Hey, friends. As this year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys, and looking back, I’ve started to realize how heartbreaking the destination mindset really is. I used to be all about the destination: winning, making perfect grades, being in the perfect place spiritually. I had reached the destination of who I was, and I pretty much only cared about reaching other necessary destinations. Even though I’m still a bit high strung (though no longer quite as strung out on perfectionism), I can feel myself beginning to let go a little more, in small ways, all the time.
One of my most loved lessons this year has been that authenticity is always more important than an appearance. Spiritually and in every aspect of life, it matters infinitely more that we are genuine in where we are in our journeys than that we have reached a certain destination in that journey. I like the idea that God never really cares whether or not we reach a certain point, the idea that there is not one goal we must reach to obtain entrance to heaven, God’s favor, or any other kind of reward. It’s not about staying in one place; it’s about sincerity to whatever truth you’re currently experiencing. I think God cares a lot more about all of us than to limit us to the same journey or even the same destination. Please don’t let yourself end your journey just because you have reached somewhere comfortable and familiar. Keep going, keep growing. You have to keep walking in order to walk in love.
The coming of a new year always brings nostalgic thoughts about one journey ending and another beginning. Sometimes there are other, bigger, moments that define where one story starts and another ends, and sometimes, because it happens so gradually, we don’t really notice the change until long after it has occurred. I think that parts of me change day to day, while some things remain from my childhood that I can’t seem to shake. So, this is very sincerely me, right at this very moment. If one day I no longer find these beliefs to define me, that’s okay, and I don’t need to apologize for once thinking something I disagree with. Life is supposed to change our minds.
I believe that little brothers are the most special kind of angel there is, and I believe that long hair is really quite attractive on boys. God is a lot less needy than I am. I believe that societal conventions control way too much of our happiness; New Year’s resolutions are pointless. Messy rooms are perfectly okay. The world would be a much better place if the people who went to church every Sunday served the least of these instead, and I believe that people can actually change the world. Being smart should never be more important than being kind. I believe that all people are good. Sometimes I don’t know how I believe that, but I do. I believe it with every single bit of my soul. The arts matter because they give a voice to the voiceless. Practicing genuine friendship is more important than reading my Bible. I believe that leggings are pants and books can influence your life. Coffee and salted caramel are my happy places; school supplies are my love language. Sometimes you’ve just got to let go of all the rules and be free. Education is important, but it is certainly not the most important. Grace isn’t something I can define in words; grace is embodied by certain people. And, every gray area should be covered with grace. I believe that babies and small children have the power to remind us of our humanity. God’s love is unconditional, really unconditional. Gap years are totally underrated. I believe that the best friends I have ever had never expect me to stay the same, and they don’t need to be at the same place I am to travel the road alongside me. Football players are home; old friends are sunshine. Bare feet make me feel alive. I believe that tolerance and compassion are qualities of fearless people. Anything that makes you bold, open minded, or kind is one hundred percent worth it. I want to have a big, compassionate life, and nothing is going to stop me because big heartedness isn’t something that can be limited. (Don’t ever find a reason to limit your big heart.)
So that’s me, right now, as one year ends and another starts. By this time next year, none of us will be the same. I hope that you live out such great adventures this year, and I hope your experiences teach you how to change with your journey. Thanks for being a part of mine; I wouldn’t be the same without you. And, I hope that, at some point, our journeys bring us together again.