My word for 2018 is Joy. I’m speaking in present tense because, well, this year isn’t over for a few hours. I did exactly what I set out to to do, and that was to fight for my joy no matter what came my way. I didn’t always get it right, but I truly did fight! Things especially got very tough for me in the last quarter. Mentally I felt weighed down but thankfully with support and prayers from my parents and good friends, I’m ending this year feeling more like myself. I’m in a better place than I was months ago, and I think that’s worth celebrating.
I’ve spent the last month or so really evaluating decisions made, my relationship with God, and the relationships I have with the people around me. I can honestly say that through it all, this was a year of growth and clarity. I’ve let go of certain expectations I had of people that left me feeling disappointed more often than not. I was reminded in a very clear way this year that communication is so important in any relationship. I understand more than ever that I am responsible for my joy and my peace as I move through life. I could probably write a book on it (literally) but I want to share with you five key lessons, some more like reminders, that I’ve learned this year.
Contentment is an inside job. As a single woman with no children in her thirties, I think people almost expect me to be depressed or feel less than because I’m not living the life they want me to live. On the contrary, I am exactly where God wants me to be. I am not living my life in a state of “waiting” on something or someone. I am unapologetically living my best life in the season I am in and if that makes people uncomfortable or if they don’t understand it, that’s their issue and not mine.
Disappointments are often the result of unrealistic expectations we set for people. Sometimes we expect people, whether it be family or friends, to show up for us in a certain way and when they don’t, our feelings get hurt. I’ve made the conscious decision to remove certain expectations off of the table with specific relationships. I’ve made the decision to forgive and to let go for me and no one else.
There is power in remembering where our worth comes from. As a writer and creative, social media is important but it isn’t the be all and end all of who I am and what my purpose is. Sure, likes, comments, and support in general are huge and much appreciated, but the goal is to have the same boldness whether there are two in our corner, or a couple thousand. I want to grow and evolve as a writer and content creator but maintain the understanding that my gifts and my talents are for His glory, and not mine.
Consistency is a necessity in everything we want for ourselves. Whether it be having a deeper relationship with God or getting physically fit, it will require discipline and commitment. Every single day we have an opportunity to put forth some level of effort in reaching whatever goals and dreams that we have. When we get tired or lazy or complacent, we can’t expect much from that. Without consistency and discipline, we delay our progress.
The community of people around you will suffocate your potential or propel you into the best version of yourself. I absolutely love my tribe. I love that they support me. I love that they are real with me. I love that they are praying women. I love that while we may not all be in the same season of life that our bonds remain strong. Moreover, the older I get the more I’ve come to understand and appreciate God moving people in and out of my life and vice versa. Sometimes it can feel like a bad break up when you’ve been friends with someone for so long and then you realize that there’s this distance and lack of substance that really is no ones fault but it just kind of happened. That’s life, and instead of being upset about it, I now embrace it.
While the lessons kept coming this year, I witnessed God do amazing things in the lives of friends and family. My sister opened up her very own salon. My friends (more like family) welcomed their baby boy CJ into the world. Friends started new jobs, received promotions, and started new businesses. People paid off debt, traveled, and leveled up in general! As for me, I met some amazing people (shout out to Tonia and Chandra), some of which were there for me when I really needed someone in my corner. I laughed more this year. I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa. I had the opportunity to speak at events in Nashville, Round Rock, Texas, and here at home in Houston. I LIVED and I kept going, sometimes at a snails pace, but I never gave on myself.
For the last couple of years I’ve came up with a word that would hold me accountable and also inspire me through the year. For 2019 I have two words and they are, Create and Conquer. I put a lot of work in behind the scenes this year to really figure out how I want to connect and encourage others. I must say thank you to my business coach Brittany Hammond for being amazing and really pushing me out of my comfort zone. We’ve made a lot of magic together and we are just getting started. Not only do I want to write more books but I truly want to push myself creatively and create projects and content that I’ve been sitting on. Some of these projects will not be released for another year or two but it’s time to put action behind my vision. It’s time to move boldly. It’s time to live up to every bit of promise and potential God has given me.
I pray and hope that starting today and as we move into a new year that we would be convicted of those things that are holding us back, that we evolve in all areas of our lives, and most importantly, that we would experience more of God!
HNY to you!