I debated about whether I should write this, but I really wanted to share some of the things I learned through the crazy ups and downs of 2014. For the most part, it was a great year. It brought both challenges and blessings. I wouldn’t trade even the bad times for anything because I’ve realized that through it all, I began to better myself. Here’s what I found:
1. Trials are blessings. This is something I have to constantly be reminded of. It’s easy to forget that God will work everything together for good. It’s especially easy to complain, even though we have been told that we will face challenges in this life. But if we look past the problem in front of us and find a way to fight through it, we can learn from it. If you have the right perspective, you can let them make you stronger.
2. Happy is a choice. This is harder than it seems. Easier said than done, right? I am an anxiety-prone worrier. I have always had a tendency to let every little thing get under my skin to the extent that it ruins my mood — even when I know it isn’t a big deal or even an issue. I’ve been told to ask myself these questions: will it matter a day from now? a month? or a year? If not, it’s probably not important. If so, what will you choose to do with it? You are in control of your emotions; you can decide what state you are in. With practice, you can choose to be happy, and you can choose to be content.
3. Balance is key. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, make time for yourself, and absolutely make time for God. Most of these things I’ve had to learn through experience and trial and error. Now I know why balance is so important to physical and spiritual well-being. Being too inactive is bad for both your body and your mind. Being too busy can be overwhelming. Over-studying without sleeping can wear you out, and it’s certainly not helpful when you try to take that test the next day. Over-socializing without sleeping can wear you out, while not enough time with friends and family can leave you feeling alone. Not making time for yourself can lead to stress. Most importantly, not making time for God will drain you spiritually, whether you realize it at first or not. So learn to organize and balance your life.
4. Change is opportunity. I’m coming up on the last semester of my college career and I’ve been dealing with some personal challenges, so I’m going through the planning stages for a lot of big change in my life. I’m learning new ways to take care of myself and seeing doors open for changes that I didn’t think would come so soon. Change is not easy for me, but I’m learning to look at it as an opportunity rather than a big, scary mystery. Change can bring wonderful new people, places, and things into your life that won’t be there if you don’t open the door. Even better — if you let God lead you through those changes, they will be that much better because He knows what He’s doing when you don’t.
5. Life is good. No, life is not all easy. But it is good. I have realized that I’m blessed more than I could ever deserve — we all are! We shouldn’t take this life for granted, because it goes by so fast. You can use this life for good and it will be good. Take advantage of the positive opportunities in front of you, and be ready for new ones. Life will throw curve-balls in your plans (as I have learned many times), but if you realize that they can be used for good, and have an open mind, it will change your perspective. The best part is that you can use this life to prepare you to meet God in the next, and all of these things on the list will come together. Life is what you make it; it can offer you beautiful and wonderful things. Be excited to do life.
These are some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. Among these big ones, I’ve learned to do other fun new things, and I’ve learned to push myself to be better in every way. I haven’t always succeeded, but that’s what’s great about it — I can always reach forward. I’m excited to see what 2015 has in store!