out what God is doing. Together is better!

What have you learned this year? Without reflection we are doomed to make the same mistakes as we move forward into the next season. Without self-restraint we run headlong into everything without thinking and that is a dangerous place to be. Without objectivity our personal bias go unchecked and we end up with hearts unchanged on the other side of difficulty and will certainly will experience a “round the mountain” experience where we are going through the same things repackaged. Take some time to write down your list of “things you noticed!” and then use this simple tool to help you just to do a little reflection:

  • What’s right?
  • What’s wrong?
  • What’s missing?
  • What’s confusing?
  • Name the challenges you are facing?

The scripture says in Proverbs 29:18 without vision the people perish…

I hope that as you take the time to evaluate that you also find among the answers God’s voice and leading.

Thanks for Listening,

Starla

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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