At the beginning of the year, I prayed over words to guide me through the hills and valleys that this year was going to entail. The words I felt a calling to were persistent and persevere. And as tomorrow begins the last month of 2021, it seemed fitting to circle back to the moments that shaped this year.
I think at the beginning of 2021, everyone was very hopeful for a fresh start as the future was looking up with the hope for vaccines, travel, and life getting somewhat back to normal. While we knew we weren’t out of the woods yet, we knew the light at the end of the tunnel was becoming brighter.
2021 was a year of uncertainty, joy, tears, new beginnings, and embracing the unknown. This year has been the year of perseverance and persistence. As we all know, life is never going to go how we plan it in our minds. This year, one of the biggest lessons I have been learning is how to roll with the punches, which is something that is scary to do. But, living in a foreign country with constant change from COVID, the punches keep coming but I am continuing to roll with them even when I would rather not. Through the storms and curve balls that life have continued to throw my way, I stand as strong as I can, perseverant that better is in fact coming. But sometimes, being perseverant and persistent are the hardest things to do, and that’s okay (or so I’m learning).
As I am isolated from the life I am comfortable with in my hometown where I have known everyone and everything around me since I was a little girl, holding my ground and staying strong hasn’t been easy. While this experience has been one of tremendous growth in myself as a person, I have also learned that it is okay to not always have it together. A big curve ball was thrown at me as I finished up packing to leave for study abroad three months ago, and I am still processing through how to move on and grow from that experience. My friends here have seen me cry more times than I am willing to admit. I am not the type to cry or show little if any emotion, but something about being so far from my comfort zone has shown me that it is okay to trust people and bring others into my heart.
I am learning that you don’t have to always make it seem as though you have it all together. I am realizing there are other ways to be persistent and perseverant than building up walls as to not let others in. I am finding that perseverance, strength, and persistence can be portrayed through deleting social media, blocking people who are not bringing light into your life, letting people into the deepest part of your heart, and always remembering we have a God who is always there to hold our hand and guide us even through the confusion.
At the beginning of this year, I thought I would grow in different senses of these words. I thought growing in persistence and perseverance would make me feel more complete as a friend, a daughter, a student, a woman. But it took me breaking down every part of myself and letting those around me help build me back up through the perseverance of prayer, honesty, trust, and love to see that my persistence in staying true to myself is exactly where I need to be.
So, to the girl who is reflecting, remember the first post of this year when I invited you to pray over what the Lord is going to do in your life this year? Maybe it didn’t turn out to be as big as you thought it would. Maybe that diet didn’t work as well as you wished or maybe you didn’t find the cure to COVID (if you did, please share). But maybe it was through the little experiences in the day-to-day that grew you stronger and made you a newer, brighter you. We may not always see the big changes that are “insta-worthy” because sometimes the little ones are exactly what you needed this year. 2021 isn’t over just yet, so keep praying, keep looking for how the Lord is using you in the little moments and see how your perception may have changed.