Oh two thousand and fourteen, you little stinker. You and I both know how I feel about you, but that’s something we’ll discuss in private later. Your one redeeming quality: I learned a lot. Probably too much. When I heard the Chatting at the Sky community was sharing what they learned in 2014, I couldn’t sit this one out! Here’s a list of 14 Things I Learned in 2014:
1. Sometimes, making space for yourself is the most productive thing you can do.
My last semester of college, I said a heavy “no” to a leadership position I, at the time of application, wanted more than anything. I don’t know which version of myself said no, but I hope she comes back to teach me a few things.
2. A stranger’s hospitality can change the way you view grace. (Also, AirBnB is awesome!)
Read my story about staying in a stranger’s home here
3. I love the color gray.
I don’t know. I just love it. My bedroom walls, formerly lime green and turquoise (both, because you’re never too old to live like Lisa Frank), desperately needed a makeover and voila-GRAY! Also, gray + coral= heart eyes forever.
Thing I didn’t learn in 2014: Is it gray or grey? The world will never know. (Rumor has it one is used in England and the other in America, but that’s like picking between Prince Harry and Tim Tebow…)
4. To love home.
For a girl who loves travel and thrives in change and new cities, living at home after graduation is the worst kind of punishment. But that’s what it took to make me relearn love for my hometown and to get over my ever-present fear of running into someone from high school.
5. God gives the best gifts.
This year, they were wrapped up in new cities, tied up with a perfect job and presented just when I thought He’d forgotten. I’m so grateful.
6. “Do a good turn daily” isn’t just for the Boy Scouts.
This post from my precious brother has changed me in the best way. Each time I’m angry about Kendall being taken from us too soon, I do a good turn for someone else and feel a little closer to him.
7. God doesn’t ask us to silence our sorrow in favor of thanksgiving. Rather, He uses our sorrow to proclaim a type of thanksgiving we wouldn’t be able to express otherwise.
Can I move this to number 1? Okay, good. I wrestled with this while writing a post for SheReadsTruth and it was the phrase my soul found rest in.
9. Personality tests are my favorite.
I’m an ENFJ, Enneagram Type 7 and my StrengthsFinder Top 5 are positivity, maximizer, developer, empathy and ideation. Please tell me what you are, or else I’ll devote my life to analyzing you.
10. Usually, the message God wants you to share is the one you want to tell least.
Still working on this one! #helpme
11. How it feels to included by another family when you live far away from your own.
This is something I never want to forget and continue to live out when I have a family of my own.
12. In 2014, “Ebook” autocorrects to “Ebola.”
No, I don’t know this from personal experience. Honest. (Okay, yes. Context: “Still waiting to hear back about my Ebola. Hoping for a yes!” Bless.)
13. Even your worst fear coming true doesn’t have to steal your joy.
Please, please believe me. Remember joy. Chase it. Seek it. Make it yours for the keeping. Or as my friend Ann Voskamp says it best, “Gloriously hijack every darkness with grace.”
13.5. Each time you write a blog post, Ann Voskamp will gloriously hijack the same topic and write the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard.
14. Blogging doesn’t have to be about me.
What a relief! I’m trading my soapbox for a bench-a place to question, celebrate and experience genuine community together. I write to know who I am, figure out who God is and to uncover joy in the depths of darkness. I post my writing because stories make me feel known, and if I can gift that to someone else, then it’s worth it.