Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{My 22}

As I look back on year 21, I see drastic change in who I am and who I want to be.  I see mistakes, regrets, joys, and growth, and I see God's hand over it all.  I am now looking forward to the coming year as I decide what ways I want to learn and how I hope I can grow.  Here is a list of ambitions that I have for year 22:

I want to visit Johnson City.
I'll start off with something physically attainable.  Frank and I have been trying to figure a loose 5-year plan recently.  We have the basics down, but regardless of where we go next, we want to someday settle down in Johnson City, Tennessee.  It has four seasons, it's in Appalachia, near rolling hills, and not too far from our parents.  We want to visit sometime this year to see what life is like there.

I want to play for the Lord.
Now this is something slightly physical, and mostly spiritual.  I've known how to play guitar since I was about 9 years old.  I bought my own guitar when I was 12, and that's the guitar I've had since then.  In junior high, I became somewhat skilled at the Bass Clarinet, and got better at it in high school; I learned the Tenor Saxophone for jazz band while I was in high school as well, and I loved it; but I don't own either of those instruments.  I always say that my love language between me and the Lord is through singing praise.  I have been given the natural gift to learn music.  I have been given a guitar, and I should use these two gifts to praise God.  I want to play music for the Lord.

I want to be active.
Maybe you remember my venture last year to get in shape as I ran every week, working towards a goal.  Well I have been commanded not to run or do any heavy impact on my back since I've started visiting the chiropractor.  Instead of running like I did when I was 21, I want to be an active 22 year old.  I want to experience different ways of exercising from all over the world to stay fit: tai chi; different kinds of dancing; kickboxing; hula dancing; new swimming exercises; etc.  I've been wondering if there's a reason in my future for having to deal with this small physical burden; will I be helping people someday who aren't capable of running either?  If I use my time wisely, I can prepare for whatever this is supposed to be for.

I want to be more active.
This time, I mean more active in my faith.  Yes, I have a relationship with the Lord, and I spend time with Him regularly... but I want to work to spend time with Him every day, not just regularly.  I also want to be in bigger and better pursuit of sharing the love of Jesus with others.  In the past 21 years, I have learned how to defend my faith on many levels, I have experienced Christ firsthand, and I have encountered so many who want to know more about their Creator!  I don't want to be half-hearted with spreading the Good News just because I'm intimidated, or because I'm scared of causing a ruckus; I want to shamelessly share Christ's love and message with the world whenever I get the chance to!

I want to be more intentional.
Many of my extended family members avoid each other for one reason or another; it's very discouraging to know how much pride takes over a person's life and drives them away from those who love them most.  I don't want to have that same pride as most of my family members do; I don't want to let my pride get in the way of the relationships I could have with my extended family.  I want to be more intentional in reaching out to them.  Communication has surprisingly become more and more difficult lately as I've had so many obligations taking up my time with no time to relax.  This will be a challenge for me, I will be honest, but I don't want to let life get in the way of time with my family either.

I want to be out-going.
By this, I am not referring to having a more outgoing personality - I already have one.  I literally mean going out into the world.  Over Spring Break, I don't want to stay in Columbia the whole time; while Frank is in Europe, I don't want to stay in Columbia the whole time; over the summer, I want to take days off from work and go somewhere.  Anywhere.  When school starts again in the Fall, I want to take weekend trips, and go places during Fall break and Thanksgiving break.  I want to experience the world outside of Columbia's borders, try new restaurants, go to a new mountain, or a new beach, anything new - with friends and family because it would be more fun to experience than being by myself.

I want to make a difference in the Columbia community.
This semester, I have been able to get involved with Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center, a Christian ministry for women who are pregnant and don't know what to do.  It is a fantastic source of love and help to women who are scared, and God really does great works through the people who work there and contribute to the ministry.  In my short time there, I have already learned so much about the need for mentors and positive role models in the lives of the Columbian people.  Even if it's small, even if I never see its fruits, I want God to use me and work through me to make an impact for His glory in this community.

I want to apply my trust in the Lord.
What does this mean?  I have learned time and time again, and will always be learning about trusting the Lord and His provision and sovereignty over my life.  However, just as in school, if you learn and never apply, what does it matter?  I worry.  A LOT.  A whole heck of a lot.  And then I turn around and say that I just need to trust the Lord.  If I'm telling myself to trust the Lord, so is Scripture, so is everyone else around me, why don't I actually apply this lesson to my life this year?  I don't know what's going to happen in the next year, and I certainly don't know what's going to happen five years from now.  All I can do is apply my trust in the Lord.  I want to start that this year.  Now is a better time than never.

I want to practice a more positive attitude.
I am a pessimist.  I am.  And it doesn't really bother me, because I am also a realist, but I know it isn't good for me to constantly dwell on the negative side of things.  And I'm sure it bothers others.  This year, I want to practice looking at the good side of things again.  I want to see bright side that is good and happy, not just the side that brings the hard truth.  There's nothing wrong with me noticing and accepting the negative sides of things ;just because I ignore does not mean it exists any less.  But I want to be in better practice of enjoying life and not being grumpy about it.

I want to learn how to take it easy.
Frank and I had a talk the other night where Frank confronted me about my work habits.  I work a lot.  He says he can't even remember what I like to do for fun because I work all the time.  Either homework, housework, admissions work, bills and appointments work, or meeting with people work - I load myself down with obligations.  The problem is: the times I've tried to just take a break, I don't have a clue of what to do with myself.  I need  to be busy at all times, that way I feel productive.  But he's right, it does wear me down, and I don't like that either.  I want to learn to find a balance between a healthy work load, and healthy relaxation time.  He's already said that I'm not allowed to work more than eight hours during my Spring Break.  Some might think this is bossy, but I gladly accept this command since I'm usually the one who decides to work way more than that.  I need to practice this healthy balance, and learn to take it easy.

I want to be an encouragement.
Not just to those who really really really need encouragement, but to those who look like they've got it together.  I want to be a positive encouragement, especially to my classmates.  Even on a Christian - Christ-centered - campus, love for one another can get lost in the mess o wanting to live a Christianese life.  I want to be an encouragement to my classmates who live behind 'a mask' and to others who are trying to hide their sorrows.  I want to encourage those around me to be real and to really love.

I want to ask for prayer.
Another thing I want to do this year is be open to sharing prayer requests with those who care about me.  Sometimes,I need prayer from my prayer warriors, but I'm too scared/ashamed/ afraid-of-overbearing-them/intimidated/proud to share my prayers with them because ...I'm too proud.  I don't want people to think of me negatively.  Who doesn't feel that when it comes to prayer?  But that. is. wrong. and. damaging.  I want to practice sharing prayer requests with people I trust because I know from Scripture that sharing burdens with each other is what we are expected to do - I can't carry all this weight on my own.  And I want to encourage others to do the same.  If anyone came to me with a prayer request about anything - you better believe that my heart would ache for you and I would prayer fervently for the Lord to provide for you.  I would not judge.  I want to believe full-heartedly that anyone I go to would do the same for me.  Not that this is something that I don't know already, but I want to believe it.


So this is my 22.  This is what I want to change this year, and this is how I want to grow.  If you are reading this, thanks for supporting me; please pray for me as often as you think about me: that I learn to apply my trust in the Lord; that I grow in my relationship with Him; that I try new things; that I be brave when I face new things, the struggles, life, people, sharing Jesus, truth, and rest.  And PLEASE let me know how I can pray for you.  This year is a year of radical change, and God is sovereign; He chose me, and my life has purpose from Him alone.
Here's to my 22.

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