Looking at things in a different way is often what brings me strength. It’s hard to do when I’m in the midst of things, but when everything is said and done, if is a lot easier to step back and see the big picture and see what God has done in my life. This is one of my favorite things to do. It’s especially true as I reframe and wrestle blessings out of my chronic mental and physical illness. Yes, I have these things, and sometimes, in the moment, it feels like they are winning. But when I am able to step back, I am able to see they never so . God won. I won.
A year that I thought initially was a year of great struggle, 2016, is an amazing example of that.
In my writing just after 2016 ended, I wrote about how hard 2016 was, and how much better 2017 would be. I couldn’t see the big picture of 2016 yet. I was too close to step back.
But now we’re four months into 2017, and I am able to look at 2016 with new eyes. And sure, it was a hard year. It was the her I received or learned about my many diagnosises. But goodness, did I triumph. I grew in collosal amounts of strength, strength I never would have had without those challenges.
So I’m not going to list my diagnosises in this post. I’ve listed them before, and they’re no more important than the lessons I learned in 2016 despite, or maybe even through, those diagnosises.
I learned that I am smart. My brain may be riddled with headaches, but it is also filled with knowledge. It is able to make complex connections and witty comebacks. It is filled with wisdom beyond its years, and many facts about subjects it cares deeply about.
I learned that I am beautiful. When I look in the mirror, I like what I see. I am not perfect, but I have both inner and outer beauty. I work hard so my soul reflects what is on the outside. I work hard to smile even on the dark days, and brighten up people’s days.
I learned that I am strong. I may not have physical strength, but 2016 proved an incredible resilience of spirit and mind beyond anything I ever knew I had. I can withstand so much, and keep going. I am strong. I am capable. I persevere.
I had always thought of myself as average before 2016, and it was only this year that I started truly recognizing my positive qualities. I also plain old just did a lot in 2016. We moved. I wrote a thesis. I got a masters degree. I started writing the novel that I am working to publish.
If I was able to finally accept so many positive things about myself the same year I got my diagnosises, that shows me pretty definitively they are realizations my illnesses will never be able to take away. And because of that, I don’t think 2016 was a bad year at all. In fact, looking back, it was a pretty great year. I finally accepted a lot of awesome things about myself, and God and my incredible support system were there all the way through.