Hi my sweet friends. Let me start by saying HAPPY NEW YAR! I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday season, and are feeling nothing but hope, joy and excitement when looking at the new year ahead.
If I’m being honest, new years has never been a huge deal to me. I’ve never been one to make resolutions (as I stress myself out over breaking them) and once Christmas ends, I’m so ready for the beginning of spring that I never spend too long reflecting on the start of the year ahead. That is, until this year.
The past week has been one of serious reflection and realization for me, and I wanted to take a moment to share. You, you specifically reading this, are more of a huge part of my life than you probably know, and it’s my constant goal to foster a true friendship between you and I. In true friend-fostering fashion, therefore, here is a recap of where I’m at, where 2015 took me, and what I hope for 2016.
Let’s start with one word. Change.
If I had to describe 2015 in one word, that is it. Change. A whole heck of a lot of it, too. And if you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve had a front row seat at watching much of that change play out.
Some of the change this past year was wanted. Planned for, excited about, good change. Graduating college was a defining moment (though I still don’t feel old enough) and taking Lonestar Southern full time was a dream I’ve had for a while. Traveling abroad on my own for the first time in my life, investing in new relationships and a new life here in Dallas, watching friends become fiancés and spouses – all good change.
Some of the change, however, was anything but. Sudden, harsh, unwanted change. Wrestling through my first heartbreak, being in Paris the night of the attacks, watching loved ones go through hard things. Change I didn’t want, didn’t see coming, and couldn’t plan for – difficult change.
All of that change has resulted in this new year being a big one for me. For the first time, I’m starting a year as a very different person than I was when I started the last. Unlike last year, this year I am in a career instead of a school, learning what it means to be my own boss and figure out the ever tricky work-life balance. Unlike last year, this year I am single, learning what it means to move forward from a relationship marked with so much goodness into finding love, meaning and my identity solely in my relationship with Christ. Unlike last year, this year I am in a new city, learning how to make new friends, develop new routines, and invest my free time in a new environment.
Notice a second theme here? Learning.
I can truly say the Lord has taught me more in the midst of this movement and uncertainty than in most other seasons of my life. But like any learning, this era of “life learning” that I’m in takes time, patience, practice, and a few mess-ups along the way. Oh how I sometimes wish it was easier! Don’t we all?
So, needless to say, during the final few days of 2015, it began to sink in just how monumental and dynamic the year had been. I also realized just how ready I was for a fresh start. There are things and memories and obstacles I want to leave in the past, new experiences and friendships and beginnings ahead that I want to run full speed into, and a whole lot about myself that I want to learn.
Now that the multitudes of change I experienced in 2015 have started to finally settle in, I’m tempted to think I’ve defeated change. “I got through it. I now have control over whatever lies ahead. That since I made it through 2015, I’ve got a grip on anything 2016 has for me.” But that’s where the Lord has stopped me, and lovingly reminded me that I am not in charge, I am not in control, I don’t actually have a grip on anything. On top of that… there was no part of me that got through, defeated, or controlled anything. It was HIM the whole time. Walking right beside me – celebrating me in the victories, comforting me in the hurts, moving me forward step by step into His calling on my life.
The second thing he gently showed me was that in order to learn effective and impactful lessons, there needs to be a good, loving teacher who knows what’s best for the student. Homework isn’t fun, pop quizzes and ten page papers and nerve-wracking presentations aren’t fun. But they’re worth it. And I know the lessons I’ve learned through all of the change in 2015 are valuable, and so good, and so necessary. Because I know I have a teacher who knows me better than I know myself, and wants to instruct me so that I can live the best, most impactful life possible.
So guess what, Kate.
(I’m talking to myself, it’s fine.) 2016 is going to be great, but just like 2015, there is still going to be that big, scary thing, change. Good change and bad change. Change you can prepare for, and change that will completely surprise you. There’s no possible way to be ready for all that life has for you this year. But one thing you can do? Prepare your heart in how it reacts to unknown, and find peace in knowing the changes and lessons that await, however good and however hard, have a beautiful purpose. To grow you.
How do I aim prepare my heart this year? For me, that looks like daily time in His word. (Take it from me, there is no more impactful thing you can do with your day!) I’m following along with Join the Journey, an awesome reading plan that will take us through the entire Gospel. It also means surrounding myself with people who push me towards Him, as I’m definitely one to get distracted when left to my own devices.
My prayer is that these measures allow me to set aside what I want in my selfishness and short-sightedness in order to make room for what He wants to use me for. Because I’ve tried life on my own terms, and found that a year lived in surrender to and reliance on Him is far better than one lived solely to serve myself. That’s my prayer for this year. To live in joyful, hopeful, peaceful surrender to His will and not my own wants. And something tells me that in doing so, 2016 is going to be my favorite yet!
I have just this overwhelming thankfulness in my heart that part of my story so far has been with you. Thank you for caring and coming back to this tiny piece of the internet. I’m praying blessings over you as you begin this new year, and am so excited for all we experience collectively!
To end on more of a light note (wow, I can go on a tangent quick…) here are some of my favorite looks from 2015. (Feel free to click through for the view post.)
Love from Texas,
P.S. If you’re curious about the inspiration behind today’s post title, give a listen to “On To Something Good” by Ashley Monroe. A sweet, easy song that’s pretty representative of my mindset heading into 2016. :)