**Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman’s post called “Let’s Share What We Learned this Winter.” Be sure click the linkup to find some other great posts on this topic too.**
Here is a list of seven things I learned over the winter:
- THE MORE TIME YOU SPEND WITH SOMEONE, THE MORE YOU USUALLY GROW TO APPRECIATE THEM – This winter (especially this last month) I’ve spent more one-on-one time with one of my nanny kiddos; usually he is one of two or three kids that I’m watching. But I’ve found that the more time I get to spend with just him, the closer we grow to each other and the more I see his cute little personality come out. I feel this is true in life as well! Often our differences or annoyances with someone else can be solved by actually sitting down to spend time together and truly hear their point of view. We may still not agree with them but we learn to see their heart behind their convictions and to appreciate who they are as a person (instead of simply as a stereotype or an enemy).
- IT’S EASY TO REVERT BACK TO OLD HABITS – Despite knowing my tendency to over-commit (and my best of intentions not to let that happen), I did end up doing it again this winter. The biggest instance was that, in addition to my UW Editing class, I signed up for an 8-week online Editing course that was highly recommended to me. It goes mid-January to mid-March. This choice left me with little to no margin in my life for unexpected things that came up and with homework constantly hanging over my head. “Will I ever learn?” I wondered. I am now frustrated by myself and with my optimistic view at the beginning of all this. “This time will be different,” I had told myself. But it never is!
- MY APPROACH TO CHANGE IS ALL IN MY HEAD – Times they are a ‘changing in many areas of my life right now: roommates, housing, relationships, career, etc. Change used to really throw me for a loop but I’m finding not so much anymore. Part of this was that one of my New Year’s “SOULutions” was to bravely approach change with confidence. As I reminded myself of this resolution during all the new changes that came my way this winter, I found I was less likely to cling to the status quo and more likely to lean into these new changes or allow myself to think outside the box a bit. So maybe it all simply starts with a mental shift inside my head which then translates into a different outcome in my actions?
- LIVE INTO YOUR STRENGTHS – I know I can tend to over-plan and over-organize my life and the tasks or projects I am involved in. This can easily lead to burn-out or to feeling unappreciated at times. But lately, as I’ve had some bigger issues which I’ve been in charge of come up, I’ve found I CAN’T stop planning and organizing for them. My administration skills come out no matter what and tend to help me feel more grounded not matter if I try to use them or not. I’ve realized lately that this is simply a part of who I am which helps me to process and feel less scattered. So, if I can help others with something I’d be doing anyway, so be it!
- THE TERMS “SURRENDER” AND “ADVENTURE” CAN GO HAND IN HAND – The two words I felt God leading me to this New Year were “surrender” and “adventure.” So, which one was it? The two words seemed too dissimilar to have them both connect in any way. Surrender to me seemed to mean giving up my agenda and my ideas of the way things should go. Adventure to me seemed to mean moving forward boldly and embracing things as they came. However, fairly early on this winter my Spiritual Director suggested both those words could fit into my coming year. You see, I can choose to “SURRENDER” myself to the “ADVENTURE” God is calling me to!
- WE GROW ACCUSTOMED TO OUR SURROUNDINGS – I have turned into a cold weather wimp! The longer I live in Seattle, the more accustomed I get to its moderate climate. Over Christmas break, my parents and I decided to go snowshoeing one sunny afternoon. The problem was the temperature outside was only seventeen degrees! I was miserable and complained almost the whole time. “Whose Idea was this?” I grumbled to my dad. “Yours!” he shot back to me. So, it was then I learned I need to live into the fact I simply can’t handle the cold weather and the snow like I used to be able to. Oh well?! 🙂
- I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO TRULY KNOWS WHAT I NEED IN MY LIFE AND WHERE GOD IS CALLING ME – In the midst of all these changes and the decisions that arise from them, I have discovered that ultimately I have to trust myself and what I feel God is calling me to do about them. This revelation comes in light of conflicting advice I’ve gotten in these areas over the last few months from trusted, godly people in my life. As a reformed people-pleaser, this was hard for me to handle. In the end, it has given me the confidence to trust my own instincts, the understanding that I need to take responsibility for the outcome of my decisions (right or wrong), and the ability to graciously decline advice from others if I feel it goes against what I am hearing from God in my own life. My friends and family may simply be worried for me, may have my best interests at heart, or may be protective of me for the moment and those things are okay. However, I have come to realize my decisions are ultimately up to me.