December 31, 2021


What. A. Year.

Going into this year, my stubborn mind was determined to make 2021 better than 2020. And while it was a good year, it was also truly one of the toughest and most painful years I've ever had. It felt like a marathon (coming from the girl who doesn't run marathons) because as soon as I felt like the finish end was coming (aka smooth sailing), another obstacle would be thrown my way. It felt like a never-ending battle and it took a toll on my mentally and emotionally. I caught myself multiple times withdrawing from my friends (one of the tell-tale signs I'm not doing so hot) and I felt like the effects of the pandemic not only affected me more this year but the littles I teach and love, too. 

In January, I picked the word ENGAGE for this year (read more here). During my low moments this year, I almost wished I hadn't picked that word because God really did use that word to grow and challenge me. I used my voice and had some of the hardest and most uncomfortable conversations with others. I found myself more passionate about social justice and my cultural roots. I embraced all my emotions. I engaged in the friendships that matter most. And I've started to engage more in my personal life -- prioritizing my own well-being and self-care. 

Looking back, I am grateful that this year produced growth and a sense of confidence. There was definitely loss -- having to leave behind a community that I adored and a church I grew up in. But I also found myself more sure of my faith and relationship with Jesus. Less focused on legalism and more focused on grace. And I've come to find (and love) this new gentler version of myself. I see things through a more grace-filled lens and it's allowed me to be more open to the differences and similarities I have with those around me. 

I've grown and I've changed. And it's what I wanted and hoped for at the beginning of this year. I don't have regrets and I'm feeling at peace with what comes next -- whatever it may be. 

Did you have a word for the year? How did it affect/change/grow you? 

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall