Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Looking toward twenty-four

Before my birthday, I always take time to reflect on the last year of my life. It was harder this year, just because more has happened in these 12 months than any others before. There's a lot of change to process, both good and bad.

I have become horrible at journaling over the last six months, which I guessed might happen once I started working full-time. I was looking at my extensively detailed journal from last year and read this entry from April 26, 2010. It was even written at about the same time as I was reading it.

In less than an hour, I will be 22. This has been a really good year, my 22nd year. I feel different about this birthday, like I'm really older -- an adult. I think it's because I know such a huge change is happening this year and that will change who I am, too. Like Josh has said, in Colorado, nothing has to hold me back from being the person I want to be and doing what I want to do. There are no expectations or preconceived ideas. It's a fresh start. I feel ready to make my 23rd year a really fabulous one. I want to have extraordinarily good relationships, I want to live an adventure, and I want to dream big. Here's to 22!

It's sobering to read my hopes and goals for this last year. I knew unimaginable change was approaching, but how can you anticipate what that really means?

In many ways, I have grown a lot. There are things I've done in the last year that I had never done before:
  • Get a full-time job.
  • Work in ministry.
  • Lead a student life group.
  • Mentor others.
  • Teach a large group alone.
  • Work two jobs.
  • Lead worship with hundreds of people.
  • Make meaningful friendships quickly.
  • Develop multiple relationships with people of different ages.
  • Develop skill in dancing, singing, design, photography and acting without fear of failure.
I realize in myself a confidence, courage and resilience I've never had before. But as I grow in so many outward areas, I also feel a weakening of my spirit. A year ago, when I had so much time on my hands and so few responsibilities, my prayer life was constant. I felt like I found new insights in God's Word every day. I wasn't engaging in ministry; I wasn't being used in very many lives or giving my talents and gifts fully to God. But I spent so much time in communion with Him.

How do I do both? How can I give everything I have to God and still have the time to know Him? How can I develop my spirit while developing my actions?

The rest of this week, I'm going to look for a word from God that answers these questions. Lord, guide me in Your Word to know your plan for this year of my life. Help me to seek growth in the areas that You care about, not in the areas that are important to me. Not in the areas that seek people's approval more than Yours.