10 Reasons Why 2016 Was My Favorite
I want to reflect on the year that just passed. I was recently with my good friend, Joe, who said to me, “I see so many people saying they’d wish 2016 would hurry up and end, because it’s been the worst year ever, but I disagree . . . this has been the best year of my life.” He couldn’t have said it any better. Sure, 2016 has been a horrible year for a lot of people, but not for me. This has been the best year of my life, for many different reasons, and I’d like to acknowledge those reasons here.
1. I found peace
Anxiety has always been something I’ve struggled with. I would always take medicine for it, but it never felt like the proper solution. After a decade of trying to fix this, I stumbled upon two ways that basically cured this for me: I started going to Cross Church full-time, and I started being intentional about what I let into my life. Minimalism and an intense focus on thriving relationships has given me peace like I’ve never felt before—and they are now the foundation to everything in my life.
2. A breakup that helped me
It started with a relationship that began at the end of 2015: I met a girl who would eventually become my girlfriend, and after dating for a few months, we decided to go our separate ways—but that breakup was much different than my previous ones. To fill that void, I knew what I had to do: I told myself that going to church for only an hour had to stop. I was hurting, and if I wanted anything fixed in my life, or if I wanted to grow with the church, it would never happen in only an hour. I decided that I would start trying to be the first one there (which never happened, there is always someone there before you), and I would stay the entire day. This little plan changed the entire trajectory of my life.
3. I built new relationships
I knew that there was some incredible people at the church that I was missing out on—people that wanted to be in my life and wanted to know me better—but I would always leave before ever getting to know them. At the time, they all knew my name, but I vaguely remembered their faces. It was as if they knew that, when the time was right, we’d have a special friendship—they were just waiting on me to join them. I started admitting to them that I’m horrible with names, and I asked for their help. I did this with every person that engaged with me, and each Sunday, I would do it again and again, until eventually, their names became easy to remember. Now, I couldn’t imagine not knowing their names. I relate it to not knowing a sister’s name, or a cousin’s name: when someone is important to you, you’ll remember their name. It’s that simple.
4. I served on the Reach Team
All of these people that I became close with are on the Cross Church Reach Team: a team of people that lend a hand to make the church operate at 100%. Getting there early, before the first service, is what the reach team does. Some are in the cafe, some do the audio and visuals for the services, some work with the kids, some do parking, some smile and greet you at the door, etc. — I did parking and audio/visual. I would try to stay all day for each service, and I’d help out wherever I was needed. This gave me a sense of purpose like I’ve never felt before—and still to this day, getting there early for that Reach Team Meeting is something that I consider very important. I remember what life was like before this meeting, and before I started going to church early, and I don’t ever want my life to be like that again. Looking back at 2016, the weeks that were the hardest were the ones where I didn’t get to church early and serve, and when I didn’t focus on those relationships.
5. I started Small Groups
I kept getting invited to small groups for the church, but I never committed to any of them, until early in 2016, when my friend Chase started Testimony Tuesdays (where someone would agree to cook a meal for the group that week, and they would all play drums, guitars, sing, and when the time was right, someone would share a testimony about their life). This opened my eyes to how fun a small group could be. Soon after, I started going to a men’s breakfast small group, where a huge breakfast was served, and we’d take turns sharing our perspective on a topic.
One day, the leader of that group pulled me aside, and suggested that I lead my own group. He didn’t say much more than that, but that’s when the seed was planted. Over those next few weeks, my mind was racing with ideas: it went from me thinking I wasn’t good enough to lead a group, to me thinking I wouldn’t lead a group without someone else helping me, all the way up to me eventually leading two groups, all without needing a co-leader. I’ve written about these groups immensely over the last few months, but I’ll say this: leading a small group has been one of the most important moments in my life. It showed me that I’m good enough, it showed me that I’m a leader, it showed me that people care about my thoughts, it showed me that I have a church that believes in me—and it showed me that, instead of being scared and turning down an opportunity to grow, if you take chances in life, you won’t be disappointed. Those opportunities to grow are the moments that shape us into the person we dream of becoming.
6. I improved my creative outlets
2016 was the year that expanded me past being creative with just music. My music didn’t slow down either (I released two albums, tons of music videos, and I performed live more in one month than I did every other year combined), but it was my blog that really took off and became my main creative outlet. The amount of words I’m able to type in a day has become one of my biggest wins of last year. It’s now much easier and more natural for my thoughts to translate into paragraphs.
7. I served in weddings
I went to four weddings in 2016, three of which I served in. In March, I served in my friend Casey’s wedding in New Orleans. On Easter Sunday, my friend Chase’s wedding was right after our church service, in the Civic Center. In November, I served in my friend Kip’s wedding—and the weekend after, I served in my cousin Jarden’s wedding. I have so many special memories from these four weddings, and I can’t thank them enough for letting me be a part of it.
