At this time last year, I as I thought about 2010, I had so much gratitude for the blessings God had given me that year. And so much weariness. 2010 was so hard. But so good, with so much personal growth. I remember praying and fasting (seriously) in gratitude for my blessings and God's hand in my life, and also in supplication for 2011 to be a little bit of a rest. I honestly remember praying for "a short break." Just some down time before the next roller coaster began, whatever that meant.
And the Lord laughed.
Not in a bad, mean-spirited way. But I honestly think He thought, "Oh, sweet Nicole. You are so cute." Maybe he giggled, just a little, at His daughter's short sighted request. And then He promptly pressed Go on the next roller coaster. And I set off at full speed, kicking and screaming.
Things I learned in 2011, and will more than likely continue to learn in 2012:
1. I never knew how to date in a healthy way. What?? You mean as soon as a boy kisses me, that doesn't necessarily mean we are exclusively dating, and I shouldn't start thinking about whether I will marry him? Or freaking out because I don't know if I want to? Woooops..... I am actually kind of embarrassed to admit this. (Girls, don't pretend you didn't do the same thing. I know you. I am just being honest here). Also, please don't think I went off the dating deep end after my divorce. That did not happen. But, as dating became part of my life again, I realized I had MUCH to learn. Hence, #2 on my list...
2. Casual Dating exists. And I need to exist with it.
3. My level of anxiety is directly correlated with what I want to control, and I am usually trying to control things I can't. So get over it. Let it go. (I will be working on this the rest of my life).
4. For every step I take closer in my relationship with God, for every increase in faith I experience, the Adversary takes an equal step in his efforts to drive me further away.
5. I have not been nearly as honest with myself, or with others, as I always thought I was. My apologies. I am working on it.
6. Worrying and obsessing never solve anything. Ya think??
7. There is great beauty, strength, and liberation in holding a boundary.
8. Sometimes I go through trials and frustration because the Lord just needs me to be humble, already. And to acknowledge His hand in my life.
9. My talents are not my own. They are from Him. And He can compromise them at will if I need to have that experience for my good.
10. I depend too much on black/white, needing to know the end from the beginning. Sometimes, the gray areas are exactly where I need to be.
11. I am terrified to step into the dark.
12. My parents are quickly becoming old. The senior moments I have witnessed while living at home have been life-enhancing, to say the least. For me, that is.
13. Have I mentioned dating again? It's weird.
14. I learned this in 2010, and continued to learn it over again in 2011. I have to give my whole heart and will to God. I had always thought I could do that. I had no idea what it really meant until last year.
15. If Heavenly Father says No, it is because He has something better for me in mind. That knowledge is really helpful to healing in many situations, large and small.
16. As cliche as is sounds, healing really IS like peeling an onion. When one layer is off, there is another layer just waiting for me. Sometimes those layers are tasty and wonderful; sometimes all they do is make me cry as I do the peeling.
17. My therapist has super powers.
18. In many ways in my life, I have not honored myself. I hope I left that character default in 2011.
19. I can heal. I can be whole. I can be happy.
20. The Lord's hand is in my life, every day. In ways I never expected. And He has a definite plan for my happiness, if I let Him guide my life. I know that now like I didn't before. It makes me feel like the other times in my life when I said "God's plan" have all been lip service. They haven't, really. But the understanding I have now, though still very imperfect, has a clarity to it that was not with me before.
I am sure there are more, and maybe it will warrant another post, but I will stop now.
With that, have a wonderful 2012, everyone. May we all continue to learn. I, for one, have learned to NOT ask God to give me a rest break. I left that request conspicuously OUT of my prayers at the New Year. If God is going to pat me on the head and put me somewhere, He will have to do it without any prodding from me.