Man, it has been a year! So much fun was had, milestones met, new adventures embarked on, projects started, and was basically just an awesome year! This year marked a lot of personal growth for me. Stepping out of my comfort zone and following where the Lord had led me. I had gotten very comfortable with my identity being a large family, homeschooling mama. It was comfortable, it was easy, and I was pretty much fine with that. I had started to move out of my comfort zone a little, but it was still within my margins of comfortability. I was only mildly nervous to start a ministry, but I was still comfortable in it. I was very comfortable with teaching so tutoring wasn’t too outside my little identity boat I had set up. I had long given up the dreams I had of writing, speaking, and continued education. I figured I would just continue to do the things I knew I could do well.
Then my little boat began to sway, rock, and it was either try and stay in the boat or jump out and try to swim. I decided to jump out.
I got the opportunity to be the tutor trainer at several practicums, this was not to far outside my comfortability, but I always get a little nervous when it comes to trainings. I never think I’m good enough at being a tutor to train others to do what I do, but I learned through it that I am way harder on myself than I need to be. That my internal dialogue is not a reflection of what others see, or even a reflection of reality.
I was then asked to speak at a seminar on burn out for our women’s ministry, homeschooling mom of 5 may know a thing or two about that LOL, and speak at our women’s ministry retreat. This started to really push me out of my comfort zone. Going from training about 25 people to teaching women much older than me about the Bible just about turned me inside out. I swore for weeks I should just let them know I couldn’t do it, that they asked the wrong person. And like all things in my life, I took it to prayer and it was a big fat, “stop being a wuss and keep going”. Could I have done better? You betcha, was it an absolutely amazing experience? ABSOLUTELY! I learned that just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean it will actually kill you even if you feel like you might die, haha. And right before I got on stage, my mic wrapped around my ear, and the thought of high tailing it to the hills and becoming a reclusive nomad in high-waisted jeans may or may not have crossed my mind, I.DID.NOT.DIE.
I also went back to school this year, specifically Seminary. It’s been an amazing and challenging experience. There is so much work, writing, and reading, but I have the most amazing professors that challenge me to think beyond what I thought I knew, have given me the tools to read the Bible in a thoughtful and unbiased way, and to teach the Bible with integrity and truth, even when it’s hard.
The cherry on top was being asked to be the Support Representative for Classical Conversations over my area. First of all, I wasn’t even sure how I would be able to do it, then there was this whole part of getting on a plane and traveling to a training. Want to know a fun secret? I had never flown by myself. Ever. I know, I’m 30-years-old and have never flown by myself. But, to be honest, it just wasn’t even something that I longed to do. I don’t like heights and I don’t like being over bodies of water. I also got married really young, we were broke as a joke, and had all the babies in the first 6 years of our marriage so even if we could afford it, we had too many little ones at home. The morning I left, the drive to the airport felt like the longest drive of my life. I was afraid of navigating the airport, TSA, and basically all the things the airport entailed. But, I did it. I got on that plane, I made it to my hotel with out getting lost (I am terrible at directions and have absolutely no sense of geography. When people tell me to go north I’m like “do I look like a compass to you?!?”), and I made it back home to my people. It was actually pretty amazing. I learned so much, met so many amazing people, and I got to do something I had never done before.
Every year I like to pick something, a verse, an intention, something to help anchor me in the New Year, to help re-focus when I get overwhelmed in the day to day. Last year’s verse was Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares in advance for us to do”. Not only did this verse become something I clung to as I embarked on each new adventure, but it was also the verse I wrote my final paper on for one of my seminary classes. This year the verse I will be holding to is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for he LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”. I am so excited to be bold this year. Every thing I did this past year I did tip toeing and looking for my exit strategy. This year I want to bold step outside my comfort zone, boldly jump out of my boat, and boldly follow Jesus.
Now, tell me, qhat do you do for the new year? Do you do a reflection? Make all the to-do lists? Buy all the planners? Pick a word or a verse? Let me know!