I don't know what to feel today... writing this very last love letter of 2018. If you guys don't know, I take a break from writing the Tuesday Love Letters for a month at the end of the year, every year, In Sha Allah. I do this because of several reasons, but mostly to take a break and just spend some time offline.
A huge part of me feels sad, because I know I will miss writing to all of you every Tuesday. But a part of me also feel... slightly relieved.
Relieved because I believe I've worked hard this year and I am looking forward to just disconnecting and being more present with family and my loved ones. And not just me, but the whole team will be going offline for a whole month too - meaning we won't be checking our Inbox as regularly and just taking this time to recharge so that we'll be ready to take on the new year, In Sha Allah.
But before I bid you goodbye, I'd like to share a few things I've learned this year. I feel that there's always one major theme that Allah SWT teaches me every year (eg: 2016: Tawakkul, 2017: Gentleness) and I think for 2018, the one lesson that keeps resurfacing is Sincerity.
I say Ikhlas, or Sincerity, has been a major lesson point for me, because in all aspects of my life - be it in my spiritual worship, in my relationships, or in my work - the struggle to be sincere is something that has always "saved" me from my own downfall.
The striving to be sincere has allowed me to be aware when arrogance starts creeping in (I fear this so so so so much, it cripples me sometimes), it has taught me the meaning of sacrifice, it continues to remind me of my place - that I am but a flawed slave of Allah, and it has repeatedly shown me that the minute I shift my focus to the creation, and not the Creator, I have lost the battle to my ego, my nafs and my desires.
And I am grateful for this struggle. In fact, I hope I will continue to struggle.
Because I fear the day I take Sincerity lightly. If that happens, then I would have placed the Dunia in my heart, where Allah is supposed to reside, and not in my hands, where it's supposed to be. :( :( :(
I trust Allah in His plans for me - and personally, I think I know why Sincerity was something that kept coming up over and over again for me this year. So if you have a second, will you please make dua that my team and I remain sincere in our work, and in all aspect of our lives?
It will truly mean the world to me.
Now what about you? What has been the #1 thing that Allah has taught you over and over again this year? I hope you will take the time to reflect and ponder upon it. Because I can guarantee you, whatever it is, it is something that Allah knows is crucial to your self-growth and essential to your journey back to Him.
And ladies, if He keeps giving you the same tests, over and over again, there might just be something that He is trying to tell / teach you that you have not realised yet, or something that you might have missed.
These repeated tests are not because He is angry at you (we have to remember that our Rabb is ar-Rahman, the Mooooooooooooooooost Compassionate), rather, maybe it is Him trying to tell you, "my dear, there is something so important that I want you to learn. It will benefit no one but yourself. But you've got to stop being angry, stop being frustrated, and stop giving up. Instead, be still and find Me in these tests you are facing. Find Me in your struggles, and you'll then understand why it happened the way it happened. Find Me in your hardships, and you will get yourself a firm handhold that will never break."
May we use the rest of the year, and all of our lives, to find Him in our everyday. May we see His Greatness, and His Kindness, and His Generosity and His Love, in all that we do. And may we never tire in our pursuit to be closer to Our Beloved.
And that, is my sincere prayer, for every single one of you.
I'll "see" you in January, In Sha Allah! Please take care of your heart, your mind, and your body!
Love + prayers always,