Setting up this blog was one of the most frightening leaps of faith I've taken. There is something very vulnerable about putting your name, your face in front of thousands of strangers. When I first started this blog in August, I had very low expectations both of my diligence, and also of the reception I'd get. I was (and continue to be!) completely shocked by how this venture has succeeded, and I am so very humbled by the wonderful response I've received. To each and every one of my followers, commenters, and readers- Thank You.
Now that I've had 5 months to get used to this whole blogging thing, I'm ready to really get into it. :-) I love blogs that truly reflect the personality of the writer and make you feel like you're getting to know a person, rather than viewing a parade. Now, I really do realize that I've been firmly ensconced in the latter camp for the last 5 months, however, my dream is to "someday" become one of those other bloggers. But, it requires so very much more vulnerability to put your opinions, feelings, ramblings, and musings out there, too! So please bear with me as I take another frightening step of faith out into the unknown. :-) One of my goals for 2014 is to discover and develop my "writing voice", and to share more regularly about my day-to-day life, not just my more glamorous moments. ;-)
When I was thinking about what I wanted to write, I was quickly getting overwhelmed. :-) I have a whole post forming in my head about my New Year's Resolutions and how they'll affect my life and this blog, but I feel like it needs a little background to help set the stage. This post today is not what I hoped it might be. It's not glamorous, it's not amusing, it has no pictures. But it's what I needed to write now.
2012 was a year of major lifestyle changes. Up until then, I had spent every year in the same, expected place, doing the expected things. Yes, there were changes to my schedule that came up every now-and-then, but overall, my life was extremely predictable. And I liked it that way, thank you very much! I delight in order, details, sameness. So when God was leading me to an opportunity out of state, and with total strangers that summer, I was apprehensive. What would I do without my cocoon of the well-known? Would I cope gracefully? What about my mandatory 9 hours of sleep each and every night? Wouldn't I shrivel up and die without that? How would I possibly survive being surrounded by so many people each day?? After all- I am an extreme introvert!
Confident that this was in fact my God-given direction for the next 5 months, I lived a life unlike anything I had experienced before. I learned that I could survive in conditions that I previously thought nearly impossible. I survived with 6 hours of sleep a night or less. Survived stress. Made close, strong friendships with people who were previously strangers. Learned that I could let go of my perfectionism, after all! Learned that I could live with chaos. Discovered that lurking underneath all my introversion was a desire and even delight for people!
It was a good year. A year filled with stretching, painful stretching. But in the end- I ended up with a bigger picture of my life; a stronger understanding of grace and how to extend that to others.
If 2012 was the Year I learned that I could Survive, then 2013 became the Year I learned how to Thrive.
This past year was characterized by my many opportunities to travel, visit friends, and do work outside of the normal. In those travels, I began forming more decided opinions on what course I should be pursuing. If there is anything to get me in the life-planning mood, it's travel. :-) It allows me the opportunity to view the everyday from a removed perspective, and broadens the horizon of my prospects.
Overall, my time spent at home was where I learned the most, though. If my discovery last year was that I could survive on 6 or less hours of sleep, my discovery this year was that I thrive on 8-9. :-) If my realization last year was that I could live with chaos and less than perfection, my realization this year was that I am the happiest and most satisfied when I take the time and effort to strive toward order and excellence. Yes, I can live with less than ideal circumstances- in a way, I can even thrive there, too! However, I flourish the most in a controlled environment- one of schedules, checklists, and order. So since my life right now will allow for that, it is worth fighting for.
In a way, I have come full circle from where I started out at the beginning of 2012- I'm back to my quiet, disciplined life. However, all the things I've learned in the intervening years have brought depth to my goals, strengthened my resolve, and given me encouragement to face the intimidating and actively strive for the next level! :-)
I would like to see 2014 be the Year I Flourish in my present circumstances. I have so many things I want to do and be "someday".
This is my year for "somedays".