Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Letter

Happy New Year, friends! I have a yearly tradition of writing myself a letter each year around this time to reflect on the year that has passed, and dream about the year to come. It's become something I truly look forward to, a time to pause and process all that God did in the prior year, a time to give Him the abundant praise that He deserves. And it's a time to embrace the beauty of a new year, the hope & anticipation that come with the unknown.


Dear Me, 

2015 began with so. much. expectation. Didn't it? From the get go, I somehow conjured up a plan that I was sure would unfold, and didn't give much thought to how I'd feel if it didn't happen precisely as I thought it would. Most plans in life I hold loosely, having learned from experience that things don't always go the way you think they will. And there's an undeniable beauty in that! But for some reason, the plans for 2015 felt so solid. Not from stubbornness, or from a stand point of forcing my hand. But perhaps from a blissful, naive, hopeful view that of course things would go the way I thought they would. 

Spoiler alert: they did not. 

2015 was a beautiful, wonderful, blessed year. But it was also a year full of learning to walk through unmet expectations, restlessness, and at times, disappointment. 

And for that very reason, I think it was one of the most monumental years of my life. Not because of the engagement, though that absolutely goes on the Amy Reed lifetime highlight reel. But because let's be real, life is full of unmet expectations. I see people around me dealing with them every day, from the last minute cancellation of lunch plans, the spilled cup of coffee, the scary health diagnosis, or one of the most heart wrenching, the realization that procreating isn't always as simple as you thought it was. 

In 2015, God taught me the immeasurably valuable lesson of how to walk through unmet expectations with contentment, a gracious heart, and hope. In 2015, He reminded me that His plan is always, always better. He showed me that dreams are beautiful, and it's okay to grieve them when they don't pan out. In 2015, I tangibly saw that God's dreams for me are bigger & better than my own. 

This past year, I fell more deeply in love with my future husband than I ever imagined possible. My gratitude for him & my family grew, and I come out of 2015 feeling insanely blessed for the people I get to call my people. 

I learned about the "word of the year" thing through the blogging community, and these past few years it's been amazing to see how accurate the word proves to be at the conclusion of the year. This year, I felt nudged to claim a rather strange word for 2015:

I felt as though I had been learning & learning, but now it was time to truly apply. To soak in the water as a sponge does. For what good would a sponge be if it never absorbed the water it was immersed in?

I hardly blogged this past calendar year, but when I did, there was a recurring theme of slowing down. During the months of slowness & waiting, it's almost as though there was nothing to do except ask God, "what are you teaching me right now? What do you have for me in this season?"

2015 was absolutely a year of not only learning, but applying lessons. I will forever be grateful for how God met me and molded me over & over again this past year.  

And now, hello 2016! Talking with PJ this past weekend, I realized how different this year feels from last. Perhaps it's lessons learned, or maybe it's just different place, different time. Whatever it is, I feel so much lighter going into 2016. I without a doubt know it's going to be a life altering, pivotal year, but there is so much less expectation. 

The slowness has followed me into this season, and I truly feel a stark contrast from the busyness that has marked prior years. I feel called to be present & purposeful. Even when life is busy with planning a wedding & preparing for married life, I feel myself choosing a life of intention over a life of busy. I pray that theme continues through 2016. 

I want to be intentional with my time, with my marriage (ah! I can say that now!), with my friendships, with my health coaching business, and with my mission of sharing Christ's love with others. I want to be a better listener, someone who shows up & is present and engaged. I want to seek God above all other things, and ask Him, "what do you want with my life?" 

I found my 2016 word through a hashtag on the screen while watching Demi Lovato perform at the New York NYE party. I read #Confident2016, and God and I had an uber spiritual moment (thanks, Demi!). 

The first book I read in 2015 was "So Long Insecurity," by Beth Moore. Reading that beautifully written thing was like a big ol' wake up call to how much of a grip insecurity had over me. I've seen progress since then, but I truly feel like there is so much more room to grow. 

I want to spend 2016 really asking God to show me what confidence looks like. Not just for myself, but because I believe confidence changes ev-ery-thing. It breeds healthier relationships, combats competition and comparison, and because I believe that true confidence can be found in confident faith. 

I want to know what that looks like. So 2016, let's pursue it. 

Considering it's going to start with getting married, I think this year is going to be a pretty darn good one. ;) Let's enjoy every minute, mmkay? 




Praying all good things over your 2016, friend. And if you happen to meet disappointment along the way, know that you are not alone. And know that our God is beyond trustworthy & faithful. <3