What I Learned From 2016 That I Will Never Forget

For me 2016 could be described in two words, unexpected adventure. Looking back on it, I loved 2016. I loved what the bad taught me and what the good did for me. I know that 2016 is just a piece to the puzzle. With that being said, here are five things I learned that I will taking with me into 2017. 

1. You can not run from your purpose; you can not escape it. Your purpose never stays in the past; it follows you wherever you go.

This past year, my life changed drastically in a matter of days. Just like an undertoe in the ocean, I could feel my life being pulled in a new direction. I knew God was transitioning some things in my life. I felt pretty clearly the direction he was taking me in, but I never knew how fast it would all happen. In a matter of one week, the longest relationship I had been in ended. My grandfather passed away from a heart attack and I was leaving a perfectly suitable job that I had been completely comfortable at. I realized that, despite great change and sudden discomfort, peace can quickly override your circumstances. I learned that life is not predictable and that no matter where you go, your purpose will travel with you. It's not tied to one geographic location, one person, one brand, one accomplishment or one dream. God has tied your purpose to you, not what you do or where you go. Keep your purpose close to heart. Don't give it away to just anything and everything. Things change. Your life may suddenly be traveling in a new direction, and when it is time,  your purpose will travel with you. Purpose is portable. It's okay when things shift and life gets a little intense- and maybe even a little messy- you still have purpose. Your purpose never stays in the past. If you feel like you have lost your purpose it...maybe you are the one that is stuck in the past.

 2. Say I love you more, even if it feels awkward. Tell it like it is.

This past year, more than ever, I had some really transparent conversations. Even so, there are moments I wish I would have said more. The last day that my grandfather was alive I came over to visit him. None of us had any idea he was going to pass away that night. He insisted that I come by. I didn't want to because I had some close friends in town but I decided to go anyway. I sensed an urgency in his voice. It was an unusually demanding request. Me and the family came over, we talked for about 15 minutes before I stood up to leave. I'll never forget my mom brought up some things that where transitioning that I didn't want my grandfather to know about yet, (this man would ask 783 questions about anything) but I decided to be transparent. I'm so glad that the last conversation I had with him was real and not just fluff. As I turned to walk out he stopped me and said, "If anything ever happens to me, know that I love you and am proud of you."  I quickly interrupted and told him to stop talking like that and reassured him that he was loved. There are a lot of people out there who just need to hear how you really feel and when the time comes you just have to take a risk. Swallow your pride and tell it like it is. It sucks living a reserved life, especially in regards to your relationships. Real friendships are only a result of authenitic conversations.  Say I love you more, even if it fells weird. Tell it like it is. 

3. Honor will build a bridge you can always cross.

If you are working towards any kind of goal in life you are going to face seasons of change - some minor and some drastic. You will be completely happy one day and God will shake your ship; he will wake you up and keep you up until you walk out on the water. God will call you to do what looks crazy to most, but in your heart you know exactly what he is talking about (this is the place of real peace). In these moments remember to honor the season, despite its difficulty. David knew he was going to be a king but he stayed in the field until it was his time. Samuel anointed David as king, then David turned around and walked right back out to the field. It is important to honor those who have invested in you. Honor will build a bridge that you can always cross. Honor those you love and honor those that love you, always.

4. God hears you, and he answers specific prayer requests.

I told God at 4:21 one morning, (actually I wrote it down in a journal because God loves to come through in the details), if he wanted me to do what I felt he put in my heart to do then he would have to show me exactly how to do it.  In a matter of days my life was upside down, and I knew it was an answered prayer. It was scary, but it felt good.  Everything I had written, every question I asked, it was all being made known. Through great pain came an even greater purpose. In 2017, I'll be writing a lot more in my journal so that I can better see God and his faithfullness. There are still prayers being written and dreams being dreamed because God is not dead and He is not finished. God hears you, and He answers specific prayers.

5. If you will just shut up and listen to people you will be blessed.

Listen to people this year. Whether it is the cashier at the gas station or a student at school, it doesn't matter. I have made it habit to always ask someone how their day is going. When they reply I always follow it up with another question.  Humans were made to talk, we were given a soul to dream, to create and because of that we desperately need people to hear what is growing in our hearts.  When people know that they can trust you, they will tell you more than you ever wanted to hear.  If you can learn what someone is dreaming about and you can somehow champion that dream - that is humanity. I was convicted earlier this year because I was unaware of my friends’ dreams. Make yourself available and listen to others hopes and dreams. In doing so, some of your own may come true. 


Cheers to 2017.

A year of Victory. 


Caleb Stanley3 Comments