Looking Back at 2018 & Looking Forward to 2019

The moment I opened my eyes on December 31, 2018 – I knew my day will not go as I had planned it. I had plans to do 5 different things that day but I got a severe flu that prevented me from doing anything at all. It was so bad that even looking at my phone while lying down for more than 15 minutes was exhausting. So what did I do on December 31, 2018? I spent a total of 18 hours sleeping. I have never slept that much in a few years.

 

One of my supposed tasks for that day was reflecting on the past year and thinking about or maybe plan for 2019. It feels weird making plans for the future though… This is because, starting at the end of the year of 2017, I had unconsciously stopped making plans for the future. So questions such as, “where do you see yourself in the next blah blah years?” sort of put me in a panic. And I end up questioning myself with many things. Is it wrong to have no plan at all? Should I have one and see where God is leading? Or the doors He is going to close?

 

Despite all that, I still wanted to write a reflection of my 2018 and maybe set a few goals for 2019. And I definitely wanted my first post of the year to be about that.

Transformation will continue within you as long as you breathe on Earth and walk with Christ.

 

When I started pursuing God in 2017 the theme He gave me was, “Transitioning through 2017”. And I transitioned from a very bad place in my life to a better one. It was quite a big transition in my life and those experiences continue to remind me of where I was and where I am now. You can learn more about it on my 2017-2018 blog post here.

My theme for the year 2018 was, “Transformation in 2018”. I have transformed indeed into a better person. There were times when I was challenged with questions like, “Are you sure you’ve changed?” or “How can I believe that you’ve changed?” I definitely was at my lowest and was discouraged whenever those questions came up. But the beautiful part of it was, God showed me that what He sees in me, says and knows about me is true. He turned those questions into dust as He reminds me that He is changing me and transforming me continuously into His beautiful daughter. (Can I get an Amen???)

The theme for 2019 that has been in my heart from October last year was, “Transfiguration.” Quite a heavy word eh? The definition of transfiguration weighs heavily in my heart. I am still quite scared what it would mean, and what this year might bring. What I am sure of though, is that defeating and conquering fear will be something I will be doing this year.

 

Our bodies are not separated from our spirits.

– Sarah Suttles

 

Ever since this winter season started, I have been feeling sick. Exhaustion from fatigue and not enough rest was also a factor. And it has prevented me from doing the things I love. I couldn’t exercise, meet friends, take photos, everything! It was a reminder of how I have not been taking well of my physical health the whole year of 2018. I was pushing it to its limits, was not getting enough sleep for months and forgot to take my vitamins most parts of the year. I have not been eating healthy at all the whole year and have gained quite a few fat pounds. It was so bad that God kept reminding me of “taking a Sabbath.” And I ended up taking my Saturdays off from every single thing that has prevented me from resting. Efforts to live a healthier life will start from 2019.

 

It is never too late to learn, whether new or old.

 

This part, I have so much to share with you. *claps joyfully* I started learning more about what I am good at, passionate about and skills that I want to develop or improve in 2018 and I will continue to do so in 2019.

Drawing is something I’ve always enjoyed ever since I was born, but never formally learned in my previous years. So I decided to finally enroll myself in an art hobby class in November, 2018. I will continue to attend classes and explore other art techniques.

Riding bicycles was always so much fun for me ever since my father got me one when I was in grade 2 or something. My (gracious) friend gave me her road bike and I rode it every change I got until it got too cold. The adrenaline and freedom it gives is just amazing. I can’t wait to ride it this year.

Photography is something I’ve always loved. However, I sort of backed out in improving my skills. I am trying to be more motivated, go out and take pictures. Of course, I will share it on my Instagram whenever I do. 🙂

Writing and calligraphy are two things I am self-learning at the moment. Learning how to communicate more effectively through blogging (thanks to Yoast SEO) and posting regularly. Calligraphy has been mind-blowing. God uses this gift He has given me to create humble works of art for others. I hope to improve and make them into printable versions one day. For now, I am uploading them on my other Instagram account: @writewithji.

What I want to say is, it is never too late an old skill or learn a new one. In 2018, God told me I am also a creator. After realizing that fact, it has been more than a privilege to be able to co-work with Christ in my creativity.

 

Patience. Self-control. Escape comfort.

 

My very worst two traits (that I know of) is not being able to wait and lacking self-control.

I’m learning to be gracious and develop my patience, not just for circumstances but also towards people. My lack of self-control also results to lack of self-discipline. A great example to that will be this blog itself. Failing to keep my blog resolution last year of posting 2 entries a month, I knew I had to come up with something. I, five minutes ago, have marked my calendar with “Blog post” in 2 weeks interval.

Comfort however, I didn’t know I was experiencing this. There were challenges yes, but I can’t say I was not at peace or at peace. It was somewhere in between and it was close to comfort. I also can’t really say I fully understand this feeling yet but the word, “comfort” keeps appearing here and there and somewhat feels like it is imposing something important. “Escape comfort” and strive in the uncomfortable, most likely.

 

Knowing is the first step. Knowing is half the battle.

– Sarah Suttles

 

Oh yes, I’ve been quoting Sarah a whole lot the whole year and I’m sure I will continue to do so. I’ve come to realize that being aware of what goes on in your mind is very important. I am a type of person that focuses a lot on feelings and emotions. Dwelling on negative thoughts is a bad habit I wanted to get rid of. Using my brain and thinking with it is not really my forte. I’m just really lazy when it comes to using my mental energy. But I’m slowly changing that. Knowing the types of thoughts you have is already half the battle. Just like the first step towards something being the hardest, it is also being halfway there.

Learning to capture thoughts that are wandering towards unhealthy places is very important. It will prevent you from repeatedly thinking about a thought that might not be true. People love to speculate and judge, everyone does it. However, most of those speculations might be unhealthy not only for the mind but also for our heart and spirit. Being aware of what my thoughts are, where it has been and is going has proved to be very useful in fighting against the enemy. This battle is still going on but I know, it has already been won. How do I know? Because He says so.

 

Time continues to tick on. The sun continues to shine. Life around you goes and moves on. And so will you.

 

There were days when I just did not want to wake up at all. I would literally shut my eyes again and dread going to work. It was and at times still is, very frightening to face the day. I just wanted to stop breathing right then and there. But I was told not to give up. Everything goes forward, nothing goes backward. Every moment is heading towards the future and not the past. Like I said, everyday is a battle. Getting up the moment I open my eyes is the most difficult task of the day for me. But I continue onward, and I will keep continuing onward. My life is as important as the time, the sun, everything and everyone. I should never take a single breath of life in my lungs for granted. Maybe you struggle too, but I promise. It’ll be alright. Get up. Like I said, the battle is already won.

 

Other people are important, yes. But you are too. It’s not wrong to love yourself.

 

It was tough. I faced rejection and grew aware of how I was being manipulated by people, even those who are close to my heart. Most of all, I had my heart broken (to a million pieces). It was then when I finally learned that it is okay to love myself. That it is okay to take action and move forward towards a direction that will make me happy even if it means disappointing others. It is okay to put yourself first at times when necessary. It’s not being selfish but more of taking care of me to be able to take care of others. (If you get what I mean?)

Discovering my identity, learning more about my emotions, skills, personality and purpose are all going to be part of 2019 as it was since mid-2018. I am definitely scared at the moment but hope to channel this energy to excitement!

 

This post, to be honest has a lot of mixed feelings to it. I have been feeling this way ever since December rolled in and I can’t really comprehend it. I hope as 2019 continues on, I will be able to discover what this really is.

 

Of course, I still plan to maintain this blog. It is after all my main source to share my writing to the public.

 

See you in 2 weeks and until then, keep walking! 😉

 

FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS:

@walkwithji for photography

@writewithji for calligraphy

 

Photography. Writing. Emotions. Christian. Not the typical Live. Love. Laugh blog but I hope to bring some joy into anyone who reads my words and sees my pictures.

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