Last January, I jotted down a few things I wanted to be more intentional about in 2017. I didn't set any resolutions, per se, but I did think about some smaller changes I wanted to make.
The plans themselves weren't meant to be completely life-altering, but the smallness of those actions always has the potential to start snowballing, and I think I made some small but dense snowballs this past year. (Wut kind of illustration even is that?)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the very best thing I did for myself in 2017 was cutting out Facebook. Sometimes you don't realize the extent of your dependency on something, or the frequency that you use it until you cut it out. I already knew that my Facebook use played a huge part in dictating my mood every day, that I felt powerless to stop the impulse to check it, and that it was taking up a lot of precious time that I wanted to devote to other things. So I decided that it was necessary for me to remove it instead of trying to just manage my use of it.
That decision sparked some other important reflections for me over the year. If I'm not hearing from my friends and family through their online status updates, how can I better communicate and let them know I care about what's going on in their life? Who are the people that will still reach out to me? What do I want to feel in place of the anxiety and comparison brought on by social media? What is God trying to reveal to me through all of this?
It hasn't been a one-directional process, and I shouldn't be surprised by that. Not much of 2017 was. It was a year of growth that went up and down and sideways and occasionally backwards. I tried to simplify some areas of my life, some got more complicated and cluttered as a result of my efforts. I didn't do anything perfectly but I did do some things, and I'm proud of them.
I maintained a pretty consistent morning routine of reading the Bible, and I read through the New Testament in the second half of the year. Sometimes I feel like the more I actually read the Bible, the more overwhelmed I am at how much there is to learn and how much I really don't understand. This hasn't been an easy habit for me, and I still go through spurts where I don't make time for it like I should. But good plans help (like this one from the Bible Project- you should join!) and I don't get so discouraged now if I fall a couple days behind.
In addition to some of the growth and learning I experienced, 2017 was also a year of some really awesome times. I mentioned in my last post that I got to see almost all of my closest friends that live away, and we had someone staying in our guest room at least five different times over the summer. Although I didn't do a ton of traveling by a lot of people's standards, I did get to travel to all my favourite West coast spots (Gros Morne, Lark Harbour, Burgeo, the Port au Port Peninsula), Halifax (twice!), Bermuda, and the Bonavista area (our third annual Labor Day weekend trip there.)
I love all the memories I got to make during those times with friends and family. And a good Newfoundland summer just about makes up for our wretchedly long winters.
Life is never truly without struggle, and although I experienced my own personal battles that I know will continue to rage on in the days to come, I am not without hope. The good Lord helps me keep things in perspective most days, and I know I have more blessings and things to be grateful for than I could possibly count or make a list of.
When it comes to seeking change for this new year, the one habit I know has the power to change every other one is developing a consistent and fruitful prayer life. One that sees prayers being answered and grows within me a heart that's open to the unexpected ways this year will unfold. 'Cause I ain't foolish enough to believe that all my own plans will (or should) succeed.
Dave and I are also trying our hand at having a Real Budget this year, so I guess the bar is kind of unintentionally set, huh?
I hope you had a wonderful 2017, and even if you didn't, there's always hope in a new year and a new season. Just look at me- deeming it totally acceptable to post a re-cap of 2017 when January is almost half over. The world is your oyster, my friends.