5 lessons I learned in 2021
"Never stop learning because life never stops teaching." - Anonymous
2021, like 2020, was a year full of accomplishment, joy, and a lot of change. By far, this year was the most action-packed year for my personal life.
I got married, moved (twice), started a business with my wife, continued my graduate studies, dealt with all of the covid complexity at work, and even obtained a dog!
In short, a ton happened this year. And with lots happening comes lots of lessons learned. Because I’ve always felt if I’m living then I ought to be learning.
As a result, these are five lessons I learned in 2021:
1. Control the controllables. Specifically, when it came to working in a church throughout the pandemic I had to learn to control what I could control and let go of things that I could not.
Depending on the state of our country, there would be weeks where a ton of people would be at church causing me to think, "We're back! It's only up from here."
This was followed by a week in which Covid rates increased and we would drop right back down in attendance.
After months of this, I had to come to grips with the fact that I couldn't control some aspects of attendance. As a team, we had to focus on things we could control. Such as the program we provided and the community we cultivated, but trust God with the rest.
2. It's not about me. I have learned this in bits and pieces throughout my life. But this process was expedited when I got married. I realized very quickly that life isn't just about me and my desires.
I was told by a co-worker, regarding my marriage, that "the single guy has to die."
I have had to learn to put others first, starting with my wife. This is a work in progress for me, but I am getting there!
3. You'll never regret impacting people in a positive way. Slightly tethered to the previous lesson is this idea of always loving people in an intentional way. When in doubt, work to change somebody's life.
For me, I tend to become so systematic and focused on specific goals that I forget that loving God's people is the most important thing I could ever do.
Whether it be financial help, encouragement, or just time out of the day, make the sacrifice and impact someone.
4. Empower others. It's hard for me to admit this but I have a toxic tendency to be a control freak. I like things done a certain way and it's difficult for me to trust someone else to do it right.
This year I have learned that doing everything myself not only is exhausting and impossible, but it robs others of fulfillment. It steals away the potential for them to showcase their passion for something.
Even if it's something I can do, it's always better to invite others into it. God spread out the giftings for a reason.
5. Do what you love and don't settle for less than that. This sounds cliche but I'm serious. Life is too short to be in a vocation that you hate or aren't passionate about.
It's not even unrealistic advice. It just takes work, intentionality and some serious reflection to figure out what God put you on this Earth to do.
It's easy to settle for a job that you're just okay with. There's no difficulty in doing that. Set bigger goals for yourself and go after what you were born to be.
Those are the lessons. 2021 has been a crazy, but incredible year. Looking forward to 2022 and the lessons it has to offer as well.