2016 brought a lot of new changes for me. I graduated college. Went on my first cruise. Moved in with the greatest humans. Lost a good friend. Met a super cool dude. Travelled to 11 states. Made 15 new best friends. And got my first big-girl job.
With all those changes came life lessons, lessons I attempted to share with y’all throughout the year through my writing. I am grateful for all the ways I have grown throughout the year that has brought, arguably, the most change in my short 23-year-old life thus far.
There is one common thread that unites all of the positive growth that came from these changes though. And I don’t think I would have grown nearly as much this year without this decision. I chose to surrender. And I can tell the difference of when I chose to surrender and when I chose not to. Or when I waited so long to surrender, causing such excruciating anxiety in me that I did not know what to do. But when I let go of my fears and made the choices I believed were the best for me, I grew in extraordinary ways.
We all have had those big decisions to make, and when they come, it is easy to make the safest choice. This year, I learned to surrender instead, and choose what I believed would ultimately fill me with the most joy, even if it was scary at first. Letting go of my life and trusting God with all my decisions, big and small, has led to abundant freedom and fulfillment.
This quote from Jen Sincero and her book You Are A Badass captures much of what I’m reflecting on at the start of the new year and what I want to challenge us all with as we move forward:
Doubt is resistance, faith is surrender.
Worry is resistance, joy is surrender.
Control is resistance, allowing is surrender.
Ridicule is resistance, believing is surrender.
I look back on this year, and there are too many moments when I doubted I couldn’t do it, I was worried I would fail, I attempted to control every aspect of my situation, or I felt stupid in comparison to others around me.
And in those moments, I felt trapped. I can remember feeling trapped, like that decision I really wanted to make was too risky to make, so I should just wait a few more days to make it. Or this day was too long and hard of a day to be successful, so I should just give up before I begin. Or allowing others’ opinions of me to knock me down and define me…yeah that will make a girl feel helpless real quick.
But surrendering, the art of surrendering and trusting that all will work out, that if I go with my gut and believe in myself and refuse to let myself settle for anything less than the best for me…that faith, man that faith, has led me to a life unimaginably more life-giving than I could have dreamed.
I have faith in a God who loves me, more than I could ever dream I am loved. I have faith that He provides for me, in His perfect timing, in His perfect ways. Ways that I don’t always understand. I want to joyfully allow Him to do His God-thing, while I attempt to do my human-thing as best as I can. By being perfectly imperfect.
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
~Matthew 7:7-11, The Message
Ridicule, control, worry, doubt–you have no room on my calendar in 2017. Faith, joy, allowing life to happen, believing in myself and my purpose, and surrendering control? Yeah, that’s filling every day.