5 things 2018 taught me

Here we are the last day in January and I am finally getting to review my 2018. I wish I had some great excuse for not having posted in a while, but a quote I recently heard from Chris Hogan comes to mind.

“An excuse is the skin of a lie wrapped with a reason.” – Coach Horning

I also wish I could give you some great story from 2018 of transversing the globe, witnessing baby unicorns descending from on high on a remote tropical island and a great epiphany to share from a conversation I had during breakfast with the Queen of England. But none of those things happened. Quite the opposite actually. 2018 was not a year of great outward fanfare, but of profound inward growth.

John Maxwell says it best….

 “Your level of success will never exceed your level of personal development.”  – John Maxwell 

While 2018 wasn’t necessarily a “bad” year because a lot of great things happened, I only hope I learned all of the lessons I was supposed to have learned. I felt a shifting deep in my soul in the way I view not only others but myself.

One of my daily prayers is from Psalm 51. I ask God to create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within me. Let the meditations of my heart and mind be acceptable in your sight Oh Lord.

In 2018, God found an array of unacceptable things in my heart and revealed them to me through a variety of multifaceted situations. Sometimes we face situations everyone is aware of; a death, a divorce, a health challenge. But many of the giants I faced in 2018 the world at large knew nothing about.

The biggest giant I had to face, was long held lies I held about who I thought I was or who I was destined to be. God had to prune my emotional intelligence and response to situations. I had to learn to battle the underlying emotional issues of how I handle finances,  how I talk to myself about myself. I had to surrender strong emotions of always trying to be in control and “fix” everything.

The top 5 things 2018 taught me

Eliminate emotions that do not serve a purpose other than to ultimately hurt you. Anger was an emotion I experienced last year on an entire new level. It would keep me awake at night. I would cry. Somedays I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. From family situations we dealt with to the political climate of our country, it was the perfect storm of events that many days left me baffled & heart broken. Not so much at the issues at hand, but the response of people. I had to take a break from Facebook. I had to stop becoming engrossed in political issues.  I had to learn to LET GO of situations in our family that I had absolutely zero control over. You know what happened after I let go? It stopped becoming such a focus for me and the situations ultimately worked themselves out, well for our family at least, can’t answer to that for the political realm but I definitely do not allow political issues to have the hold over me they once did.

Stop apologizing for who you are and the work you do.  Be proud & celebrate your accomplishments. I had to learn to do this both in my professional role and in my personal life. I think as women we tend to down play our accomplishments. I experienced the exhilarating feeling of paying off student loans. I had an article published in a magazine, Pentecostal Life. It still feels awkward to write that. Like, who me? Not that it was this great accomplishment, it was just very unexpected. I never would have thought of myself as being a writer for a magazine. But its changing your mindset about who you think you are and what you are capable of.

Set specific measurable goals, review them every single month & celebrate small successes along the way.  We started doing this in our finances and it bled over into my physical habits as well. Small baby steps are better than giant leaps only to plunge off a cliff. In 2018 we managed to pay off over $30,000 in debt and we are not far from paying off my 3rd and final student loan & being debt free (aside from our mortgage). YEA!!!! I have also slowly lost & kept off 20 pounds since June 2018 by eating Keto and implementing intermittent fasting. But more than paying off debt & weight loss, they were mere reflections of the monthly goals we set. I never thought I would get out from under my student loans. I thought they were just a part of my identity. But 2018 proved that long held lie wrong that I had told myself for years.

Invest in your own growth and development. I always thought personal growth stuff was kind of just a bunch of positive thinking mumbo jumbo, who needs that. So I never invested in it before because sales in the clothing department at Target were so much better. Last year I went through 2 classes at my church which focused on personal growth & development. I quickly realized what I learned in class far outweighed the excitement of a new t-shirt from Target. Their short term impact was great, but I know the long term impact will be greater.

Take time to create space just for you. This is one I am still working on but have realized the importance of. As a Mom, Wife, Nurse, Dog – Mom, Cook, cleaner, Mom- uber driver, I have realized the importance in my mental health of just making time for me to be alone. Schedule it in your planner. Make others aware of it & stick to it. (Easier said then done!)

Here is to what I learned in 2018 to making 2019 the best!

What are somethings that 2018 taught you? I would love to hear them.


2 thoughts on “5 things 2018 taught me

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  1. Thanks for your suggestions Margaret! I love reading your posts!

    Being seriously ill for more than one month in 2018 taught me some great things I would like to share with you.

    First, I learned that sometimes God places us in situations that we never asked for or wanted to participate in, in order to use us to speak into someone else’s life. We must surrender our will in order for God’s will to take precedence, no matter how much it hurts us and we don’t want to be there.

    Secondly, I came to understand the grave importance of maintaining friendships on a daily basis. Suddenly, I found myself in a place where I was dependent upon total support of family and friends. I quickly realized that I have so many beautiful people in my life that care a great deal about my well-being. My heart was so touched by the outpouring of love that I received at such a desperate point in my life. But more importantly, I realized that if I had never taken the time to pour into other people’s lives, then they would not be around when God knew that I needed them most. We are not on an island alone, we need others. Never neglect your friendships and you will surely reap from the garden of friends when you need it most!

    Love you lots Margaret!


    1. I love that Lois! And I love you! You have definitely poured into my life and I am glad we have been able to be here for you during the past few months. While I know it has been a difficult season for you, I have seen God’s hand at work in your life through it all and know that the best truly is yet to come as He will take it all to use for Him. The refining process is never easy but always worth it. Love you!!!


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