Cultivating What Matters: Reflecting on 2018

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As I sit down to begin my 2019 Powersheets, my heart is in a much different place than it usually is.

About a week ago, we lost my dad unexpectedly, and as I process that huge loss and what life will be like without him, my heart breaks again and again, and I feel uncertain and unsteady.

But writing has always helped me untangle my thoughts and emotions (my dad was a writer, too), and so I’m pressing forward with this process, very slowly, giving myself grace each step of the way, knowing it will be messier and heavier, than previous years.

I had reservations about continuing with my Powersheets this year, but I know my dad would want me to keep living life as fully as I can. He was always telling my sister and I how proud he was of us, and his confidence, belief, and pride in me is something I am carrying with me into the future and into this next year. I want to live in a way that honors his memory and all the things he did and taught me that have shaped who I have become (and will continue to become).

I started the reflective exercises prior to our loss, so reading through the blessings of the past year that I had already recorded is a comfort and an encouragement. I can see God was at work this year in beautiful ways, even though the year ended in heartbreak.

Here’s what I’m celebrating about 2018:

  • Intentional time with family (and lots of sweet memories made with my dad that I am treasuring so much right now)

  • Strength training and growing stronger every day

  • Joining my church’s women’s ministry team and speaking at our Be Free conference

  • Reading good books

  • Taking solo adventures

  • Getting pastel pink highlights — and adding more fun and joy to my days

  • Eating clean

  • Exploring new coffee shops

  • Fasting social media for Lent

  • Taking time for self care

  • Starting to dream again

  • Nashville adventures with my sister and a dear friend

  • Stepping into exciting new roles at work

  • Redesigning my website

  • God’s restorative work in me

And here are a few lessons I learned:

  • Sometimes, we need a quieter year (and the work God does in us has just as much value as the work He does outside of us)

  • This was my year of restoration — both within me and my trust in Jesus

  • God’s plans are greater, better, and more purposeful than the timelines we set for ourselves (or that society tries to set for us)

  • You will never regret making time to be with loved ones; and investing our time to build our relationships is one of the best investments we can make

  • I feel better when I’m eating lean/clean/green

  • Strength training has benefited me so much in all areas: physically, spiritually, and mentally

  • I want to date from a place of hope and trust in the Lord and not from a place of striving, fear, or frustration

  • The preparation in the wait is just as important as receiving the thing you’ve been waiting for

  • Being disorganized leads to unnecessary stress and distracts me from more important things

  • Stepping outside of my comfort zone leads to fresh perspectives, new opportunities, and fruitfulness in my life

I am not sure when I will be back to share the next post in this Powersheets process, but until then, I am wishing you all a peaceful end to 2018 and a hopeful start to 2019.