Wrapping up the year is not always easy. For me, my job requires me to do a performance review which involves writing up what I did during the year and commenting on how I met, did not meet, or exceeded my goals. I also have to write about how successfully I’m exhibiting seven competencies (behaviors) that my company defines as key to performance. Every year I dread this task because it takes so long – and this year was no different! The outcome of my efforts, however, turned out to be a nice summary of my accomplishments during the year. Writing my review also got me to thinking about 2016 in general and I wanted to write this blog about it.
One major thing that I’ve been able to do over the past year is to step out in faith to face some of my fears. In the past, I have been scared to try things that I thought seemed “weird”, do things that made me feel uncomfortable, or deliberately put myself in situations that I knew would be difficult. This year, I trusted in the Lord with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6), truly leaning on Him, and believing He would help me overcome.
What I found out by facing these three fears this year is a whole new world! Stepping out in faith led to key experiences that impacted me so much my life will never be the same. This year has changed me, opened my eyes, and given me joy beyond my imagination.
The first key experience I had was going to a prayer meeting and asking for healing prayer. Everything in that was nerve-wracking to me. I had to go to a meeting full of a large group of people, of which I knew one, speak up (a huge fear), and ask for them to pray over me. I also wasn’t so sure that healing was even possible. But I did it. And by God’s mercy, the disc protusions in my spine near the base of my neck were healed!!! I never thought that freedom from chronic pain was possible – even a Cortizone injection did nothing for me – yet, it was. I’m still amazed every single day when I can do things that I wasn’t able to do a year ago because of that injury. Not only has this allowed me the ability to be free from pain and enjoy mobility I lost, but my faith in God and His love for me increased so much more. It inspired me to dive deeper into pursuing God, and become more amazed by how much He truly loves me. It also led me to another key experience…
The second key experience of my year was publishing this blog. Prior to this year I was the kind of person that just shared a typical Facebook “Life’s great 😀” status about me. I didn’t want people to know what I was really struggling with. I decided I wanted to write about my struggles so others can know the truth – the truth is what sets us free! With every single blog I post I feel some anxiety about what people are going to say or think, and, I have to admit I even have had trouble sleeping! But, if even one person is inspired, feels comforted, or gets a smile out of this, to me that is worth all of the restless nights!
The last experience that was key to this year happened fairly recently. This is hard to admit but I’m going to do it! Before this year I never truly cooked; my version of cooking was making salads, eating prepared soups, and making sandwiches. Sad, I know. I always wanted to start cooking but every time I tried my hand at a meal the dishes wouldn’t turn out, I would end up hungry, frustrated, and feel like a failure. I have cried in the kitchen countless times
About two months ago I was so tired of eating the way I was that I spent half a day in the bookstore to find a cookbook that I thought would work for me. I finally found one that had meals that didn’t take an hour each to cook, were healthy, and promoted clean eating! The cookbook had a 2 week meal plan in it too, so that made getting started even more simple for me. I cleaned out my cabinets and refrigerator and never had so much fun going grocery shopping – except when it came time to pay. When I started cooking, it was a shaky experience. I burned the back cover of my cookbook, disabled my smoke detector because it went off too much, and even had to get stitches in my finger from a minor cut!
In spite of these incidents, I was finally cooking, and each meal I made actually tasted good! I felt so much better on the inside from what I was eating and proud because I made it. Now, I’ve really started to enjoy cooking, and although I still have some issues, it is a fun learning experience. My birthday and Christmas brought me some lovely new kitchen gadgets too which I’m super excited about and thankful for.
2016 was an awesome year for me, and I want to thank you for letting me tell you about it! Most of all, I’m thankful to God for allowing these things to take place in my life. As the Bible says in Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”