Finishing the Year Well

Finishing the Year Well

We are more than halfway into this beautiful season of Advent, and the year is coming to its end.

So how can you finish the year well? I did what Erin Salmon did here beautifully, following Erin Loechner’s example. Reflect on the year and see what went well. Recognize the good, what brought life and inspiration, the things you fell in love with. Make them non-goals — a part of your life.

Here is my list of the good, the great, the things I loved and found.

I found my place at church. This is not to say that I didn’t have a place before. But this year? I found my place — where God wants me, where He called me. I took on the position of being the Children’s Ministry leader. Our Children’s Ministry is a growing ministry, and therefore it requires quite a bit at times. But this is the place where God called me and He gave me the skills and gifts to do it. I also joined the worship team. This one God had to call me to several times before I said yet. I’m nowhere near great in my piano playing skills but I am giving what I can, and God is blessing us and our church through the beautiful worship these days.

I learned to see the blessing in suffering. This year has been hard in so many ways — family, friends, church, work. Very few things are actually bad; but they are hard. And when your life consists of many hard things at the same time, it wears you out. I prayed and discussed this with the Lord often. I also discussed this with trusted friends many times. But it was when I read Elisabeth Elliot’s Keep a Quiet Heartthat I suddenly understood it. That growing through these hard seasons? It can only happen here on earth. Because the next thing is eternity, and there are no hard things in there. There is no suffering in there. So this beautiful process of growing can only happen here and now.

I read more. You have also seen this in the amount of book reviews I have postedI love reading; I always have. But back when I was studying, it felt hard to pick up a book to read after a full day of studying. Now that I have moved on to working full-time, reading for pleasure feels so much easier. However, this requires being intentional as watching Netflix is still an easier choice. So I am making a choice and I’m being intentional about reading.

Other things that have made me happy:

  • Buying fresh flowers weekly.
  • Being more intentional with Instagram and connecting with people there.
  • Making time for friends weekly.
  • Going to bed early and waking up early.
  • Learning to make things myself — like natural cosmetics or jam.
  • Eating chocolate and being just fine with that.
  • Going out for walks.

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  1. I love the part about making reading intentional. I also have to do that. I am reading three different books right now, and loving all of them, but it is so much easier to watch Hallmark Christmas movies than sit down to read. I give you an Amen with eating chocolate and being fine with it! May God bless you in your Children’s Ministry leadership. I just stepped down from that role last year after being leader for 12 years. I am still our VBS director though, and that is becoming more time consuming as it grows, but such a blessing.

    1. Haha, yes, it really is so much easier to watch Hallmark Christmas movies. And those are good, too! Thank you for visiting here today, Angela, and taking the time to comment!

  2. This is such a nourishing and positive list. I’m so happy that you’ve found your ministry niche in your church. It sounds as if you’ve found a lot of goodness this year.

  3. How wonderful that you have found your calling within your church! I’m sure you’ll be awesome as Children’s Ministry leader and leading worship through your skills and heart. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. These are lovely reflections, Ronja! This has been a hard year for me as well, but I so appreciate your observation that growing through suffering can only happen here on earth. Once we reach eternity there will be no more hard things. Now is our time to grow through pain, but in the grand scheme of things it is only a blink of an eye. Such an encouraging and inspiring thought. Thank you!

  5. I love this idea of finishing strong even though the year has been hard. I am praying for you in it and taking encouragement from it myself. Thank you.

  6. So many good lessons here, Ronja. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on how hard things aren’t necessarily bad things. Holding on to the promise that “the next thing is eternity.”