Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top Ten of 2013

I think we've all had good years and bad years.  2013 was definitely a growth year for me.  It was one of those years that I was ready to be done with it, but at the same time, I was thankful for it and the lessons it brought.

I thought I would share my Top Ten Lessons I've learned about myself and life in general this past year.

1)  I love my family and I love being us.

Well, yeah, of course I do.  That's a no-brainer, right?!  You'd think, but somewhere along the way I started thinking that I needed to be "going and doing" all the time to be happy and content.  When I was home with my family, I felt like I was missing out on something.  That they weren't enough, somehow.  Even my children would wake up each day asking where we were going and who we were seeing.  They seemed let down if I told them we were staying in.  I really don't know how it happened, because that's not me at all.  I'm a natural homebody and I've always loved being just us.  When I was finally able to put things in perspective, and figure out that I needed to be content with us and us alone, my attitudes started changing.  I can't tell you what a relief it has been.  Before, I always felt stressed and didn't feel like I was being the kind of mom, I wanted so badly to be.  Now, my days with the girls are so fun, and I finally feel present.  Not to say, I don't love the occasional playdate, coffee break or girls night, but I don't need those like I used to.

2)  I love to sing.

I have always dreaded singing, from the time I was a kid.  I did it, but it ate me up inside...every...last...time.  I was terrified during every performance and critiqued myself to death after.  This year, after getting involved with the group I sing with, Carolina Heart Song, I've learned that it is not only something I like to do, but something I love to do.  What a surprise!  The whole experience has turned out to be, surprisingly, really nice.  I've made some unlikely friendships and the Lord has helped me become a lot more comfortable being upfront.  I'm also learning to not be so hard on myself because it's not about me, it's about God and how He can use the music.  Did I mention the beta blocker that I take now to slow my heart rate down before every performance helps a lot, too?  Well, it certainly does.

3)  Confidence should only come from God.

If you get your confidence/self worth in anything/anyone other than God, you're going to be let down.  God's been trying to hammer this one into my brain for years!  Hopefully, now it will stick!

4)  I love Goodwill.

Yes, I have to admit it.  I love thrifting, antiquing or whatever fancy name you want to give it.  It's fun to find someone's old trash and make them into my own unique treasures.  It makes me happy to find a horrible looking frame, slap a coat of paint on it, and turn it into something I love.  It's so invigorating!  Repurposing is one of my passions.  If I could turn it into a career, I would...will? :)

 5)  It's so much easier to see the positive in people.

I've realized something about myself in the last few months that has really troubled me.  I have spent a lot of my time finding the faults in people.  That sounds terrible, doesn't it?!  I didn't really do it on purpose, but it hit me, that instead of finding the good things in people, I was zeroing in on the bad!

A few months ago, I decided my way of doing things wasn't working.  I had to do something different, and asked the Lord what I needed to change.  Through study and advice from family and friends, I realized I needed to start focusing on people's strengths and, can I just stay, it's made all the difference in the world.  The more I concentrate on the good things, the more the negatives seem so unimportant.  I mean, who doesn't have a long list of negatives?!

I've also realized that those so-called negatives, were more just differences.  I think I was very afraid of differences before.  Different, in my mind, equalled bad.  Now, I'm starting to realize that most problems stem from people struggling with how different personalities interact.  Some people do things so differently, but that doesn't make it wrong.  It doesn't mean I have to pick them apart or get flustered by them.

When my attitude changed, the way I interacted with them changed, too.  People that once drove me nuts, seemed completely fine.  Not to say those people will be my closest friends, but I can not only be around them, but enjoy our interactions.  It's been nice and actually, quite freeing.

6)  I need exercise.

Yes, everyone knows this, but for a good five months this year, I forgot about it.  I just wasn't interested and instead of doing metaphorical growing, I did some actual growing.  It hasn't been pretty, friends.  Getting back into it has been hard, but well worth it.  I'm already feeling better about myself and my health.  It will probably take awhile for me to start actually seeing the changes, but my mind is getting there.

7)  Not everyone is going to like me.

This is a hard one for someone with my personality to accept.  I absolutely would love it if every last person in the world liked me, but that's just not going to happen.  Doesn't mean I have to stop trying.

8)   I want to be a Champion!

Not like some athletic one, although, that would be awesome, too.  What I mean is a champion friend.
I learned about the "Champion" this fall, when I was working with a few friends on a worship we were doing for the girls' dorm students at Fletcher Academy.  We were reading the book, "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman.  It's a wonderful book that I would recommend to any mother of girls or really, any woman!  She explained the types of friends there are (Queen Bee, Sidekick, Gossiper, Target, Banker, Etc.).  Although, we were teaching the girls, I learned a lot, too.  From reading the descriptions, I learned what kind of friend I often was and what kind I wanted to be.  This year I hope to be a Champion--someone that is able to be friends with a variety of people in different groups, always building people up and bringing them together.  That's my goal for 2014!

9)  Not everything makes sense.

There will be some situations in life that I may never understand.  At some point you just have to give up on trying to make sense of it, and just accept it.

10) Growing is Good.

As painful, uncomfortable and scary as growing can be, it sure is worth it.  I truly believe that the Lord has used situations in my life to help me see where He's wanted me to change.  He wants our lives to be the happiest they can be, and sometime we have to do some growing in order for that to happen.

Actually, I just thought of another, so let's make it my top 11.

11)  Life is better with a good vacuum.  

I really didn't realize it, until right before Christmas my vacuum officially bit the dust.  It actually started on fire and I finally knew it had seen it's last day.  To be honest, it probably should have been retired 3 years ago.  It was so hard to push and barely picked up anything.  Anyway, Mark surprised me with a new vacuum for Christmas and I couldn't be more excited.  I love vacuuming now!  I can't believe I actually wrote that.  I'm so old!!!

Wow, lots of lessons, huh?  Happy New Year to you!  I look forward to continuing our journey of learning and growing together!

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