8. I went on vacation with family
I went on my first cruise in 2016, thanks to my mom. She took the family on a week-long trip to Jamaica, Cozumel, and Caymans. This gave me a break away from my regular routine, it was my first trip out of the country, and it was great quality time with my family. A few months later, we flew to Atlanta, then drove to South Carolina, to watch my sister graduate from the Army’s basic training. We spent a lot of time traveling and enjoying each other’s company. I’m usually lucky if I get one vacation in a year, but to have two vacations, only a few months apart, is something I’m incredibly thankful for.
9. I went part-time at AT&T
Because I don’t expect 2017 to slow down, and I plan on building on what 2016 gave me, I reduced the amount of income I need coming in, and I went part-time at AT&T. This will free me up for more time with my family, more time with the church, more time creating, and more time staying healthy and at peace. I look forward to playing a lot of basketball. I look forward to going on hiking trips and traveling, and whatever else I feel like doing.
10. I’m alive
I feel more alive than ever right now, and It’s because of everything I just mentioned: from every little detail that I chose to focus on, to the people I now have in my life. As a whole, I’m beyond thankful for 2016. I’ve gained peace, relationships, perspective, consistency, and tons of memories. For those that wished for 2016 to hurry up and end, I’m hoping for many more years just like it.
I'm Nash. I create things.
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Three things I’m thankful for.
April 21, 2019
- Rae Lynn for letting me borrow Bob Goff’s book, Everybody Always.
- Janea for mentioning Bob Goff enough times that when I walked into Rae Lynn’s house, I saw the book and knew I needed it.
- Bob Goff for writing this book. I only read the first chapter so far, but he might be my favorite author now. “It’s given me comfort knowing we’re all rough drafts of the people we’re still becoming.”
April 20, 2019
- Elevation Worship’s new album, Paradoxology. It’s been on repeat for the past two days. It’s been my soundtrack.
- My time spent with Sariyah and Skiler yesterday. Just walking around the Houston Science Museum. Such a beautiful memory.
- My April photoblog. Slowly finishing up all the details of this month’s photoblog to release in a few days, and I’m seeing how many special moments I’ve had lately.
April 19, 2019
- These lyrics: “Can’t go back to the beginning. Can’t control what tomorrow will bring. But I know here in the middle, is the place where you promise to be.”
- GPS technology, allowing me to go on adventures without needing a paper map.
- My conversation with Ms. Robin last night. I’m learning how important it is to let people older and wiser than me speak into my life.
April 18, 2019
- My coffee meeting with JP yesterday. Iron sharpens iron. He’s someone that always pours life and wisdom into me each time we have a conversation.
- My road trip to Houston today. It’s gonna be a great weekend.
- Maple Bacon Eclairs at Mr. Ronnie’s Donuts. They currently have my heart.
April 17, 2019
- This new song I created yesterday for my brother, called Your Sobriety.
- This morning’s meeting with Chase and the two hour conversation we had about life and the upcoming projects.
- Hanging out with my friend Abigail and getting to know her better.
April 16, 2019
- My mom is coming with me to church on Easter Sunday. I’m excited to spend that time with her on a special day.
- My jacket still smells like smoke from the barn fire we had a few weeks ago, even after washing it. My first thought was upset that I couldn’t get the smell out yet, but then I realized, as I’m sitting in the office, that it brings back an amazing memory. It brings me right back to that moment with my friends.
- My MACV-1 boots. I wear them daily: for work, to church, to the beach, to climb trees, and whatever else life throws at me.
April 15, 2019
- Yesterday not going as planned, but yet turning out better than the plans could’ve ever been.
- The weekend as a whole. The most refreshing and fulfilling weekend in a long time.
- I should be finished with The Wave of Life video by tomorrow. I’ve been working on it nonstop for three days now.
April 14, 2019
- Today makes exactly one month that I’ve been making this daily list. So thankful for this project and everything it’s changed in my life.
- Spent yesterday on the beach with friends. It was perfect in so many ways.
- The music video we shot for The Wave of Life, a song from my new album.
April 13, 2019
- NBA Playoffs start today. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time.
- This Biloxi vacation with friends.
- Getting to spend time with my Aunt Monica and cousin Jarden the other day.
April 12, 2019
- Selima’s gift, prayer, and voice memo to me yesterday. It was beautiful.
- David’s group and dinner last night.
- My conversation with a friend by the water.
April 11, 2019
- My brother graduates drug court today. I’m so thankful for the steps he’s taken to better himself. His growth in these last two years is mind-blowing.
- His wisdom, guidance and love for everyone around him. At times, it’s easy to forget that he’s younger than me. Sometimes it feels like he’s my big brother.
- His family: Rachel, Ashton, Bentley and Petal. They are such a blessing in my life. I’m beyond thankful for each one of them.
April 10, 2019
- Rekindled friendships. The universe will bring back those who are meant to be around.
- Kristal’s recording sessions last night. She’s adding another layer to an already layered album.
- The conversations I had with my Aunt Cherri and my Nanny. Those two phone calls brought us that much closer.
