5 Reflections from 2016

New Year

As we ring in the new year I always find it beneficial to look back and reflect on the one that has past. These are a few of my reflections. Hopefully you can identify with at least one and continue to reflect on how 2016 went for you.

 Set Your Mind To It

I have accomplished a number of things in 2016, all of which I am very proud of, but nothing quite beats graduating from the University of Virginia with my bachelor’s degree. To say the least my road to graduation was not easy or conventional. As a varsity student athlete, time was never really on my side and taking 27 credits in one semester was not exactly the typical work load. If I ever doubted my abilities, accomplishing my goal to graduate from the University of Virginia in 2016 was a great reminder that I am a lot tougher than I think I am, but more importantly that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. There were many days that I thought it would not be possible. Many nights of writing papers at 3am that brought my sanity into question, but in the end I could see that things were working for my benefit.

Change Is Good

I have a love hate relationship with change. When it first happens I usually cannot stand it, especially if it wasn’t planned by me, but somewhere in between I realize just how amazing it is. Through the many changes I have encountered this year (graduating, moving across the country, traveling to Europe, going to graduate school, joining a new team, etc.) I have realized how each experience has shaped me as a person. With each change came an opportunity to grow and further my knowledge of myself and the people around me. Sometimes you have to let go of good to get to great. Change has helped me see that.

Family Is Valuable

I feel like I mention this every year and for good reason. Nothing beats family! After four years of varsity athletics and internships that have both granted me great opportunities but plenty of valuable time away from my family, I realize more-and-more each year how important they are to me. They are the people who know me best, have my best interest in mind, and will be there for me during good and bad times. They keep me grounded and I could not be more thankful for all that they have done for me over the years.

Struggles Are Necessary

While 2016 was a year of growth for me I have to say that growing, like change, isn’t always easy. There were so many times that I felt like I was struggling. Many things did not come easy and hard lessons were learned along the way. But I’m a firm believer in the fact that sometimes you need the struggle or hard lesson to toughen you up and truly get a point across. I feel that every obstacle thrown my way this past year was and is still preparing me for what God has planned for my future. For that I am thankful.

Know Your Worth & Boundaries

I feel like every year there is at least one defining moment that causes me to re-discover my self-worth. This year there were a couple and without getting into great detail, I advise that you listen to your gut. Just like knowing right from wrong, you know when you are going outside of your own boundaries or when people are crossing lines that you have put in place. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and to remove yourself from situations that others participate in. Ultimately, no one is going to look out for you like you will. Putting yourself first, understanding your own self-worth, and creating boundaries are key to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself.

2016 was quite the year to say the least. With all the lessons learned, I welcome 2017 with open arms and with hopes that I can build on this past year.

 

Clean Slate

New Year

With a new year comes the opportunity to change things in your life. Now don’t get me wrong, if you don’t like the way things are going in your life you have the power to change them at any time. But with that being said, I feel that the new year solidifies the idea behind a new beginning. The holiday season has finally come to a close and it gives you time to reflect on the year that has just pass, the good times, the lessons it has taught you and much more.

Well just like everyone else, I did exactly that and realized just how much I had learned throughout 2014. If anyone would have told me at the beginning of 2014 my year would be as trying as it was I would have laughed because the first five months could not have been more perfect. But like it always does, adversity set in and it decided to stick around for a lot longer than I had planned. For the next seven months I struggled, academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually. While wallowing in my sorrows was necessary for a while, I eventually started to acknowledge the lessons that were being presented to me.

There is a common saying that goes, “Lessons don’t go away until they teach you what you need to know”, and let’s just say I’m hard headed because my lessons stuck around for a while. If 2014 taught me anything it was these three statements.

1. Good things take time.

Whether it is friendships, relationships, moving up at your job, anything, it will take time, especially if you want it to be of substance and special. My relationships with people from first year to second year have changed significantly, partly because I know them better than I did before. Knowing someone is something you simply cannot rush. Time moves at the same speed whether you are wishing it away or hoping that it sticks around a little longer.

2. You can’t miss what is for you, and what is for you cannot miss you.

If only I knew then what I know now. I feel that a large part of my unhappiness last year came from trying to make something out of nothing. Wanting things to go my way that I was probably better off without having in my life. This statement reminded me that I can only rely on the timing of God and that He is always on time. Also, it helped me to remember that His plan for me might be different than the plan I have for myself and that He is planning great things in my life but He must prepare me for them before I can receive. (Proverbs 3:5&6)

3. When you realize where your true worth lies people’s opinions of you can be looked at as exactly that, opinions, not definitions of you.

I’m still defining this lesson myself, but here is the best way I can explain it. If someone showed you a $100 bill would you want it? Yes. If someone took that same $100 bill and dragged it through mud, tore it almost in half and had it sitting in the toilet of a public bathroom (gross I know) would you still want it? Yes. But why? You would want it simply because you know the value of a $100 bill. The bill does not lose it’s value simply because of what it has been through, what it looks like and its current circumstances. You are that $100 bill. You don’t lose value simply because of your less than spectacular circumstances and you don’t gain value because everything is working in your favor. You maintain your value because God created you that way and nothing worldly can take away from that. (Ephesians 1:4)

With all of this being said I hope that you all can take these lessons that I have learned and at least think over them. Lessons are meant to change your perspective and it is safe to say that mine was forever altered in 2014.