She wrote it as an announcement; a praise of thanksgiving. (Truth is, I probably would’ve done the exact same myself. A hard pill to swallow.)

Burning, my eyes read the caption beneath her perfect photograph: “2016: I got married, we bought our first house, remodeled, moved into our new home, launched my online boutique, and announced WE’RE PREGNANT!!! What a year it’s been. <3”

Feelings of inadequacy crept in, filling my heart like a hose in the kiddie pool. Envy and self-doubt flooded my soul and I couldn’t suppress the lump in my throat. I began drowning in these yucky thoughts and emotions of jealously. What’s happening to me, God? I don’t struggle with jealously. I’m happy for others. I’ve always been genuinely happy for others. My life is great! Who am I anymore?

I suppose nobody’s really exempt from the comparison trap. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of what I share and why I share it. Normally it’s the time of year when I share lesson’s I’ve learned in these last 12 months or my goals for the year to come, but I feel like that’s so unnecessary. Again, a resounding theme for me this advent season: #ImpressingIsExhuasting that’s why I’m done.

Reflecting, I’m super humbled as I look back on this year.

Without further ado, here are 19 things I did or didn’t do. I hope they encourage and maybe make you laugh a little, too.

19 things I did – or didn’t do – in 2016

  1. I didn’t get a book deal.
  2. Totally justified guacamole as my serving of veggies, a lot.
  3. Didn’t conceive or adopt or foster a child.
  4. Let go; of clothes, a job, shame, and a few people I once called friend.
  5. Whenever I was at a crossroads between a chain restaurant or hole in the wall, I always chose the latter.
  6. Read a lot of books, but rarely stepped out of my comfort genre.
  7. Didn’t respect my husband nearly as much as I should have.
  8. Ate more Chips Ahoy cookies than doughnuts. *gasp*
  9. Moved out of the small town I’ve lived in my whole life.
  10. Laughed – instead of cried – when people were mean online. (And all God’s people said Amen.)
  11. Didn’t get invited to several reunion parties with old high school friends.
  12. Spent a lot more time in the kitchen with a few wins and a lot of frozen pizzas.
  13. Attended interactive social justice talks about people who are homeless.
  14. Tried wearing eyeliner on the bottom lids, for like 4 months then I snapped out of it.
  15. Didn’t get nominated or win any awards.
  16. Changed my hair color numerous times because: impulse.
  17. Learned secrets I wish I could erase from my memory.
  18. Watched more TV than I’d like to confess.
  19. Confronted someone by calling them up, not out.

Phew. 2016 holds a lot of great memories, but was also a tough year for the whole world. In the words of another writer whose heart I adore, “And while God never asked us to give an answer of all of the pain, he did ask us to be prepared to share the hope that we carry.” -Rachel Kincaid.

What did you do (or not) this year? What are you most looking forward to in 2017? Share in the comments below!

// Manda

Are Unmet Expectations a Struggle in Your Life?

 

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If you... believe you aren't where you ought to be in life

 

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