10 Things I Learned In June

photo by Jose Maria Cuellar.flickr.creative commons Today's post has a lot of community to it.

For one thing, I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman (on Chatting at the Sky) to share things that I've learned in June. This feels sort of like liturgy to me, all of us coming together in unity and variety to share things organized around the same topic. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm also over at The Lipstick Gospel today, sharing some things in which I see beauty, life, and God, as part of Stephanie's "The Loveliest Things" series. I'd love to have you go check it out, and interact with my thoughts over there. Be sure and check out the rest of her blog, as well.

Before I talk about what I learned in June, I want to start with something that I learned as I was writing this: I don't learn things once.

I hesitated to write a lot of these down because I could think of times in the past that I have learned them. They recur. I think that is part of the point. There is a reason that God emphasizes certain things in my life at different times, and that things come back around. I don't get to learn something once and for all. Realizing that helped as I wrote this out.

Without further ado, this is (some of) what I learned in June.

1. My life goes through cycles.

I was reading through my journal a week or two ago, and I noticed that there are visible patterns. Things will be hard and I will spend a lot of time crying and searching, and then I will turn my focus toward God, embracing prayer more fully, or getting into a piece of Scripture, and it will change my outlook. Rinse and repeat.

2. Disney has not ruined Pixar.

I loved Monsters Inc. I loved it. My family quotes it all the time and my mom will sometimes watch it all by herself. I wasn't sure whether to be excited or nervous when the sequel (or prequel) was announced. Many of you likely haven't seen it, so I don't want to give anything away, but let me just say that it was better than I could have imagined and it brought even greater meaning and redemption to the first movie. Also, it's rated G. It's been a long time since I've seen a G-rated movie.

photo by Víctor Nuño.flickr.creative commons

3. Ask the question.

I learned this anew in June. If you don't ask, you can't get a yes, and if you get a no, the world won't end. I'd been meaning to ask Stephanie if I could be on The Loveliest Things for a long time, and finally, I did. That made me brave to ask other things, from people, and from God.

4. I need time with people, and I need time alone.

I read Quiet by Susan Cain, recently, and even blogged about it. It's all still sinking in, and it wasn't completely new information, but it's changing how I order my time. If I make sure I have a couple of nights a week without social (or other) expectations, I feel much more rested than if I keep going like the Energizer Bunny. However, if I don't make time to spend with people I love, I am sapped of much of my life and vitality. It's a tricky balance, but worth it.

5. Joshua Harris is not just an author, but a person. 

I know this, but hearing more of his story reawakened my awareness. Just because he wrote a book that I don't find applicable to my life, doesn't mean that I have license to forget that he is beloved of God, made in His image.

6. Everybody doesn't appreciate me, and that's okay.

I'd like to explore this more in a future post, but several conversations and encounters this month reminded me that I'm not everyone's favorite, or style, or best friend. I want to be liked, thought well of, and loved, and this is hard for me. I'm learning to do my best to be at peace with all, be myself, and not worry.

photo by Massimo Valiani.flickr.creative commons

7. I'm a feminist.

I never expected to say these words out loud, and I have, in fact, said the opposite often. But I read a wonderful article by Sarah Bessey called Reclaiming Feminism, and I realized that she was putting many of my beliefs, thoughts and hopes into words. It reminded me a little of the resonance I felt with Dorothy L. Sayers' book Are Women Human?, which simply affirms that women are people, and important. Both are lovely reads which I recommend.

8. The only thing I can figure out about people is that they change.

Just when I get a handle on something about someone, they decide they aren't doing that thing/saying those words/playing that instrument/loving that person/doing that job anymore. I'm not usually great with ambiguity, but I'm learning that this is good, right and often God-breathed.

9. Before I panic because my crock pot chicken is registering on the thermometer as about a hundred degrees too cold, I should check to make sure that it is not set to Celsius.

10. The door isn't always closed.

I've had the chance to reconnect with a few old friends this month. Some of them, I'd given up on, even though I still missed them. Distance, or time, or busyness had kept us apart. From time to time, I've mourned these people, and wished to reconnect. So I sent an email, or a Facebook message, and you know what? They all got back to me. I know that won't happen every time, but I'm glad that, this time, it did.

What did you learn in June?