What the hell was 2015?
I mean, if you were at a psychiatrist’s office and he threw up an ink blot that said “2015,” how would you react?
Good? Bad? Good Riddance?
For me, 2015 was a real “Tale of Two Cities” kind of year – it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Seriously though. I’ve racked my brain the past few days and I honestly still have no idea how to put words around what 2015 was. I’ve never had a season where I experienced such high highs and such low lows. In a year’s time I feel as though I’ve experienced the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences – loneliness and community, romance and heartache, self-depreciation and self-worth, anxiety and peace, doubts and confidence, vision and confusion, faithlessness and hope.
And yet despite the lows, or perhaps because of them, here I am. Another year has passed; I can look back reflectively and know that I am better for 2015.
It was a tough, formative year, yet God is still good.
God is still good.
So, in the year that I turned 23, here are my 23 takeaways from 2015.
- It’s okay to be vulnerable. Those who love you won’t run away.
- Be mindful of the truth and the stories we tell ourselves.
- You’re not alone.
- Mistakes are a part of the human experience and that they do not define who we are as a people.
- Conflict isn’t terrifying. (But even when it is you can handle it).
- Everyone deserves to be and to feel known.
- Worthiness is our birthright.
- Everyone should read Brene Brown.
- Feeling both positive and negative emotions is far better than feeling nothing at all.
- I have way more capacity to care for others than I ever imagined.
- Shame doesn’t have to be defining; our most shaming moments, while still painful, aren’t our entire stories.
- Own your story. It deserves to be heard by those you love.
- Everyone deserves to beat their demons/baggage/dirty laundry. Don’t buy into self-depreciating thoughts or feelings of unworthiness. Those are lies of the enemy.
- It’s okay to cry.
- Connection is powerful; it’s why we’re here – to be connected and feel connected to others. But, you can only feel connection if you are vulnerable. You can only be known if you are vulnerable. And you can only be truly loved if you are vulnerable. It’s scary. It’s terrifying. But it’s worth it.
- The most courageous thing you can do is show up and let yourself be seen.
- Learn to view yourself as highly as God does (or at least as highly as your loved ones view you).
- Be kind to yourself.
- You are enough.
- God is in suffering, or rather suffering is in God. When Jesus went to the cross, he didn’t just die – he took suffering into his being. It’s in his character. No amount of suffering can separate us from God because that is where God is found.
- Quit waiting for the other shoe to drop.
- Pain, hurt, and suffering aren’t necessarily bad things. They just are. How we respond to pain, hurt, and suffering speaks far more to who we are than whether or not we are experience pain, hurt, and suffering.
- Not everything has an answer, and that’s okay. Some things you will never make sense of and you need to live in the uncertainty, ambiguity, and confusion.
What did you learn this year?