Checking for Watermarks

It’s the last day of 2015. Can you believe it?

Are you working on your personal vision for 2016? Goals, resolutions, themes…

It is easy to get swept away in planning to conquer the year ahead without ever stopping to take stock of how this year has gone. We so quickly think of the failures and defeats and rush to put them behind us.

Out of my way, you no good history! I’ve got a new year to dominate!

But wait! It doesn’t do us any good to kick 2015 to the curb without properly acknowledging our victories and learning from our less-than-stellar days.

Pause. Before the clock strikes midnight, take time to marvel at the days that have passed.


As I have been reflecting on the year in light of the framework I set in place, the image of watermarks came to mind. Have you ever seen the sea wall at low tide? You can tell how high the tide was at one point, even though the ocean seems emptier in the moment.

I think about my word for 2015, ADVENTURE, and I feel a void of success there. That ocean seems empty. “You are no more adventurous than you were a year ago”, the low tide whispers to me. But then, I take a closer look, and I can see watermarks of high tide.

-I started and completed my first journey through Whole30. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. But I did it. 

-I registered for my first quarter of grad school. This is a step that stirs all my fears of failure. I did it, even so. 

-I planned to go to Kenya to see what God is doing on the other side of the world. The trip was postponed and hasn’t happened yet, but that is part of the adventure. Remember our definition from this post?

-I asked for help when I needed it, even though rejection was a real possibility. And I asked for help again, even though rejection was a reality the first time. 

-I joined a book launch team with 496 women and 4 incredibly brave men. (terrifying…so much estrogen!)

-Then I went on a road trip with several of them to meet up with a couple hundred of them…even though the majority of us had never met. 

-I spoke difficult and dangerous words into conversations that are divisive. This is sometimes stupid, but sometimes right. 

-I was brave enough to not give an answer for every question asked. And brave enough to not demand an answer for every discomfort I faced. 

-I wrote my heart out here, over and over. 

None of these may seem like great adventures to you. But they are adventure nonetheless. And no, I may not be living in a perpetual state of being a risk-taker, but I have moments. I can tell because I can see the markings on the wall. Today, I may be hiding away. Fear may win and the empty ocean may convince me that there is no hope for me to live an adventurous life. But the watermark on the sea wall tells a different story. I’ve been changed by the high tide.

So what about you? On this last day, where is the waterline? Are you in the middle of low tide? Take a closer look. What do the watermarks tell you about how you have been changed this year?



  1. Such a wonderful post. I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked much at the year behind. I desperately am just ready to look forward. I think I’ll take a few and look at my own watermarks.

    PS loved this– “Fear may win and the empty ocean may convince me that there is no hope for me to live an adventurous life. But the watermark on the sea wall tells a different story. I’ve been changed by the high tide.”


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