I love the new year and the way it provides the opportunity to reflect on the past year and make plans for the year to come (maybe the teacher in me?).
This was yet another transition year for our family, as we moved across the country in April from Chicago to Colorado. It was a long time coming, so it was a welcome transition.
In addition to some practical media discoveries my husband and I made, I also made some personal discoveries in the areas of friendships, spirituality and writing.
Though this was not a new thought to me, it has continued to bother me that it is so difficult to make friends when you're in your 30's. Truth be told, my friend-making problems began when I moved back from China and had serious reverse culture shock, then turned around and got married and had two kids right away. "The Narrowing" isn't exactly conducive to forging strong new friendships. But as making friends has always been relatively easy for me, I think it's surprised me that it no longer comes naturally.
So I think my major take-away from this year is that friendships take work. So basic, but so essential to grasp. They aren't just going to "happen" any more the way they did when I shared a desk with my lab partner every day or did a weekly ministry with the same people. Now, my conversations are fragmented at best and my time without kids is infrequent, and yet I NEED girlfriends just as much as before.
I am still figuring this one out, but I'm realizing I need to put more effort into relationships and stop expecting them to just happen. More thoughts on this in future posts.
This year, I think I have finally been able to admit that I am a spiritual perfectionist. But I can't just expect to meet with God the way I did when I was single or before I had children. I need to let go of the expectations I put on myself for what is "spiritual."
Because I didn't have my first child until I was 33, I think it's been especially difficult for me to accept that I will not have my mornings to meet with God quietly as I always did. I need to embrace connecting with God in other ways. God's love for me is not contingent on how many hours a week I clock in reading my Bible or praying. In fact, if anyone expects less of me in this season of life--and loves me for it--He does.
On September 30, 2015, I heard about this little challenge called #Write31Days. The idea is that you pick one topic and write about it every.single.day. for 31 days straight--starting October 1st. I had revived this blog just a few months before (and when I say revived I really mean started since not a person other than my husband knew it existed). And I can't explain it, but I felt compelled to write. I knew right away that I had to write about my experience transitioning back to America after living in China (called "re-entry"). I had always wanted to begin writing, but never felt like it was the right time, but this urge was unmistakable.
So I wrote. For 31 days straight. My husband was amazing and so supportive. He was understanding of the freezer leftovers and take-out dinners, the piles of laundry in the den and the dirty bathrooms. He did then and still does read every post before I share it. He is my greatest encourager.
The words that come to mind when I think of those days of churning out posts and hashing out a very traumatic time in my history are healing and exhilaration.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me, but I had never invited anyone else into my emotional sphere the way blogging has forced me to do. And it freed me in ways I'm still trying to understand. The exhilaration came in the moments where my words touched even one person that I never met before.
It's given me a forum for processing the confusion of returning
overseas after feeling truly called to be a missionary. It's given me
the opportunity to reflect on what God is doing in my life right now as
a wife and mother. And it's brought me into contact with amazing
women I might never have known if it weren't for this mysterious
I think it's ironic that I wrote about
wasted gifts in one of my early posts, confronting the feeling like I'm wasting my education and Chinese language skills by staying home with
children in America right now. Yet it's exactly these
circumstances that have provided an opportunity to finally pursue this urge to write.
And I love it.
What about you? What kinds of personal discoveries did you make in 2015?
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Labels: 2015 discoveries, friendship, Spiritual Lessons, writing