April 9, 2019
- The dinner my brother cooked for us last night. Shrimp spaghetti with tortellini pasta.
- Austin Kleon’s new book, Keep Going.
- My Website. No matter the season, good or bad, I have an outlet to document my thoughts and ideas.
April 8, 2019
- Sitting and laying by the water for hours, just hanging out with my sister.
- Two new pastors poured into my life yesterday. From Ireland and House of Prayer.
- Getting to help a friend with a memorial video last night.
April 7, 2019
- My glasses that allow me to see. The world would be much different without them.
- My GR1 backpack. It’s with me every day, packed with basketball gear, an extra pair of clothes, GoPro, medicine, iPad, and more. Always ready for an adventure.
- My little sister’s text message last night, asking if she can come to church with me.
April 6, 2019
- Altina, Cameron, Kristal, Aaron, Matt, Charles, and Brandon spending the night in the studio with me last night. Magic was definitely made.
- I’m not just showing my talents anymore. I’m getting better at showing my heart. Becoming more vulnerable, and turning my weaknesses into strengths.
- All the voice memos I’ve received from people that have lost someone. There’s power in their words.
April 5, 2019
- Last night’s worship team.
- I wrote and recorded my new favorite song last night in less than an hour, right before church. I’m thankful for that speed of inspiration and execution.
- Mrs. Renee’s prayer for me. It was so simple and powerful. “Rest.”
April 4, 2019
- Tonight’s Cross Church service. Been looking forward to it all week.
- FaceTime calls with my sister Skiler and my godchild Sariyah. Even though they moved away, these video calls are now bringing us closer than ever.
- What Pastor Brandon said this morning: “He’s not letting his problems shape his view of God. He’s letting God shape his view of his problems.”
April 3, 2019
- My health. It’s easy to take it for granted. It usually takes a sickness or an injury for me to remember how blessed I am to live such a healthy physical life.
- The amount of people collaborating with me on my new album. So many gifts and testimony’s collectively on one project.
- Amanda Lindsey Cook’s album, “House on a Hill”.
April 2, 2019
- Today’s my friend Kip’s birthday. I’m thankful that he’s been in my life for almost 30 years and our closeness has never wavered. He’s family.
- My friend Matt. A brand new friendship, but feels like I’ve been knowing him for years. Perfect bond for the perfect time in my life.
- My dad’s phone calls. Every time he calls, we have a very fulfilling conversation. It’s something I look forward to so much.
April 1, 2019
- Playing one on one basketball with Pastor Brandon yesterday. First one to score wins.
- Sitting by the fire for hours with Matt and Janea last night.
- Starting the new month with excitement, peace and vision.
March 31, 2019
- The conversation I had with Mr. Kip about my Uncle Larry who passed away.
- Writing my monthly recaps each month, allowing me to reflect.
- My friend Jason, who always finds ways to be a motivator in my creative and personal life.
March 30, 2019
- All night studio session and pizza party with friends.
- My friend Janea is back home.
- Going to Nola today for a crawfish boil cook-off.
March 29, 2019
- The current peace that I’ve been having each day.
- Finished the intro to my album last night.
- Getting to spend yesterday filming and working in new office.
March 28, 2019
- How well my new album is coming together.
- My counseling session this morning.
- All the photos I captured during March.
March 27, 2019
- Last night’s beef stew and getting to try out the Walk-In Tub at Peter’s. Felt like a jacuzzi.
- Worship music.
- My new workstation in my office.
March 26, 2019
- Last night’s small group, dinner, and message at Mr. Ray’s house.
- My friend Dodi.
- The words I heard last night, “God, don’t let my pain go to waste.”
March 25, 2019
- Krista coming over to record on my new song
- Dinner with my brother. He cooked a chicken spaghetti
- Playing basketball at the Wellness center
March 24, 2019
- My conversation with Chase last night
- The peace that I have this morning
- My new office space to create
March 23, 2019
- My iPhone camera
- My SOAP guide to read/study the Bible
- My little brother’s birthday party today
March 22, 2019
- My Bible
- My friend Brittney’s wisdom and help
- Last night’s Bible Study Small Group
March 21, 2019
- Last night’s worship team at Vision Christian Center in Bourg. It was intense.
- Last night’s full moon
- Hanging out with Krista at the park under the moon, performing her acoustic songs
March 20, 2019
- My godchild, Sariyah
- The film crew from yesterday
- My GR1 backpack
March 19, 2019
- My ability to play basketball
- My iPad Pro
- Ulysses, my writing app
March 18, 2019
- The marina park on the side of my house
- The fan next to my bed
- The amount of water I get to drink
March 17, 2019
- My mom
- Mrs. Heather
- My creativity
March 16, 2019
- My sister, Skiler
- My sister, Nevaeh
- My brother, Brayden
March 15, 2019
- My house
- My blog
- My brother, Nick
March 14, 2019
- My job
- My car
- My church
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