What I Learned in 2017

Oh 2017, you were good to me. Here are seven things I learned this year.

1. Quit moving to what’s next and celebrate what’s now. This year my illustrator and I were invited to the Ten Boom Museum in the Netherlands to chat about our book on the Ten Boom sisters. Big deal!

A few months later, my daughter went the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and found my Ten Boom book. Super big deal!

My mom beat cancer. My dad beat cancer. My favorite uncle beat cancer. Even bigger big deals! But with each of these events, I refused to stop circling the question, “Yeah, but what’s next?” This question strangles the joy of my now, and therefore, you won’t hear it from me anymore. Nope, nope, nope. I’m too busy celebrating the now.

2. Favorite quote of the year:

If our girls are reading books reminding them that they are called, chosen, capable, strong, clever, creative, wise, even empowered by the Holy Spirit…well, the dangerous and wonderful thing is that our girls might just believe them. ~Sarah Bessey

Never as in neeeeeeev-ah have I seen so many well-written books encouraging girls to be their dangerous wonderful selves. Let’s read them. Let’s check them out from libraries. Let’s buy them.

3. Podcasts make flight delays (and even housework) fun. To the people behind Goal Digger, Code Switch, What Should I Read Next, and This American Life, you make me happy and smarter and you also make folding laundry a joy.

4. Creative people inspire creativity. I need time with other people who create. It isn’t optional. I require in-person, real time with other writers. This isn’t selfish. This isn’t lavish. This is something I need. These two know about both the business side and the creative side of writing, and they also know a lot about baby sharks and fleeing from alligators.

5. Christians want to talk about science. I wrote a post, which was more of a list, and it caused a bit of a stir. It didn’t cause a stir because of what it said, it caused a stir because apparently your girls love Jesus and science, and you want to talk about it. Well, me too. 

6. Let people spoil you. My college roommate’s mother, Linda turned seventy this year. To celebrate, she decided to take her college roommate, her daughter, and her daughter’s college roommate (wait, that’s me!) to Alaska. Obviously, this was uber generous of her, but I am not good with generosity. Generosity makes me squeamish. Are you sure you want to take me? That’s a lot of money. What if we just had a nice party with a fancy cake instead?

Years ago, Linda taught me the importance of opening your home and your refrigerator to random teenagers who show up at your house…even when those teenagers are loud and drama filled and don’t always attend school. She practiced the art of being available, laughing hard, and seeing good in people before they see it in themselves (wait, it’s me again. Linda did that for me!).This year she taught me the importance of letting people do for you. Not because you need something, but because they want to. It should be noted this is a yearly lesson for me.

7. Learn to sit in the weirdness. This year church was weird. Friendships were weird. Parenting was weird. My response to weirdness is to either fix it or flee, but those choices weren’t options. So, I learned to sit. Sitting is not a good time, but here’s something I learned. Sitting keeps me humble, and it pushes me to constantly seek God’s direction. Both make the weirdness worth it.

Your turn: What kinds of things did you learn in 2017? Let’s hear it.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lisa Van Engen

    Love it, such wisdom. You inspire me.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Can’t wait to see what the new year holds for you, friend! 📚