So, we're in the last few hours of 2017 and my what a year it has been! I'd say that for me it has been a stabilising year; no fireworks but no downfalls either. I'm not complaining however because it was much needed after last year which was not the best for me. Below are some of the things I learnt.
Honesty is always the best policy
Really. It is. It does not matter how hard it may be to say it, if it is true and needed then it must be said. Delivery is of course important and one should consider how you say your truth but make no mistake- speak the truth regardless.
Expand your horizon
I've made the mistake of just sharing my blog with those I know but this year I realised that some of the best support I've received are from people who I do not actually know which is quite humbling. When you expand your horizon you won't sit there and be getting upset that friends aren't checking out your material or whatever because there's a much bigger world out there way beyond your known sphere of influence. You would be surprised to know who checks out your work. The 'Guess What' podcast team covered one of my posts, which was pretty cool! I'm learning to network a lot more because if truth be told I've been pretty rubbish in that area and these business cards won't hand themselves out so I need to step up my game!
Keep the Faith
My faith has been tested a number of times and there have been times where I've felt like calling it a day but I thank God that I'm still standing. I often struggle with having faith when circumstances seem to suggest otherwise but whenever I look back I can't think of a time when God has left me out to dry. He always comes through and that alone keeps me going. I'm learning that taking my relationship with God should be one day at a time and slow progress is better than no progress.
I'm so happy that I've rekindled friendships with those that I've known for a while because when it's all said and done there is something about old friends. Sometimes we can take them for granted which is wrong. I've also strengthened friendships with people I've met recently and I can honestly say that I'm happy with my circle of friends. There's always space for new friends so watch this space ;)
Know what you want
It is so important to know what you want when it comes to relationships. I don't believe in beating round the bush and this has helped me in avoiding messy situationships. Yes, there is room for compromise but do not compromise your fundamental beliefs. If someone cannot meet it another person will. I'd be lying if I said I understand this dating minefield and to be honest I'm so over it. It's better to be alone than in a relationship where you're putting in more effort than the other party all the time. Do not in a quest to combat loneliness entertain what you should not. God sees the desires of your heart and in due time it will happen.
It's not been a bad year travel wise and I went on my first ever solo trip to Barcelona which was amazing! I also went on a much needed trip back to the motherland alone which was great before finally going to America for the first time ever- Texas ,to be precise. I'm looking forward to more travelling next year to countries I'm yet to visit.
Going forward there is one thing that I have promised myself that I will do in 2018- be my unapologetic self. For too long I've been accommodating others at the expense of myself and shrinking my being in the process. Ironically I'm understanding of the mistakes that others make whilst being so hard on myself when I make mistakes. Well, that is going to change and I will be more understanding of myself and not be so hard to the point of crippling myself. I make no apologies for being myself, warts and all and if me being my authentic self makes you feel uncomfortable then I'm not sorry- not in the slightest. I don't even want to have the 'fake it till I make it' confidence. I want the real thing and I know that with God on my side there's absolutely nothing that I can't face!
Bring on 2018
Let's say you meet a nice guy who 'ticks all the boxes', somewhat. He's a Christian, just not a 'deep' one but at least he's a Christian so that'll suffice right?
Now, I am not saying that if you are not a Christian you do not have morals because that is just not true. There are some awesome individuals who are cool, lovely and nice who are also not Christians. My thing is it all depends on what you place value on. For some, having a generic understanding of Christ, observing the bible and the holy days is enough as a prerequisite. For me however it is not enough. Every once in a while you might be opportune to meet such guys; he's lovely, nice, treats you well and is saved- just not that saved. He will be known as Mr. Nice. Here's my take on it however and feel free to disagree but hear me out first ;)
Mr. Nice won't wake up in the middle of the night to intercede for you and your family
Mr. Nice won't always take the initiative to start family devotions
Mr. Nice won't feel the need to be so 'involved' in church functions.
The list is endless but the summary is that Mr. Nice is just not enough. I've been there before and it can be so hard to disengage because you click on everything else but yet the most important factor is not there. I don't know about anyone else but I'm not a member of the 'Guide a guy to Christ' Ministries and I refuse to even check it out either.
Now, I'm not saying I'm looking for a Pastor because I'm really not but I also do not want to be the spiritual head of a home by default due to their being a spiritual imbalance. We are all aware of this verse;
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14 (Berean Study Bible)
We're quick to use this verse for those who are not Christians but I wholeheartedly believe that it is applicable to Christians too. That is not to say that you should feel that you have 'arrived' and you are the most spiritual because you're actually not. What it does mean is that sometimes you have to push past your emotions and your present state; think about your future children and if this potential spouse will help guide them in the footsteps of Christ. Yes, it's possible that people change negatively after marriage but at least you saw and knew that they were not like that before. If you've never seen a person strive to actively better their relationship with Christ before what makes you think that this will change after marriage?
I know it is so much easier said than done but Grace makes all things possible and even if you've made that mistake in the past don't dwell on it. Keep it moving and keep striving to be the best Christian you can be. It's not about perfection but progression; once you desire in your heart to grow in Christ it will happen.