Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.
– Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG
Tomorrow I turn 25. It’s simultaneously exciting and little unnerving. After all, 25 years is a quarter of a century! In all likelihood, I’ve lived well over a quarter of my life already. Crazy! God has been continuing to work on me over the past year in ways that I don’t understand, but I’m excited to see what is in store.
As I began reflecting on this year (24), it has certainly been the busiest, most exciting, most productive year of my life. At this time last year, I was asleep on a hardwood floor at a church camp in Ohio. Since that time I’ve been to Maine, California (three times), Washington, D.C. (twice), Colorado (three times plus a move here), Austria, and the Czech Republic – with numerous stops somewhere in between. Often I would wake up and for the moment not be sure what city, town, or even country I happened to be in. I’ve started and completed an MBA and started working in an entirely new industry – taking on a variety of unique jobs.
It has also been a time of deep personal searching. When you start and finish a degree, move several times, and work at several different jobs, life seems to come at you really fast. Through it all, I’ve been reminded that God does indeed have everything in control. If I could’ve planned out the next year of my life on the evening of July 6, 2012, it would not have looked anything like what I experienced this year. And let’s be honest, this reality was way better. I don’t need to know what’s next, because I can trust in a Savior who already knows – and who is big enough to handle anything life throws my way.
But more than these “accomplishments” and struggles, I’ve been genuinely blessed by the people that God brought into my life. I’ve met people from the other side of the world and people that just lived across the hall. I’ve been welcomed into a variety of communities and had numerous experiences that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
God has blessed with some awesome mentors and leaders. Some of these people may not have enough known they were mentoring me, but they provided knowledge, guidance, and wisdom through their words and actions. And they all brought something unique and different to my life.
I’ve had awesome opportunities to grow and maintain friendships from other chapters in my life while making new friends everywhere I go. As someone who has spent a good portion of my life in one spot, it’s amazing to begin to see the church as it exists across the country and across the world.
So to all the people I’ve interacted with over the past year: Thank you!
Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. Thank you for welcoming me into your communities, your homes, your churches, and your lives. Thanks to each of you for showing me grace when I needed it (which was often). Thank you for allowing me to share in just a little of your life. You’ve blessed me in so many ways, and I can never thank you enough. I pray you’ll forgive me if I’ve hurt you and although distance and life circumstances may separate us, I appreciate your continued friendship and think about you often.
Please also don’t take this blog as boastful or read into it that I feel entitled. I realize that everything I have (from family and friends to health to just plain stuff) is a gift that can be taken at any minute. I often feel that these adventures chose me rather than me choosing them. As long as adventures keep presenting themselves, I will keep taking them. When they stop, I guess I’ll settle down. Yet if this would’ve been the last year of my life, I’m grateful for it. I would be able to know that although far from perfect, I’d done my best to pull every little drop of life out of it. Yet somehow, I think there will be more adventures – adventures that I can’t even imagine yet. I look forward to deepening relationships with my old friends and beginning relationships with new friends.
If you can read one book this year, I recommend you go out and buy Love Does by Bob Goff. This particular book changed the way that I view my life, my spiritual walk, and the opportunities that present themselves. I think I’ve bought the book about five times already because I keep giving it away. I also challenge anyone facing unknowns to look at them as adventures rather than obstacles – it’s a small shift in vocabulary, but a monumental shift in thinking.
So what’s next for me? As I’ve already established, I’ve given up trying to plan out every detail of my life. Instead I do have a few large goals that I want to accomplish. I won’t break them out here, but I’d love to talk to you about them in person. I’m developing a small business idea that I had, and it’s going well….so far! I also expect that I’ll stay in Fort Collins for a while. I don’t know what “a while” is, but I suspect when it’s time to move, I’ll know. I do miss Indiana, but I’m incredibly honored to work at a great company, in a great city, and in a beautiful state. Finally, I want to make an impact on the world. I think I know what that might look like, but we’ll just have to wait and see.