Honestly, I can't believe that there are less than 2 hours left of 2017. Probably like most, there have been plenty of ups and downs this past year, but I am not going to reflect on coulda, woulda, shoulda. I am going to end this year by reflecting on how I've grown in a few aspects of my life.
Courage: Merriam-Webster defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty." This year I've had the courage to not give up when I very easily could have, the courage to take on a new job that was completely out of my comfort zone and the courage to open myself up on this blog to those who know me and those who don't.
Confidence: I came to the realisation early in the year that people in my life were dramatically influencing my self-belief, not in a good way either. Not that it's been easy, I've begun to have a "I'm-ok-with-that-person-not-liking-me" attitude.... and, boy, is that freeing! WHY in the world have I wasted so many years trying to impress people that I really don't like either. I will only fight so long to keep a friendship alive; it either is or isn't.
I love writing this blog; I love sharing my thoughts about my money-saving mindset in the hopes that it helps someone. It's my creative outlet. Some people write music or paint amazing paintings or sew quilts. Not me; this is how I'm creative AND completely practical. I've noticed that whenever I go to discuss this blog with anyone, there's suddenly dead silence. Ok... I don't exactly know what to think about it, but honestly, I don't care... much. I do care what my readers think about this blog, but honestly, if someone doesn't like it or I write something that offends them (though I seriously don't intend to do that) and they decide to stop reading it, fine by me.... all the best to them.
"Lauren, that's just weird." Yep, that's weird, I'm weird... I don't do what's "normal". My confidence has led me to go against the grain - it's not normal to save, it's not normal to budget, it's not normal to voice "one's" opinion about life and living. What's "normal" is to have debt, buy things to impress others and to live in the moment. My life may be seen as old-fashioned and hum-drum... ok, sure, if that's the way the perceiver wants to perceive my life. I hope to prove the contrary.
"No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else." - watch the trailer for The Greatest Showman here to see what I mean.
Contentment: For the past 2-3 years, the Lord has been working in my heart to help me to stop fighting the desire for different circumstances, better this and more of that. He has been teaching me to be thankful for what He has given me and to appreciate the "simple" things in life. A big... no, HUGE... part of my money-saving mindset depends on this idea of contentment...of having enough, of being enough, of doing enough.
In 2018, I do hope and pray that I will continue to grow in courage, in confidence and in contentment while also learning how to simplify and streamline my life to allow for what's truly important to me.
In 2018, this blog will change - I'm not exactly sure how, but I do know for sure that it will take a more biblical approach. For a few months now, I've felt the Lord pulling me to make this blog more of a ministry, an outreach. If this offends the reader, no apologies, I wish them the best on the path they choose if they no longer want to read this blog. No, I definitely don't know everything about life, the Bible or finances, but I know enough. I know that if I don't take this step of faith I will not be following the Lord's prompting. I want to walk along side you. I hope you continue on this adventure with me.