My Not So Best Year

by Katie Karr

When I was asked to discuss the best year of my life, I initially declined. Immediately. Thinking and writing about the past is not the easiest thing for me. The past is the past, and, especially when it consists of some fairly painful highlights, I incline to dismiss the conversation. Yet, I felt a push to share what’s been dealt with in my heart. It could possibly provide the completion of healing for myself, and maybe, the beginning of that process for someone else.

It became difficult to remember (much less write) about the last time I had a “Best Year of My Life”. I started to get a little frustrated about it and was getting ready to retract agreeing to write about it, when…I thought of something. Something very truthful. Something raw. Something very real. Something that we all experience.

So here is the story about my “Not So Best Year”.

Sounds better than “My Worst Year”, right? Just tryin’ to keep it positive over here, folks 😉.

My Not So Best Year was 2018. Yep, last year. The one that ended just about a month ago. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Ha! But, it pretty much was just the worst of times. I wish I could state, “Oh, ya know, it had its ups and downs”. Nope. That would be sugar coating it with a cherry on top. Most of those twelve months were down. If there was an up time in there, it was very short lived.

Before 2018 began, I knew the Father was going to take me through a season of transition. I should plural that: transitions. There were definitely more than one. I have experienced change before in my life, and major ones, but this one, was different. Because, once things began to shift, I realized how many dependencies I placed on things I shouldn’t have. They started taking root into who I thought I was.

“Who I thought I was…”

2018 was a year of stripping away. I don’t know if anyone else has gone through this kind of process, but if you have, then you know when things start to be shaken and stripped away, other stuff you thought was done and dealt with come back to the surface.

Brokenness. Bitterness. Anger. Emptiness. Loneliness. Everything went to a place I had never experienced. Fear and anxiety tried to have a tight grip on my life.

Restless sleep became the norm due to frequent panic attacks in the middle of the night. Fear played with my thoughts, and my peace of mind and soul was the prize. I often wondered if I would make it to the next day.

It’s amazing how we tend to see things in retrospect, isn’t it?

Last year left me feeling crushed, bruised, confused, and very beaten down. I believed the lie I had done something wrong. That I made an incorrect turn somewhere along the way or misheard the Holy Spirit’s voice and direction.

I felt vulnerable and exposed. It felt like a time that was very much shrouded in darkness.

But, as I was recently reminded in one of my quiet times, doesn’t a seed experience the same things during its time of growth?

I believe I endured one of my Not So Best Years so I could journey one of my Best Years yet.

The Father needed me to regain who I really am, not who I thought, imagined, or wished myself to be. Everything I tied my identity to had to be cut off and stripped away. And, it needed to be done before I could complete the transition into my next (new) season. Side note: Not everything we connect ourselves to is “bad”. They can be good, and we should be connected with those things. But, when we begin to attach it to our identity…that screams “trouble ahead”.

A dear pastor friend of mine recently gave me the analogy of the natural seasons. Every season has a purpose. One is not good, and the other bad. They all have characteristics we like or dislike. But, there’s still a purpose. The winter’s chill is necessary to freeze and kill off any hindrance to the growth of spring’s flowers. The greenness of summer cannot be enjoyed without the downpour of spring.

I quoted Isaiah 43:18-20 at the opening because it had been constantly resonating within me since 2019 began. I’m not one to have a “word” or catchphrase to start my year. That’s never been me. I need that inner drive…or shove, which is often the case 😏.

But, “doing a new thing” has become a huge sounding board. In the past, when I would think or hear of a ‘new thing’, my mindset would equal it to ‘starting over’. And, to my perfectionist analytical brain, that would send my mind spinning! The Father (after calming my nerves) revealed, “I am not having you start over. I am getting you ready to walk into the new thing I have set for you. There’s a big difference. I am adding to your story, not erasing what has already been written”.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little timid about 2019. I wish I could be all ‘guns a-blazin’!’ and ‘taking the bull by the horns!’ for this next year. But I can say, because of 2018, my “Not So Best Year”, I regained who I am, the confidence of being her, and continuing to flourish in what has been set before me.

I am looking forward to telling about my Best Year! Stay tuned…😉

Thank you Katie Karr for your real and vulnerable contribution. I love that she took the series and put her own relatable twist on it. Fun fact- Katie and I have known each other since elementary school. It has been so fun to be a part of each other’s lives for so long.

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