Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 In My Rearview..

2012 was an interesting year. It started out like most - promising, shiny and new. It's come to an end full of events that have brought both unparalleled joy and unexpected pain. With 2013 approaching I find myself revisiting the years happenings to determine what I conquered and learned from, should've done better and grown from, or simply miserably endured. I'm coming to understand that just because the ordeal is over, it doesn't mean I learned a lesson.

Although not one of my best years, 2012 may has been one of the most necessary for my personal growth. I'm not sure if I am fully signed on to the notion as some are that there is a higher degree of understanding that comes at the age of 33. I do believe however that it comes with higher expectation.

I've lived thus far embracing and maybe subconsciously taking advantage of the blessings that I continue to receive. My ability to survive and even thrive in some uncanny situations I attribute solely to the grace and mercy that God has repeatedly extended. Some could have (and a few times should have) come with greater and much more lasting consequences. I'm FINALLY coming to understand that being grateful for those gifts is simply NOT enough. It's time to do better at being a steward of all I'm given. Figured I'd share some things that stuck with me from this year.

1. Sporadic effort simply may not be effort at all. Interestingly enough, without finishing strong it simply becomes wasted effort.

2. The biggest investment that you can make in someone is TIME. And if in TIME it becomes evident that they don't appreciate it, then it may be TIME to move on.

3. Deciding to invest in ME has provided the greatest return.

4. Love is not an option. It is a human necessity that must be felt and given for optimal emotional well-being. We've adopted the concept that not communicating love somehow protects us from being hurt. I've found not saying I love you hurts much more.

5. Peace is typically not given. It is earned by responsibly living in a manner that creates space for it. If you've been granted peace without much effort, know that it is a gift from God.

6. My great-grandmother passed away in February and I think more about the lessons that she taught and the things that she stood for than ever before. When I had the opportunity to hear her with my ears I didn't make time. Now I'd give anything for more of those moments when I hear her with my heart.

7. My grandmothers health is fading, but she's still alive and I still have the opportunity to celebrate that life with her. I will give my attention to the moments of the life that she has left, not the illness.

8. Good health is a blessing, not a given and I have more control over it's status than I like to acknowledge. My body is only as invincible as I build it to be, not assume it to be.

9. I may have gradually become complacent with my definition of success based on what I believe myself currently capable. That has to be cheating. Time to redefine success.

10. MVA issues in Maryland creep up on you like that second glass of wine. They can, and most likely will cost money, time, and energy that you will NEVER get back. Avoid them at ALL costs. (The MVA issues, not the wine - so we're clear).

11. Checking the mail is not optional. (see #10)

12. Finally and most importantly - My life has been a soundtrack. Two songs seem to pop up on my iPhone repeatedly. Coincidence? I think not. They seem to go hand in hand. The words hold meaning and promise that I will take into 2013.

"Love me, love with your whole heart - He wants it all today.
Serve me, serve me with your life now - He want it all today.
Bow down, let go of your idols - He wants it all today.
He wants it all today .. He wants it all.
(Forever Jones)

It is time. And why wouldn't I give it all? It's a small sacrifice based on His investment in me and the blessings He showers despite my stunted growth. When I've foolishly attempted providing my own limited direction it's proven simply...

"Meaningless without You
It's meaningless, these treasures I possess
Only you can satisfy, Only You sustain my life
Without You...
I can breathe but I can't survive, I am living but not alive
Without You .. It's meaningless"
(Anthony Evans)

While I still fully believe that without risk there is little reward, exercising caution a little more frequently creates balance resulting in fewer life bruises and bail-out prayers.
I read a few months back that "Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional",
Embracing change rather than fighting it may facilitate making my own growth more intentional.
Think I'll try that.
Happy New Year.