10 Things I Learned in Winter '21
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow
"Thank you, next."
Often, this is how I feel about seasons, especially after the below 0 temperatures we just had. Thanks for the snow...NEXT.
Just like rewinding a show allows us to see things we might have missed the first time around, a little rewind can help us see purpose in the seasons of our lives, too.
And when I pause, I see the nature around me reveal the nature of God. That has to be on purpose. What if creation can teach us about the Creator?
Some seasons we walk are thrilling and exuberant while others are an overwhelming emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and or financial struggle.
Some seasons I want to stretch while others I want to skip entirely.
I've learned to pray in the most challenging seasons of life, "Lord, let me learn everything there is for me to learn in this season so I can make the most of it."
But I think I'm missing so much. I need this prayer in all seasons of life, not just the challenging ones.
I want to cultivate a heart that learns, earnestly and intentionally. I don't want to endure a season, good or bad, and have nothing to say for it. I want to learn. I want to grow.
Even though the spiritual seasons of our lives don't always align with the calendar seasons, I believe the calendar seasons are a good place to start. It's tangible. We can begin to practice this discipline together.
In reflecting on the change in our lives, I believe we can learn to embrace each season for what it offers and, in doing so, draw us closer to God.
Thus, I'm excited to start sharing a new reflection with all of you. Without further ado, here's ten things (not all the things) but ten things I've learned this last season.
1. There are two types of people.
At a friend's house for brunch, I realized this - not for the first time but in a new way. Laughing at the absurdity of butter wrapped in a salted label yet placed in an unsalted package, she announced the disclaimer, "In full transparency, I don't know how this quiche is going to turn out. IS IT SALTED OR UNSALTED BUTTER, PEOPLE?!"
Laughter turned into a robust conversation about expensive butter versus 89-cent butter. So now, I've come to realize there are two types of people. Salty and not salty. Kidding, but there's that, too. 89-cent butter-buyers and overpriced butter-buyers. Given my word choice, you gotta know where I land on this continuum.
Neither is wrong, just different. Accepting differences is step one. Celebrating differences is where we thrive and begin to grow.
2. There is always something to celebrate.
Every year, I plan a themed Christmas party. Since 2020 "stink, stank, stunk" in more ways than one, The Grinch was the most obvious choice for last year's theme.
You know, we see what we want to see. If we're looking for bad, we'll see bad all around us. If we're looking for good, guess what? We'll see glimmers of good even if circumstances are less than desirable or truly unwanted.
Now, I admit, I'm more than a glass half-full kind of person. I'm one who often sees so much fullness, I need another glass!
But even if we don't share the same tendency, who-bilations and celebratory moments are needed even in the most bleak of times.
3. Write bad words.
Of all the things Bob Goff has taught me as a new writer, this one speaks the loudest. It's simple. Write bad words.
Not curse words. Bad words.
Even if you're not a writer, it's true. Said another way, just start. Don't be focused on knocking it out of the park as soon as you step on the field, just step up to the plate and swing.
Just start. The good words - whatever it is you're after - will come.
4. Help those who can do nothing for you.
Reaching out for help can be a scary thing.
Our culture praises pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, so it's fair to say, asking for help requires a heaping dose of courage.
Receiving support regardless of what I could offer in return made me realize helping others is about giving without condition. This lesson has been paramount in my journey. I pray I'm reminded of this as others reach out to me for help.
May I be generous with what God has given me. May I give freely with an open hand as I am led and able.
5. Listen to your body.
For me, I often don't realize I'm stressed until my body starts shutting down. By the time I realize I need to hit the reset button, it takes a couple weeks for my body to recover.
Our strengths are often our weaknesses. Staying calm under pressure is good - great even - until your body becomes a pressure cooker and suddenly you're done for.
We need to take time regularly to check-in on our health and identify triggers where our strengths bellyflop to weaknesses.
6. My focus needs to pivot.
I often focus more on how much grace I'm extending than grace I'm receiving.
Lots of thoughts stirring in me on this one. So much so, there will be a blog post fully dedicated to this. Stay tuned, friend.
7. Jo knows.
Making my way through her Magnolia cookbook, and y'all, Joanna Gaines does not steer you wrong. She's got some good ones.
I've made her salsa and guac repeatedly, but I think the parmesan chicken with homemade marinara is the current winner. I'd eat it every week if pasta and carbs weren't so unkind to my midsection.
8. That thing you feel so strongly about - that thing that energizes you and propels you to act - not everybody feels that.
Let me say that again. NOT EVERYBODY FEELS THAT.
It's called a calling. If everyone felt it or understood it, it would be a conference call. It's not.
Sure, God doesn't NEED you. He can use someone else. But, He wants to use you.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you." - Joshua 1:9
It's time to step out and act in faith. He is with you, always.
"Let faith rise up, oh heart believe. Let faith rise up in me."
Consider this a sneak peek into a future post, too. So much to unpack here.
9. A full schedule does not equal "life to the full."
You know the old insurance commercial that yells, "Can I get a hot tub?!" That's pretty much how I felt, except I didn't want a hot tub. I wanted a night off.
My schedule had become too packed - all good things. God-honoring even. Yet, the busyness was stealing my peace and my creativity and threatening to steal the good things He was giving me.
After a conversation with a good friend, I knew I needed to lay some things down.
I needed margin.
(Not margarine. As much as I like coming full circle, I'm not needing butter. I'm needing space in my day to be present.)
When we're at that point of laying something down, we need to take inventory. Just like cleaning out the fridge, we toss out the bad things - the things that were once good but now expired. We keep the good things and bring them to the front - the things that inspire us and nourish us.
Simply put, we stop or limit the distractions and we start doing more of what we're called.
What are you bad at? What has expired in your life that you're still storing? This shift requires us to stop this, toss that, and be intentional.
What are you being called to? What inspires you and nourishes you for the journey ahead? Do that. Feed that.
Yeah, more to come on this, too. I think we're just scratching the surface on this one.
10. Change is beautiful.
Oh, and one more. Did you know bright pink tulips turn to a deep shade of maroon as they fade and tilt?
I love flowers, but I have a certain affinity for tulips. A friendly bouquet served as a reminder that each stage of life offers beauty all its own.
As the tulip, we need to embrace not only the changing posture and stance but the changing colors in our lives, too. Opening up can be scary and hard. It might take some time, but friend, it's worth it.
This season is different, sure.
But it has something beautiful to offer us if we're willing to take on a new perspective.
Looking Ahead - One to Grow On
We can't just look back, metaphorically speaking or literally. We'd end up with a big ol' massive neck ache. We're not trying to get a crick here, so we need to use this reflection to propel us forward. Let's turn our focus and look ahead.
It's kind of like birthday spankings... you never end on your age. You have to get one to grow on...
This Spring, I am looking forward to seeing my tulips bloom in my front yard and I'm also squealing with excitement for new opportunities in this writing journey.
And friend, I can't wait to bring you with me on this next adventure!
Here's a hint... pack your bag. We're going somewhere warm!
Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?
To help you get started, download your FREE printable from the "Grow with Me" page. (Subscribe in the link below to receive the password to this page.)
Then, share one or two in a comment below. I'd love to learn from your reflections, too.
Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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