Sixteen Life Lessons I Learned in 2016

***This post came from my previous site therefore it is a little off date wise. It is still a very good read, just ignore the dates. You’ve been warned. You may continue now.

We have officially made it through 2016–aka the year we wish we could all forget. From what I’ve gathered, I am under the impression that 2016 was not a good year for anyone, including myself.

Were there some good parts? Absolutely! But overall, I’m reluctant to say that the negative outweighed the positive…just a little. It was like a storm that just wouldn’t let up.

Through it all, though, I learned some very valuable (and hard) life lessons I’d like to share with you here today. 2016 might have been tough, but with God on my side I’m tougher.

1. The right decision isn’t always the easiest decision.

Musicians sing about it, speakers talk about it, and today I’m writing about it because as cliche as it sounds, it is unbelievably true.

2. If you want God to speak to you, you must make time to listen to Him.

This one was a tough lesson to learn, but a necessary one all the same. Beginning of the year I was faced with a tough choice and I desperately needed God’s guidance, but to hear Him I had to make time for Him and that was no easy task. When I finally took the time, God answered my prayer.

Just goes to show that you have the time if you choose to prioritize what really matters to you.

3. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Yes, I realize this is a Harry Potter quote, but it’s a good quote nonetheless. This year seemed to be drenched in darkness, but happiness is still out there. You will find what you look for so choose to look for the light. It’s not easy, but it will make all the difference in your life.

4. True friends are really, really hard to come by.

When you’re going through a low spot you’ll learn quickly who your true friends are and who are only around to use you, but think of it this way: the people you’re losing are only creating space for the people God will send to you. And it is those people you should focus your energy on making space (and time) for.

5. You are in complete control of your life.

Now I’m not talking about dissing God to do your own thing. I don’t suggest that. What I mean is that you can choose how your life turns out. You have the power to be proactive in creating the life you want, with God’s guidance. Together, you’re an unstoppable team!

6. Don’t rely on people to treat you right.

People will fail you again and again. It’s what we do. We’re flawed. But don’t let people’s shortcomings steal your happiness. Again, you’re in control of your life–with God. Do you’re very best to forgive those that sin against you and keep on carrying on. Remember, Jesus died on the cross for all of us.

7. Smiling really does lift your spirits.

It won’t cure all your ailments, but as I like to say, a smile a day helps keep the devil at bay.

8. God hears your prayers.

God may seem elusive sometimes, but I promise you He hears every prayer and sees every tear that you cry. He is there with you, always. Nothing can rip you from Him.

9. Don’t dwell on your past, you can’t change it or wish it away.

The past is the past, you can’t change it no matter how hard you try. Besides, your future's so much brighter than anything you leave behind! God normally won’t take away your double scoop rainbow ice cream with sprinkles for a single scoop vanilla. He’s a good Father.

10. Nature can cure almost anything.

Sad? Go for a hike. Angry? Go for a hike. Happy? Go for a hike. Moral of the story: go for a hike. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

11. A year can only last 365 days.

At the end of the day, a year can only last so long. No matter how good or bad it might be, in 365 days you get the chance to do it all over again.

12. Your identity is in Christ alone.

For nearly ten years my identity was an athlete, a volleyball player. I focused so much on that aspect of my life that it’s what I became. It’s how I saw myself. When that was gone I had to completely reevaluate who I was. I had let my identity become skewed, but when I put my identity back in Christ everything shifted. When God is first, everything else will fall into place.


13. Learn to declutter EVERYTHING.

Life can get ridiculously cluttered sometimes. When you go through a rough patch it can be so easy to let your clutter, personal and otherwise, grow to an unmanageable amount. Take the time to reevaluate what’s important and what isn’t. When you simplify your life, you can start to refocus your attention on what’s important.

14. Pursue your interests, whatever they might be.

Life is far too short not to pursue your interests. God places certain desires on your heart, don’t be afraid to step out and pursue them.

15. Your family loves you.

No matter what you might think, your family loves you and supports you. It’s what they do.

16. God holds the whole world in His hands.

This year has been a doozy. There’s been multiple times were I’ve felt completely out of control and helpless. I see and endure news report after news report on children being shoot, terrorist attacks, bombings. We are more divided than ever. The world is in shambles, but God hasn’t forgotten about us. He holds the whole world in His hands. Nothing that has happened this past year hasn’t gone through His hands first.

2016 has shaken us to our core, but our God is above it all. He will not be shaken. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year as I’m sure you have for yourself. Some crazy things have happened in the world, but I’m choosing to keep the faith. God sees us.

I pray that as we enter 2017 that we set aside our differences and band together as children of God. These are trying times, but the sun will shine again.

I hope you enjoyed this list and if you have anything to add, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!