**Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman’s post called “Let’s Share What We Learned this Spring.” Be sure click the linkup to find some other great posts on this topic too.**
Here’s a list of seven things I learned this spring:
- SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO TRUST THAT THROUGH CHANGE GOD WILL BRING YOU SOMETHING EVEN BETTER – My roommate got married this spring and so I had to look for a new living situation. We’d been roommates for almost five years and it had been such an ideal situation for fellowship, growth, laughter and hospitality. So I was not looking forward to having to make a change in that area. While I knew in my head it would all work out, in my heart I had my doubts. But what did I end up with in the end? Not just another apartment to rent but a HOUSE to live in once again (with a sunny patio, space for a garden and grassy yard). Not just another great roommate but TWO fun gals to live with. This all just reminded me that, as much as I may resist change at times, things usually turn out even better in the end!
- GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT (ESPECIALLY IF YOU CAN WAIT PATIENTLY) – Before we ended up with our new rental house, my roommates and I had to wait a week and a half before their Open House. In the meantime, there were not really any other good prospects showing up and our deadline to move was quickly approaching, Trusting God during that time was hard but it was also a growing time for me. I realized I could worry and fret or I could trust that God was in control and knew just what we needed. Eventually, it all worked out even without me ending up having to bite my nails too much.
- WHAT GOES AROUND USUALLY COMES AROUND (AND I MEAN THIS ONLY IN A GOOD WAY) – My move taught me another lesson this spring. I was a little worried that my pool of guy friends to help on moving day was pretty scarce. But I had previously been generous with my time to help other friends with their moves. This time around they returned the favor (and even brought their husbands along to help too!). God providing for me in this way was such an unexpected blessing. And other people stepped up who I had taken the time to allow into my life and to be a part of theirs too. I felt so blessed and humbled by the turnout (and on one of the rainiest Saturdays of the season to boot!)
- SOMETIMES LIFE TAKES A DIFFERENT DIRECTION THAN PLANNED SO YOU NEED TO STOP AND RE-EVALUATE – Someone recommended I take an online developmental editing course this winter. They thought it would be doable in addition to the Editing class I was already in. I agreed at first but also didn’t plan on having to house hunt and move during the last half of the online class. So I didn’t end up finishing all coursework for that. I had to make a decision about two-thirds of the way through to stop doing any of the reading or assignments. At the time it felt a bit like I was giving up but in the end it was the right decision. After all, I am the only one who truly knows my limits and how much I can really handle.
- TAKE TIME ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS TO REMEMBER THE BLESSINGS GOD HAS GIVEN YOU – If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know my littlest nephew is very special to our family. My sister-in-law had a hard pregnancy with him but then he ended up being born exactly on his due date (our own little miracle)! I was bummed this year as I didn’t think I’d get to celebrate his 1st birthday at all because of prior commitments elsewhere. But it turned out I got to see him after all for a short while, give him a present from me, and celebrate his life with everyone. Such a blessing for me and a sweet reminder of God’s grace!
- BAD HABITS SLOWLY CREEP UP ON YOU AND EVENTUALLY THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES – I hadn’t had “time” (or made time is more like it) to exercise much over the past year. And then I tweaked my back after all the heavy lifting from my move, etc. It was very painful for over a week and I began to get worried it wasn’t going to get better on its own. But I also realized my lack of exercise had finally caught up with me. So I started stretching it out with some daily yoga and going on some walks. Surprisingly this helped it heal much quicker than I had anticipated but I wasn’t about to let it happen again either. I tagged onto a new healthy eating plan with my sister-in-law and then just this weekend was able to go on my first short run after letting my back rest up awhile. It feels good to be making some better progress in this area once again.
- GOOD FRIENDSHIPS REQUIRE YOU TO BE INTENTIONAL –As a result of some common themes among those of us in my church small group, we started a new book study from the (in)courage community. We’re using a devotional called “Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement.” On my end, I’ve realized I spend LESS quality time with one of my new roommates than I did when we were simply friends. Our work schedules are different and we have different days off. Also, when we are home together it seems we both have our own agendas to follow. So I miss her although I see her now every day! I’m realizing that in order to actually sit down and talk about our lives together like we used to do will require some more intentionality on both our parts.
**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.