Can you believe it?? Today is the last day of 2021! How in the world can that even be? I’m not one to wish time away or to speed it along, but goodness, I think I can say I’m ready for a new year. For a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. I think I’m ready for 2022. How about you, friend? Are you excited for the new year ahead? In this, my annual year-end post, I’m sharing some thoughts, reflections, lessons learned, and God’s goodness in my real life in 2021.
I invite you along for the ride.
You know I’m all about living a real and authentic life, right? This is the heart of my message. Because what’s the point of not living life this way? Why would we desire to live the lives God gives us in any other way? You and I get once chance to live and make the most of each day. We don’t want to waste it living pretend or fake or trying to be someone we aren’t. Right? No. We aren’t interested in anything else but God’s best for us, for His plans and His purposes for our lives. And oftentimes His best is better than we can ever imagine or hope for. Amen? God gives us life to make a difference in this world and for eternity. And living a real life, through the good and the not-so-good, we embrace all God has for us.
So, I lived a real life in 2021.
I’m guessing you did, too. A life that was not perfect. Because life never is. But, no matter what happened this year, I do believe you and I can say real life in 2021 was good. Even if all the circumstances at the time didn’t seem or feel “good.” Because when God is actively involved in our lives, and because He is good, we can trust He is bringing good in and through our circumstances. We have confidence in Him who is in control.
And I return to the verse I likely quoted the most in 2021.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG
Four words come to mind when I think of my real life in 2021.
They are surprising, interesting, uneasy, and transforming.
These four words encapsulated my year. I was surprised more often than not. God is full of surprises, isn’t He? I experienced many wonderfully interesting moments and blessings, all from His hands. His faithfulness continued to awe me and encourage me. It was an uneasy year regarding my roles in life, my attached identity to those roles, and the fears and unknowns I was forced to face. It was also likely the most transforming year of my life to date. God helped me release stuff from the past to embrace His promises for my future.
Through these four words my passion for my calling in writing grew. I stepped out of my comfort zone by attending the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference in July with a prepared book proposal in hand. What? Who me?? There God inspired me to launch a podcast three weeks later. He prompted me to complete the National Non-Fiction Writing Month challenge of writing 50,000 words in November. Thanks to this, the first draft of my book is complete!
Now the real work begins of editing, and querying an agent, and all the other book writing things for 2022. But I’m here for it and ready to take it to the next step.
Friend, what words come to mind for you when you think of your real life in 2021?
The biggest transformation in my real life in 2021 happened with my health.
In September I decided to make some changes, especially with my food choices. I researched and studied and learned ways to eat better. I followed health-minded people on social media who knew more than I did. And I educated myself on how food impacts everything our bodies do and how it determines just how healthy we are. For years my focus was always on exercise and staying active, but this food mind shift since September has completely changed me and my life. Clean eating has given me a passion to care for myself, and I can’t get over the difference in how I feel and how I now live. It’s been a new and exciting learning adventure. One I wish I would have started sooner!
What positive changes did you make in your real life in 2021?
My word for the year was CONNECT.
I’ll share more about that in next week’s posts as I reveal my word for 2022. I discussed it a bit in this week’s Encouragement for Real Life podcast episode. It was a year of connection, probably more than any other year I can remember. Connection with myself, connection with God, and connection with others.
Did you choose a word for 2021? If so, what was it?
How did it impact your life? How did God use it to grow you and encourage you?
Are you choosing a word for 2022?
But as with real life, it doesn’t always go as we plan, right?
I had big hopes to finish 2021 strong. I had beautiful dreams laid out in my mind of what 2021 would end like. With lovely Christmas memories and fun birthday blessings (which happens near to Christmas). But instead, we were met with a covid diagnosis on December 22. Both my husband and I.
I haven’t shared much about it until last night on Instagram. I’m not sure why, but if I’m all about living a real life, why wouldn’t I want to discuss this? Why would I avoid talking about it? Well, plain and simple, the answer is my pride. I think I unconsciously thought we wouldn’t ever get this virus. I thought my husband and I were doing “all the things” to prevent us from getting it. Especially after changing our eating and health habits. I was hoping we’d escape it or avoid it. But no. God allowed us to become infected just a few days before Christmas.
I don’t know why and I don’t understand it.
And the thing is, I prayed and prayed and prayed through the month of December, asking God to protect us and our health through the holidays so we could all be together as a family. Because that’s the greatest Christmas present I could ever receive.
But God had other plans. When it all began spiraling out of control, I was not happy about it, but what could I do? Christmas and my birthday came and went as we hunkered down here at home. Those days were a blur, as we were dealing with moderate cases of this virus, trying to recover and get life back to normal. (Whatever normal is.)
So, our family Christmas is still coming. We plan to celebrate in two days. And I cannot wait!
On Sunday we get to gather together with our kids and baby Nolan. We get to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a special way as a family. Even though the celebration is delayed, I am so grateful we still get to celebrate. God continues to be faithful in our lives!
God is so good, isn’t He?!
I’m so very grateful for my real life in 2021. I cannot wait to continue on this adventure with God in 2022! Thank you, friend, for journeying with me.
What are you looking forward to in the new year?
Would you pray with me?
Father God, as we close down the year of 2021 today, we give You all the glory. We praise You and thank You for all the wonderful things You continue to do in our lives. We are so very grateful for Your never-ending presence, Your provision, and Your peace. Lord, please guide us in this new year. Equip us to be the people You desire us to be. Help us to make a difference in this world and in Your kingdom. Help us to love others the way You love them. Motivate us to draw close to You throughout 2022. We love you and desire Your best for our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Friend, what words come to mind for you when you think of your real life in 2021? What positive changes did you make in your real life in 2021? Did you choose a word for 2021? If so, what was it? What are you looking forward to in the new year?
Answering the above 4 questions you addressed in the blog post.
The words that come to mind for me from 2021 are Open doors, adventure, growth, healed, courage, trust and faith. The positive changes I made in 2021 where I reached the milestone of losing 200 pounds, getting my right knee surgery (total knee replacement) which gave me my mobility back. I got out of my comfort zone and attended a very small writers retreat of only 12 of us up in Washington in October. My word for 2021 was RESTORED. and boy did God do some restoring in my life! I am looking forward to how God is going to us my new word for 2022 which is REVIVE. I also know I will reach my goal weight in 2022!
Teresa, thank you so much for answering my questions here! Wow, God did some amazing things in your life in 2021! What a perfect word for you, too! I love RESTORED! And I believe your word for 2022 will prove to be just as wonderful. I am so happy for you and am cheering you on in this new year. Praying God meets your every need and blesses you with everything of Him! God bless you in 2022!