On my 24th birthday last year, I remember feeling this pressure. Every year on your birthday, you feel this pressure to be satisfied with the year before, proud of what you’ve accomplished, and happy about the areas you’ve grown in. Last year, I remember sitting in a french bakery with a good friend of mine in tears as I felt that pressure and didn’t feel satisfied. There was something in me that just wasn’t proud of what I accomplished in the last year, done with my life, succeeded in. Maybe it was the fact that I was 24 and just about to finish my undergrad, or that I wasn’t sure where I would be living or what I’d be doing in the next 6 months…it was a crazy season that felt a lot bigger and full of pressure than necessary. Sure, it had been a good year and God had done a lot but as I got to that day, I just didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of satisfaction and contentment.

I’m happy to say that as I approached my 25th birthday, I was dumbfounded at the sheer contrast between this year and last. Whether it’s a shift of perspective, a change of heart, or the simple (yet so complex) goodness of God, I came to this day content, satisfied, filled over and above and grateful. Grateful to look back on a year of so much. From events like saying “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to serve Him in Croatia with my life or finishing undergrad at Moody or moving into a 100-year-old dreamy apartment in Buena Park with 5 friends; this year has been full of so much goodness. Of course some hard things, like relationships that cause me to draw near to Jesus (hard at the time but SO good in the end), selling my car and becoming a full on Chicagoan biker/commuter, and really digging deep into what it means to be here now and also prepare. I’m leaving 24 with a lot less baggage, a whole lot of healing, and a bigger heart. I have a hunger to do more and be more not just to say I’ve done it or learned it or become it but to know Jesus more, to serve Him wholly, to glorify Him deeply.

As I make this next trip around the sun my prayer is that this verse (Gal. 2:20) would ring true and these lovely words from Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

“I don’t think that we let our hearts consider the wonder of this identity enough. By grace, we are the temple of the Most High God. By grace, he lives in us. By grace, his power is at our disposal. By grace, he fights on our behalf, even if we don’t have the sense to do so. By grace, he works within us to complete the labor of grace that he has begun. By grace he animates us to desire to do what is right. By grace, he exposes and convicts us.  We are able to choose to do what is right only because he lives in us and gives us the power to do so by his grace. He hasn’t just forgiven us, he’s taken up residence in us, and in that there is real hope.”

Year 25 intentions:

  1. Memorize Scripture. Ever since finishing Bible school, I can’t say I spend a ton of time memorizing verses. I don’t have to worry about weekly memorization tests. But what a valuable thing.
  2. Well-rounded health. Sleep. Diet. Exercise. Mind.
  3. Dedication and Diligence. I know this year ahead will require more dedication and diligence than ever before as I step into a season of asking God to mobilize me to get to Croatia. Dedication to Him, His Word, time management, people, church, etc. and diligence to do everything will God-honoring excellence.
  4. Expectancy and Anticipation. In a season where the next thing to look forward to is “when am I moving to Croatia” it’s easy to not live everyday with expectancy and anticipation for the here and now. There is SO much that God wants to do in the everyday that when we live with a one-track-mind, we miss out on so much. I don’t want to miss anything that the Lord has for me.
  5. Whole 30…I’ve seriously been saying I’m going to do it for 3-4 years. Just gotta do it. Even though I already mostly eat paleo, I gotta do whole 30.
  6. Read 1 book each month (at least)

Here’s to a year of more grey hairs, wrinkles around smiley eyes, and drawing near to the Father’s heart 😉

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