Looking Back on the Year
The TRL team this year has been just right - all our names begin with the letter J! So, we thought that we ought to do the just thing and reflect on our own journey with learning to really live.
Jessica Zhuo : My role in the team, serving in social media support has been a new growth area. I had to learn how to create content and monitor engagement. So, I can call myself a content creator now! But seriously, social media can engross a person, so I had to also learn to say 'No' to my enthusiasm and step back so that I don’t overcommit.
The TRL ethos is deeply meaningful for me, and I seek to bring it into other areas of my life where I have influence, at work, in my volunteer capacities and in my relationships.
Jackii: This year, I have facilitated the book club and I think the habit of setting timeout to read has had a great effect on helping my mind to settle and be less distracted.
This is something which I have always been wanting to cultivate but kept failing. I think since I learnt to practise the ethos of Slow, Savour, Serve in my life, I seem to be less easily distracted and can easily have more focus on what I am doing.
It is totally enjoyable for me to serve in TRL because I am serving in an area that I have experienced growth in. I also enjoy the company of everyone in TRL very much, for I am learning so much from everyone. I noticed that I could apply the principles from the books that I read in my daily life and because of the discussions at the book club, the principles appear to be more impactful to me and I remember them better.
My hope is to be even more rested in 2024 so that my body can heal more.
Jophillien: In this past year, I have embarked on a journey of learning to savour, a concept that I was initially unfamiliar with. Now I see that it builds marvellously on my earlier practices of learning to slow down both externally and internally so that I am overall more present and able to appreciate what is going on within and around me.
Life is a mix of joy and challenges. Savouring through the joyous moments has increased my gratitude for the smaller things and allowed me to truly understand what joy is – not just intellectual but an emotional experience. It was difficult to savour challenging moments because being present with pain is too painful. However, I have experienced that by staying in those painful moments, I have been learning to be true to my own emotions, accepting my own emotions and the situation I was in. As I embraced myself, it also opened new perspectives to the situation. By allowing myself to savour my ups and downs, this has enabled me to engage in deeper reflection and begin to let go of the lies that I held onto, allowing me to embrace life more fully.
Being a part of the TRL community has encouraged me to maintain a healthy rhythm of life. The various experiences and conversations within the community have facilitated the exchange of thoughts and tips to really live. Additionally, I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve as our values are different, and now I experience serving differently to my previous understanding.
Joanna: 2023 has been the year I’ve most distinctly felt I’ve closed a season and have stepped into a new season. I had thought that 2021 had been the key transition year for me, as that was when I had taken a sabbatical, started work in a new place, moved house and experienced a milestone breakthrough in the family all in one year. But in the past 3 years journeying with TRL and learning to slow and savour, I am more aware of the shifts that are going on internally in my outlook on life, ponderings in my heart, and attitudes to those close to me. The transition is not so much determined by the external visible events happening in life, but the unseen growth that happens internally that God brings about and invites me to witness and celebrate.
As God helped me pay attention to promises He had given back in 2012 that He is fulfilling 12 years later in 2023 and revealing more promises to be fully unpacked perhaps in the next season, I celebrate His faithfulness and steady hand throughout all seasons and trust His timing for the fulfilment of all things. I’ve also witnessed how this year has been the best in my marriage as my husband and I have grown in our heart postures towards each other - accepting and loving one another in all the differences that we have and we are. The journey of embracing being One with each other continues, but savouring this past year with a sense of wonder of God’s little miracles gives me courage and excitement for 2024 as we anticipate growing our family in the beauty of adoption. Even before our baby comes to join us, I have an expectation that a family practice of slowing, savouring and serving will help to nurture the best environment for our little one to grow in!
Jenni: To Really Live began as my blog, the title reflecting a God-wired desire in me to live full and well. There is much around and within us to cause us to live half-awake and half-engaged. It pains me to think of the many lives held hostage by fear, incapacitated by past failures and bullied into shame. No matter where we began and what we have gone through, there is a spark within us that awaits to be set afire.
This is what we hope to do through the small offerings we bring. We begin with our own spark which we try to protect and fan. I am very excited to see more sparks go off and even combining for bonfires that burn down falsehood and all forms of imprisonment!
Starting and leading anything is a challenge, but when your ethos is to slow, savour and serve, you learn to honour the pace and the provision.
I always remind myself and the team that we endeavour to do what we can. After all, life is filled with surprises - from a sudden amount of work, to illness to other challenges we did not plan in our calendar! Above all, we are first a community among ourselves and seek to experience the change we aspire to bring.
My heart is very full for the many who have brought their spark and made everything in TRL possible: the Quiet Hour, Bookclub, In.habit, blog posts and social media participation. I am especially amazed that so many want to really live, and have a heart to help others do so. Besides the core team, we have facilitators, shepherds, artists and those who give. Everyone brings their love and their contributions, often involving sacrifice.
It is so interesting in 2023, we have a fully J-named team! As a team, we know in our own lives and in what we do at TRL that the real host and leader is (another J), Jesus Christ. It is to him that we owe our love for Life and our verve to risk by learning, being vulnerable and working with each other. And, we are richly rewarded as we do, for nothing compares with watching things come to life and grow!