What Are You Bringing Into 2014?

It’s December 31 and I’m sure by now everyone is super ready to bring in the New Year. Bye Bye 2013, Helloooo 2014! I mean who doesn’t love a fresh start; out with the old, in with the new.  But what if someone said, “don’t discard the old just yet.” I have been learning a lot about seasons lately and what I found was that each season prepares the ground for the next. In other words, the foundation laid in the current season impacts the growth or harvest in the next. This caused me to ponder what type of season has 2013 been for me.  

I’m not sure about you, but I’m an avid “journaler.” Almost daily, I write my prayers, more like conversations, to God in my prayer journal.  Recently, I sat down to read through some of the things I wrote to God this year, which turned out to be a great moment of reflection for me. Not only did it allow me to see what I experienced throughout the year, but also my growth as a result of my experiences. What I realized was that 2013 has been a year of pruning for me. Now don’t get me wrong, this year has been very rewarding. I met more people than I have ever met in one year of my entire life, I traveled to about thirty of the fifty states, I became an inspirational speaker, spoke to crowds of 700 people max {I’m still baffled}, managed a summer program {again}, became a better cook, started a blog, turned 25, etc, etc. But if I had to sum it up, I would still say, “it was a year of pruning.”

To prune is to cut back parts of a plant to increase fruitfulness or growth. This is what I felt like God was doing to my life all year. I was constantly placed in extremely uncomfortable situations that forced me to grow. I felt like I was being cut or if I was a stone, I was being chiseled. And boy, did it hurt? It felt horrible. God was using many of my experiences {rejection, insecurities, lack of resources, inadequacies, disappointment, and betrayal}  to serve as somewhat of a mirror for me, showing me much about myself; my character, my flaws, the things that were in me that He could not use. Therefore, they needed to be removed. So God took His giant pair of life sized scissors and He clipped away.

I read this quote by Florence Littauer that says, “the purpose of pruning is to improve the quality of the roses, not to hurt the bush”. This put things into perspective for me. With those parts removed, I could bear even more fruit in other aspects of my life and character. I see that all the situations that were not the easiest to get through, were probably some of the most memorable moments of this year. So now as I approach the new year, I don’t say, “ bye bye 2013.” Instead, I am saying lets continue together in our next journey. I’m taking the good, the bad, the ugly; not dwelling on the past, but learning from my experiences. Wisdom is taking what you have learned and applying it to your life. It would be foolish of me to leave that pruning behind in 2013 because remember more growth and fruitfulness follows the pruning of a rose. I know many people are writing their list of revolutions and goals for the new year. If that’s you, be reminded of 2013 and build on that foundation in 2014. So I ask, what are you choosing to bring into 2014?