Lessons Learned in 2016

I hope you all had the merriest Christmas! I see this week between Christmas and New Years as an invitation to prepare well for the year ahead. For the past three years, I have used PowerSheets to take stock of the previous year and set new goals for the one ahead. My process has looked vastly different this year, as I am taking Lara Casey’s advice and making a mess within the pages. I’ve cut the flowery words, applied what I learned at Making Things Happen in October, and rolled up my sleeves to do the good work. Y’all, the work has been such a sweet gift!

One of my favorite steps so far has been writing out my lessons learned in 2016. This year was hard but it has ultimately been the most beautiful year, too. It has yielded incredible growth and equipped me with lots of knowledge to apply as I move forward. While I tend to lean away from reflective personal posts these days, I’m sharing these snippets today in hopes that they will be a blessing to those who read them. Enjoy!

Lessons Learned in 2016 - Rifle Paper Co. Wildflower Giftwrap


Lessons Learned in 2016:

— We really can renew our minds in Christ. I had heard this scripture countless times, but this year I finally realized its worth. We have the incredible gift of God’s willingness to renew our minds through prayer, the reading of His word, and letting go of that which was never meant for us to carry.

— The roots must be pulled. Prior hurts, mistakes, worries, and fears are best removed when traced back to the source and pulled at the root. This often takes hard work, patience, and help from trusted people, but it’s so worth it.

— Stress is never, ever worth it and it comes at a high price. I’ve seen it cost others their good health, relationships, success at work, and joy. While there is good stress that can be helpful in certain situations, it should not be a regular mode of operation.

— In all things, release control to God. Life is much more fulfilling when we stop trying to do it all on our own.

— God knows better than I do and His timeline and method might be different than mine.

— Good health is so valuable and worth fighting for. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and being informed are all excellent ways to invest in our health. The payoff is huge when we are proactive with our health and treat the source of any issues instead of bandaging the symptoms.

— Personal responsibility is not the same thing as control. It seems silly as I type it, but I used to think that assuming responsibility for my time and resources was taking control that was meant for God. Instead, I now see it as the privilege we get to have in taking good care of the things He gives us.

I believe we can learn so much from each other, and so would love to hear any lessons or wisdom you gleaned from this year in the comments below! 

While I benefit greatly from PowerSheets, you do not need to buy any products to prepare well for the year ahead. Lara offers a great step-by-step guide through her blog’s annual goal setting series.


My 2015 Goals

Y’all, I am really excited to share my goals with you today. The process of prayerfully searching my heart and defining my goals for 2015 was an incredibly reflective, gradual, growing experience.
I began goal setting with the first steps of my PowerSheets on December 31st. If you are not familiar with this tool, it is an incredible resource created by Lara Casey to help people define goals that are rooted in what matters most. They are currently sold out but will be back in stock in March. In the meantime, I highly recommend working through the goal setting series that she has graciously shared on her blog. Early in the month, she shared that February 1st was her January 1st. I found such freedom in that because it encouraged me to really take my time in working through each step, praying for guidance and direction, and really digging down to my core to set goals that I am excited about. Last year, I never finished my PowerSheets because I was facing a lot of unknowns with my back and I lacked the maturity and wisdom to see that I could have set purposeful goals despite my obstacles. Thankfully, over the past year, God has grown me so much and I feel like He is really impressing upon my heart to step into maturity and do remarkable (my word for the year) things.

These goals have been slow-cooked, loved on, prayed over, and thoughtfully defined. As of today, I have seven goals that I feel convicted to commit to. I have saved spaces 8, 9, and 10 on my PowerSheets, because I decided to focus on the seven that God has clearly given me for now and revisit the thought of adding more later.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13

Lara Casey Goal Setting Graphic - 2015 Goals1) Establish a stronger, more firm walk with God. Get to know Him intimately, grow a deep relationship with Him, make (and keep) Him my core, foundation, #1 priority, and necessity. Why? With God as my core, I cannot go wrong. I am whole in Him, fulfilled in Him, and find my joy in Him. He created me and I will live my best and most full life with him at the center. No other goal or pursuit has worth if I am not seeking God above everything else.

Jesus replied,  “‘You must love the  lord  your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O   lord ; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:10-12

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5

I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. John 5:30

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

2) Get healthy, strong, and confident in myself. Why? I want to feel my very best and utilize/leverage the energy and clarity that comes from wellness to grow and cultivate my giftings, be effective, and be ready to pour out into others. I don’t want to miss opportunities out of exhaustion or weakness that can be prevented by taking complete care of myself.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. Proverbs 31:17

3) Establish solid, full-time income doing work I am crazy passionate with and for. Why? I feel called to do remarkable work. My heart is very much set on doing hard, purposeful work. My time will be invested in something I believe in and I will be providing for myself out of the use of my giftings. It’s time to be brave.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

4) Create and produce/establish a portfolio (or portfolio-esque) reflection of my creative heart that effectively communicates my discerning eye, passions, and giftings. Why? To open the right doors. To gain experience that will equip me to do my work well and to contribute to something meaningful.

She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. Proverbs 31:18-19

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them… Romans 12:6

5) Grow in character and step into maturity. Do not be watered-down or lukewarm. Have consistency and follow-through. Why? I am called to do so. This will make me a more effective young woman, leader, worker, friend, daughter, and will prepare me for when God calls me to marriage.

… Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Titus 2:7

6) Bring order to my resources and finances. Be a good steward or what God has given me and bless others through that. Be prayerful and obedient with spending. Why? I don’t want to be selfish or wasteful. I want to be secure and prepared for whatever God calls me to do and to not be thrown off by unexpected demands and expenses.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27

7. Cultivate and tend to community. Love on others, show people Jesus, and celebrate doing life with the people God has placed in my life. Why? We are instructed in scripture to love others and serve them. Relationships grow with tending love and care.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

Friends, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and take purposeful action this year. I feel so good about 2015!

kylamarymonogramImage courtesy of Lara Casey