Next piece of exciting news: I've decided how I'm going to spend my 25th birthday, which is rather rapidly approaching on May 16th. I am going to spend my birthday week in Haiti volunteering with Mission of Hope. This Christian organization works in Haitian villages to provide health care, education, food, and the Gospel to the people there. Late one night the first week of January (the night I wrote this post), I started researching organizations abroad to do a mission/ volunteer trip with and found Mission of Hope, and just in the past week took the plunge, committed to going, and reserved a room at the mission headquarters for the week of May 14-21. So I'll walk across the stage at graduation and then hop on a plane four days later, and I am SO happy about it and so glad to be making this a reality. And also, my sister is coming with me! We are both very invested in this sort of thing, and very passionate about doing the Lord's work in the developing world, so this is definitely our cup of tea. I just kind of realized that it's now or never, you know? Of course I can always say that "sometime I'll go on a mission trip," but if you put it off too long, life and other responsibilities get in the way and it often doesn't happen. I decided that it's time for me to practice what I preach, put my money where my mouth is, and DO what I always say I am so passionate about. Life is just too short to wait to do important things later--we need to do them now. So I can't wait to ring in my 25th birthday in Haiti in a few months.
Applying that same "it's now or never" attitude, I also signed up to run my very first half-marathon on April 19th! I have wanted to do this for YEARS and have written about it on this blog many times and had it on my list of goals for a number of years. I know that I'm not in shape yet, or anywhere close, but I realized that I need to register for a race first and then get in shape after that. I need the time pressure of a race date to push me to get where I need to be physically to tackle 13.1 miles. So I have approximately 9 weeks, and somehow, I will be ready. It doesn't matter how long it takes me to run this half-marathon as long as I simply finish it. (Finishing alone would be accomplishment enough for me. I don't really care about my time.) So I'm doing this, and it's going to happen, finally!
I decided the first week of January that 2014 is going to be the year that I make things happen, dust off some dreams that have laid stagnant for far too long, and do my part to craft a passionate and fulfilling adult life. I decided that I need to be more assertive about pursuing the life and career I want. It's not going to just "happen," I have to be willing to work for it and to do things I haven't done before, especially in the job arena. I've realized that the whole idea of someone randomly calling you and telling you, "You know, this position just opened up, and you would be perfect for it," is 100% not a thing, and that you have to network like crazy and make opportunities happen instead of waiting for them to fall in your lap. So that's exactly what I've committed to doing, and it's beginning to work (more about that later), so I'm very encouraged. But just in general, my mantra lately for life has been this: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." And that's just not good enough for me. What I've always gotten just isn't good enough anymore. The same old results aren't going to cut it for me in 2014, because this year I'm just pursuing more. I honestly just want to claim this year for Christ, to declare over my life that this is the year of the Lord's favor, the year that I watch God work in ways I've never seen Him work before, the year that I watch Him do immeasurably more than anything I could ever ask or imagine. I've been tapping into that for my strength and inspiration, and it's been more than enough, because He is more than enough. Make this your year, too. Claim the favor of God over your life, and go out and let Him work through you, because He is the God of new things, of second chances, and of making a way where there is no way. This IS the year of the Lord's favor.
"See, I am doing a NEW thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
"He has sent me . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."