January 1st begins on a Monday for 2018 and the perfectionist inside of me is so excited that a new year begins on the first day of the week. I know that NYE is a little overrated for some of you but I absolutely love it. I love spending the final week reflecting on the trials + triumphs of the former year along with things to strive for in the upcoming year (I also love that people use black + gold glitter to decorate everything for New Years). You can see a few of my 2017 in review posts here, here or here!

    If you were to get ahold of my phone you would see that the notes section is FILLED with lists. To-do lists, Christmas lists, a bucket list, a list of photography goals, a list of dream equipment, my 2017 goals list and now I just added my 2018 goals. So here are some lessons that I learned in 2017 - I hope you can relate! 

Lessons Learned in 2017:

     1. You are more than a number.

I just recently graduated from college. In high school I proudly sat in the front row of my graduating class as one of the top graduating students. In college I decided to take on a science major with a pre-med focus. I wanted to quit so many times but my Mom really didn't raise a quitter. Graduating from college was emotional for me for several reasons and when I left that stage I didn’t find my value in my GPA (which wasn’t bad by the way, but it wasn’t my high school one), I found my value in the life I lived during those 4 years. I grew up, I changed things about me, I strengthened my morals and I found out who I was. I am not defined by my GPA, I am not defined by the number on my student debt, I am not defined by the number on a scale and I am not defined by the number on social media.

      2. You are not everybody’s cup of tea.

I think this can be found on a cup or a pinterest board somewhere but it is so true. I spent so much of my life trying to be everybody’s everything until I learned that it’s okay not to be everybody’s anything. I am an extrovert with a strong ESFJ personality type so having a large crowd around me is where I thrive. I love listening to people, loving on people and being around people. However in 2017 I cut out some very toxic dead ends in my life. Some of these people, I completely cut out. Some of these people, I simply distanced myself from. It’s okay to plant seeds everywhere and weed out what doesn’t belong. Cultivate your grounds, there is a season for everything.

      3. It’s okay to cross oceans for people who don’t deserve it AND it’s okay to say no.

I’m still struggling with this one. In the same sense that I want to be the perfect person for everybody’s needs, I also want to be able to give them whatever they need. I want to cross oceans for my enemies and I want to continue to love those who don’t deserve it because that’s what selfless, merciful and everlasting love is all about. I also know how important it is to remember to take time to fill up your own cup. After so many weeks of pouring out onto everybody else, you leave yourself empty. Find some time for self love and don’t be afraid to say no. The biggest reason I believe in saying no is because once your cup is empty, your heart becomes a bit hardened and your patience wears a little thin. It’s important to refuel yourself.

    4. Everything doesn’t need a response.

Choose your battles wisely, every fight isn’t worth fighting for. I’ve learned to let go of things that I truly do not need to spend anymore time and heart on. Our days are numbered and our seconds are counted - spend your time promoting what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Some situations truly do not deserve your time.

    5. Your circumstances do not define you- your attitude does.

I went through something earlier this year that was so painful and scary that I still haven’t talked about it. I believe that God allowed this situation to happen for a reason and I believe that one day I will be able to share it as a testimony. I think that we often allow our bad days to determine the path of our lives. There are seasons for rejoicing and seasons for sorrow. A bad season doesn’t determine a bad life. Having a good attitude isn’t easy but your perception is your reality.