The “Bible in 20 Years” Plan

I love setting goals for myself, but I absolutely hate it when I do not meet those goals. Sometimes, I set goals that are impossible to meet; so, when I do not meet them I get frustrated, but I move on. Other times, I set realistic goals that I fail to meet and I end up just getting angry with myself which pushes me further and further from meeting my goal.

In my New Years post, “Cheers! Here’s to not Having New Years Resolutions”, I discussed my goal of finishing the Bible. My goal had originally been set for my fifteenth birthday, but instead I pushed it back to my sixteenth and when that was not met either, I gave up. I became angry with myself that I could not meet a goal that was so important to me.

This past Sunday I visited a new church and in the sermon, the pastor talked about seriously seeking to further your relationship with God. He then talked about how he does not mean that we check off our Bible in a year plan, but lack a prayer life and have hardened hearts. I laughed to myself at this because I understood exactly what he meant. When I first set my goal to finish the Bible my heart was not open to what God wanted me to hear, I was just reading it because I thought it would make me a better Christian. Over the last few years I learned that it was important to not only spend quality time reading God’s Word, but to balance it with time spent in prayer. Without a prayer life, I could not focus on what I was reading because it just appeared as words. When my prayer life changed and became a more important aspect of my relationship with God, it changed the way I saw the Bible. I would read it and feel God using it to speak to me and answer my prayers. Suddenly, I was not just reading, but I was learning and growing closer to God.

Well, I have finally finished the Bible. Towards the end of 2014 I decided to pick up my “Bible in a Year” plan and finish it. It only took me five years past my original goal, but I did it. I now know that if I had finished the Bible by the time I was fifteen, I would not have learned nearly as much as I did. I would have read it just to say I finished. This time,IMG_7126 it was something that was between God and I. Eventually, I did discuss it with someone who did nothing but encourage me in it and ask me what I was learning from it. I am only sharing it now to encourage others. Am I proud to say that I finished the Bible? Of course I am. Do I think I am a better Christian for it? Not at all.

It is not about how old you are or whether or not you read the Bible through in through. What is important is that you are seeking to learn more and are searching in both prayer and His Word. The two things coincide and one without the other cannot lead to a fulfilling relationship with God. I have felt a little lost since I finished the Bible because I have no idea what to do next. I am not sure if I will follow another plan or just read whatever I feel lead to, but what I do know is that my knowledge of the Bible is still lacking. I feel like I could read through it over and over again and still have so much more to learn from it. I hope to read it cover to cover, over and over again throughout the rest of my life. It may be another five years before I finish it again, but my goal now is to truly study His Word and try my best to understand it and gather as much knowledge from it as I can.

I have come to see that it is incredibly important to have someone who encourages me in my personal devotion time. I find myself reading, walking away, and not being able to tell you a single thing about what I just read. Having someone who asks me about what I read, what I learned from it, and why it spoke to me in the way it did makes a world of a difference. I long to read the Bible and hold on to its every word, but if I am being honest, it is not always easy. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks about how two are better than one. It says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” I feel that rings true when it comes to my personal devotion time. It is between God and I what I read, what I pray, and what He reveals to me; however, having someone on the outside asking me if I read today or asking what I read about helps me really think about the things I read and retain the information. Then, when I fall away and can no longer answer the questions, that person can help lead me back to where I need to be and help me pick up where I left off.

Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ” Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; when one falls down, his friends can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 

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Smoothies? or Pizza?

I absolutely love smoothies. I love getting up just a few minutes early so I can make a fresh smoothie (and that says somethingIMG_2849 because I value sleep like nothing else). Last school year I think I managed to make a smoothie almost every single morning before classes, even in the winter! I have never been a huge breakfast person, in fact, for a long time I couldn’t eat breakfast. Breakfast is key to having any kind of energy in the morning, especially when you are not a coffee drinker, like me. I realized that smoothies were the perfect breakfast food for me because they are light, still filling, and full of nutrition. I tend to get hypoglycemic, so smoothies were a great way to get my blood sugar up (in a healthy way) first thing in the morning.

Unfortunately, making smoothies every morning becomes very difficult when you are traveling. I could have traveled everywhere I went with my blender and all of the ingredients, or I could have just put smoothies on hold; which I did. Summer traveling kicked off just two weeks after the semester ended and continued through the day before the fall semester picked up. Throughout the Summer I traveled to Virginia Beach (twice), North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, New York City, the Cat Skills in New York, and road tripped through Canada. Needless to say, I spent more time on the road then I did in the comfort of my home.

I tried to maintain a some what healthy diet while traveling, but it was so difficult. When a friend of mine and I road tripped through Canada, we tried to pack somewhat healthy food for two reasons: 1. We didn’t want to have to eat fast food. 2. We knew we would be too broke to eat out often. The trip was only nine days long, but man was my body mad at me by the time I IMG_4022got home. There were days when we would eat relatively well; an apple as a snack, cheese and crackers for lunch, and a hearty meal for dinner. Then, for more than half of the trip, we had days filled with chips (because they were cheap) and reese cups (because we were two girls who loved chocolate and peanut butter). Basically, one day we would consume more than enough calories and the next we would be lucky if we consumed half of what we should have. I had two weeks to recover from my Canada-trip-diet and then I was off to Florida where I ate out every meal for four days. There were two days in between Florida and New Jersey/New York City where I ate my weight in chocolate covered almonds. Then, I had a whopping three days to prepare for the Cat Skills of New York where I spent six days eating glorious camp food; and I swear that this camps only food group was carbs…

After three months of traveling, my body accepted the travelers diet. When the fall semester started back up my diet did not change. Unfortunately, I continued to eat terribly.

