I love that everyone loves Christmas. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy of joy and festivity. I wouldn’t expect anything less for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday.
But this year, instead of purely enjoy the holiday and soaking in the good spirits, I thought it would be great time to prepare for the New Year.
I got an extra few days off, the new year is just around the corner, and what better way to map out the year ahead by seeing what God has in store?
As much as I would love for my entire life, or even just the next year to be laid out for me, it never seems to be happen with God. Can I get an amen?
In fact, seeing what God is doing is the equivalent of me squinting my eyes, imagining everything that might be from God, and then screaming UGGGHHH in exasperation because nothing feels right.
And since I don’t expect (although I’m VERY open) to hear a booming “Anthony” from heaven, I thought it might be less error prone and more God-centered if I went through a few steps.
It has the dual purpose of keeping my thoughts a little more in control and not scattering all over the place.
You’ll read it a lot elsewhere how optimistic and successful people always try to start their day with a little thanks, and I think it really is crucial. You’ve positioned yourself in a place of joy and humility.
It’ll take a lot more than bland coffee or a missing sock to throw off your day.
So gleaning off of that mentality, I wanted to start with thanks. The only difference is my appreciation is directed to someone. He’s the same someone that made this past year unimaginably incredible and the same someone that makes me inexplicably excited for the coming year. And He just happens to be the Creator of the Universe so I think it’s quite appropriate!
Thank you. . .
For the men of room 106 who’ve given pillow talk a new meaning and who haven’t allowed distance to compromise our friendship.
For the woman who inspired me to reach for unimaginable heights and awakened passions I never knew I had.
For the opportunity to travel the world and finally see it and lose sight of myself, if even for a moment.
For the vision that burns in my heart and daily challenges me, convicts me, and stirs new life.
For the friends I can call brothers and sisters that are all over the world.
For turning one of the darkest times in my life into an absolute victory.
For these and infinitely many more…
It’s the perfect segway into the next step as I’m more or less a crying mess and so ready to let God be God.
A time of intentional surrender causes you to drop your guard in the secret places of your life, give yourself permission to not know it all, and create space for God to speak.
There are a billion thoughts running amuck in your mind, invading every crevice of your soul and completely disregarding any sense of reason.
Thoughts range from what you’re going to eat for dinner, what life is going to look like in five years, to the best excuse to postpone the meeting with your boss.
Unfortunately, a lot of these concerns, both valid and irrelevant keep you distracted. They cloud your ability to see what’s not only important but the path that God is trying to take you on.
Surrendering is the perfect way to acknowledge you really aren’t in control.
You have to be honest with yourself, honest with God. There’s really no point in trying to fake it; He already knows.
I surrender. . .
My heart, the tears that I cry, the anger that rises up, the offense that I take. Remove them, amplify them, or leave them as they are, but let them be tears for the broken hearted, anger for the oppressed, and offense at the flippancy of mankind. I don’t want to waste my emotions on myself when the kingdom is at stake.
My money. It’s not mine to indulge. It’s not mine to be selfish with. In fact it’s not mine at all. You’ve entrusted it to me because you’re adamant about including Anthony in your story. But more than that, I want to experience you as a Provider, to lean on you even when it’s frightening.
Time as the world knows it. God is not in the business of wasting time and who am I to point fingers when things aren’t going according to my plan? It’s not about seeing the results or not doing as much as we would like. I want to abide in the timeline of God, growing in and enjoying every moment.
Because I’m confident that God has more in store than I could have ever dreamed.
Just when it seems like you have nothing to offer, no aspirations, no ambitions, no thoughts, or energy to hope, that’s when we can genuinely pursue the will of God.
Why? Precisely because you have no desire in you, nothing that can hold you back or interfere with the amazing work that He wants to accomplish in your life.
And what would a good father do when his child comes, hands cupped together, eyes glistening with hope and loyalty?
Fill your hands with every conceivable blessing until your little hands can’t hold any more.
I desire. . .
To see all of life against the standard of eternity, to find value in things that will endure the passing of days. Not when I’m old and have nothing to offer but now, when youth is my weapon, I want to give in to the fire in my heart. I want every fiber in my being to know, truly know the worthlessness of chasing after things that don’t have a place in eternity.
To experience you in personal and miraculous ways, unique just to me. I want to know that my prayers have power and that you not only listen but answer me in my petition. I want to build a history with you in the department of faith.
To live a life that one day I’ll be able to present before you unashamed, a life fully immersed in you. I can’t think of a life lived that’s better than that.
Now the hard part, creating discipline in your every day to accomplish the grand projects you’ll one day accomplish.
But now it’s not a matter of finding out what to do or aimlessly honing random skills but applying yourself to pursuits you feel God is leading you in and having fun or being scared out of your wits doing it.
It’s the daily grind where you separate yourself. It’s your chance to take risks and prove to God and to this world that you have what it takes to excel and to live life superbly.
These are the moments that define who you are and the man or woman you will become. Whether it’s committing to a schedule, going on an adventure of a lifetime, or stepping outside your comfort zone, you decide whether or not God’s reality will become your reality.
I plan. . .
To start a video log
To pray for something specific every week
To travel to Taiwan
To practice piano every day
To reach 1000 followers on Instagram.
To speak before a group on the topic of encouragement
To co-write on 5 publications/blogs
To read 1 book a week
To create a niche market website
To give X% of my money to the kingdom (this one is between me and God)
To move to NYC
To travel across Europe
To go where my heart leads me and do what my mind is scared to do.
To live the abundant life God has intended for me to live full of hope, faith, fervor, prayer, excitement, and love.
Was I hesitant to write this? Yes. Did I think about what others would think if I didn’t reach these goals? Yes. But did my heart tell me to do it anyway? Well, you know the answer.
I hope that each one of you is making BIG plans for the coming year and that I’ll have a chance to hear them. You can always expect me to keep you accountable but I’ll never judge you for failing. Because I fail all the time too.