Annual Reflections: Growth

As we come to the end of 2020, as with any year, it’s important to look back, embrace the year for what it was, learn from it, and look ahead into the future. Usually, by this point in the year, I already have some idea of direction, plans, goals for the coming year. But this year, I got nothing. Which, if you know me, is really uncharacteristic of me. So, I want to use this time to delve into how this year has impacted me, what I’ve learned, and any glimmer into the year to come.

As hard as this year has been, there have been a lot of growth moments as well. In fact, I’m still learning new things even at the end of this year about myself, life, relationships, parenting, and everything in between.

This year has forced me to slow down. At the beginning of the year, the plan was to join some classes at the gym, finally clean and organize my house, and finish writing a book. I got none of those things accomplished. But the truth is, I was busy maintaining my anxiety and my household, keeping hands sanitized and food on the table. I was a people pleaser who actually had to say no and set specific boundaries, and have those boundaries questioned and still have to maintain them. I learned my own limits and bandwidth, and how to work with those parameters.

I really got to know who I am this year. I realized my priorities outside of the influence of others. When all the other voices got quieter as we all social-distanced, I could learned how to my own voice. And I learned these things:

  1. I love my husband. This year, we grew closer. And it was hard and messy and beautiful. We voiced things we had been holding onto and realized that we didn’t always remember our history together the same way. But we are more on the same page at the end of 2020 than we probably have ever been.
  2. I love my kid. I don’t share a whole lot on the internet, but this kid is just amazing. I’ve learned what it means to love and parent and fail and try again and receive forgiveness and give forgiveness, all in this little person who lives life fully and completely every day.
  3. I’ve been holding on to a lot of lies. About my body. About my purpose. About my place in this world. About the expectations I place on myself and others place on me. I’ve been questioning a lot of things this year and growing as a person by embracing what is actually true in my life.
  4. I really am an introverted homebody. While I can carry on with small talk at the grocery store, I’m not a social butterfly. While I do have a few friends to reach out to, the busy social calendar isn’t really for me. This was the one aspect of the quarantine where I thrived.
  5. I don’t need to always have a plan. This was probably the biggest one for me. I would throw myself into all the expectations of a mother and wife and woman and Christian that I thought I needed to fulfill on a day to day basis. My calendar would be scheduled out by the hour. And then I just stopped. Actually, my therapist suggested a break and I realized just how much I needed one. I have learned how to take it day by day in a much healthier way.

Of course, God has been with me every step of the way. I am still so thankful for his grace and new mercies every morning. It gives me the curiosity and strength to enter a new year with slightly more anticipation than anxiety.

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