What have you learned about yourself in the last year? What new things have you discovered? Any surprises? I've had more than a few.
For my friends who appreciate numbered lists, here is a shortened account of some of my not-so-shocking-to-everyone-else-but-shocking-to-me revelations about myself:
1. I have learned that I am a one-upper.* Evidently, I have a story for every situation (not true, but I seem to have told a ridiculous number of stories this year). Someone in the group says something about parasites, a fear of butterflies, TV, anything related to extreme cold or extreme heat, urine, vomit, or jellyfish, and I'm all over that like the ants were all over poor Helen (and that's a story for a different time). And these stories are always going a step further than the one before. I'm a one-upper.
2. I have learned to hold a more realistic view of my singing ability. When I was in middle school, I was the best singer that had ever walked the planet. How I had not already been signed up to be on a T.V. show like Making the Band was beyond me. In college, sure I was in choir, but I really wasn't a good singer at all. I was forcing the air or out of tune 100% of the time. This year, I've come to a healthy medium. I know I'm not amazing, but I also know that I have been given a gift.
3. I'm influenced greatly by the people around me. Not so much my decisions as my personality itself. I'm around a group of witty, humorous people - I am witty and humorous. I am around people who are more interested in peace and quiet - I'll be the quietest and peaciest person you ever did see**. This happens with my students, too; if the class enjoys laughing, I'm the stand-up comedian math teacher. With my class that is considerably more somber - I am more straightforward and to the point (read: "boring"). It's shocking to me to learn this. I am surprised how much I can change in a single day!
4. This is the most important one. I have learned that I am just not content when I'm distant from Him. Duh, Warren. But it's true. Things I used to love are less exciting. The novelty of traveling wears off. The joy of living in a new place is dulled. The beauty of a hill or a leaf or the peace that comes with the rain - all of these are like the middle of Groundhog Day: boring, too often repeated, and leaving me wishing I had spent my time doing something else. . . Unless I am close to Him.
Like every other person who follows Him, I have had my ups and downs. And I will continue to have them until this body is healed and glorified. But I keep learning and remembering that the beauty of this world is pointless without Him. The joy of friendships and the happiness of song are nothing when my heart is far from His. I wish I could remember this more often.
So what have you learned about yourself?
* This also applies to name-dropping. I'll unfortunately (and usually unintentionally) drop names all day long.
**I also learned I like to exaggerate.