Here I am now, about to go into the spring semester and final semester of my undergrad career, ten pounds heavier, and finally trying to get back to where I was seven months ago. I really don’t care so much about the number until the number goes up enough that my pants are too tight. I am at that point.

Yesterday, I broke out my blender again and started my morning smoothie ritual. I went to the store last night and purchased coconut milk, vanilla yogurt, frozen fruit, and some fresh vegetables. I actually really enjoy eating healthy. I love trying to find new recipes to change things up and I love just eating raw fruits and vegetables.

I just finished my morning smoothie and am looking forward to a healthy, vegetable filled lunch; however, I am currently really craving a good greasy pizza….

Here’s to trying to get healthy in the midst of busy, crazy semester!

Cheers! Here’s To Not Having New Years Resolutions…

Life has changed drastically over the last year. 2013 was a rough year. It was a year of see-sawing and hardships. There wasn’t a whole lot of happiness involved. I eagerly brought in 2014 with high hopes of a better year. 2014 started out with difficult decisions and a lot of change. It was not an easy year by any means, but it was such a good year.

2014 taught me many things:
1. “I cannot make my own will into God’s will.” I am a stubborn person; if I want something to happen, I will make it happen. I learned that no matter how much I want something, I cannot make it God’s will. God has a plan for me and He has a will for my life. I hate giving up control and following a will that I do not know, but His will is worth giving everything up for. I wanted something so bad that I convinced myself that it was God’s will for my life. It took me two years to realize that it was MY will NOT God’s.

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Nova Scotia, Canada Photo Cred: My travel buddy Kaitlyn.

2. “A little spontaneity never hurt anyone.” I like boxes. I like compartmentalizing everything. Everything has a place and a time. I learned that it is okay to throw plans out the window and just enjoy the moment. Some of the best things happen when they are unplanned. This summer a friend and I road tripped through part of Canada. Everything in my nature told me to plan every detail of the trip. In the end, we left four days unplanned. We didn’t have hotel rooms booked, we didn’t have attractions to see, we didn’t even have a destination. Some amazing memories were brought out of those four unplanned days. We met a friendly and interesting tour guide who worked over time to spend more time giving us a tour of a boat, we raced a motorcyclist on the interstate, we had some goofy teenage boys flash us their number from the backseat of their parents car, and I got to jump off of a cliff. I learned that it is okay to just go with the flow and see what happens.

3. “Just because plans are made, does not mean that those plans will come to fruition.” I am the kind of person who plans way into the future, writes it down, and then waits to see those plans come to life. I learned that just because I write it down, does not mean a darn thing! I had a three year plan. My plans had already been changed several times, but this time they were written down and set in stone. They were even realistic! Then, my plans were jumbled, and well, put through the paper shredder. God had other plans, so my plans had to be tossed aside.

4. “Even though things may not go my way, I can put my big girl panties on and deal with it.” I learned that in the midst of watching my well thought out plans be run through a paper shredder, I can still smile through it and trust that God knows what He is doing.

5. “God knows what He is doing.” While this is not something that I am just now learning, it is something that I think I am taught over and over and over again. Every time I doubt Him and try to do my own thing, I am reminded that He does, in fact, know what He is doing. He’s got me in the palm of His hand and as long as I trust Him, He will take care of me.

I am not one to get all blubbery and emotional about everything. New years eve came and went and I deliberately chose not to make any resolutions. However, I hope to continue to make changes in my life and set goals for myself.

So, even though they aren’t New Years Resolutions, per say, here are some of my goals:
1. Finish the Bible. When I was thirteen I set a goal for myself to finish reading the Bible by the time I turned fifteen. Unfortunately, I did not follow through. Fifteen came and went, then I pushed the goal to age sixteen. By the time sixteen rolled around I had pushed the idea of finishing the Bible into the way back compartment of my mind. Here I am now, almost twenty, and just now making this goal a reality. I keep track of what I have read on the YouVersion app; therefore, it tells me how far I have to go in terms of percentages. I only have 7% of the Bible to go! While I am excited to finish the Bible and be able to say that I have read it all of the way through, I find myself getting excited about starting all over again. No matter how many times I read a book of the Bible, I always learn something new. (However, it will be a long time before I re-read Ezekiel. Definitely by far the most difficult book for me to get through).

IMG_59222. Graduate from college. I cannot believe that this is a goal within reach. In four months plus four days I will officially have a Bachelors degree in Social Work! Where has time gone? I feel like I just graduated high school and now I am almost done with college. I am so excited to be done with the University and move on to the next step.

3. Start grad school. When I graduated high school I barely wanted to get my bachelors degree, now I am planning on getting my masters. God was a big part of that one. Of course there is still time and I may change my mind, but as of right now I will be spending one year in grad school.

4. Move. I live at home. I was able to live at home and commute all throughout my undergraduate program. Now, it is bittersweet to think that in about six months, I will be packing up my belongings and moving a few hours away. I don’t know how long God will keep me where I am going, but I know it will be at least a year since that is how long the graduate program is. This is where my need to plan everything comes into play. I am moving in six months and I want to know where and have an exact date. That is not how life works. I have a general idea of a fifty mile radius of where I will be moving, but I do not have a specific address or date and that bothers me! God is continuously teaching me to trust Him. He’s got this!

5. Continue to learn how to give myself completely over to God. This is something that I will be working on until the day I die. I know that when I give my life to God to do with as He wants, He will never cease to amaze me. I cannot imagine the things He has planned for me and I look forward to finding out what they are.

6. Write more. I love to write. I am not great at it and I tend to have a lot of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, but it is something that I love to do. It has always been a passion of mine, but it has also been the first thing to be pushed aside when life gets busy. Hopefully having this blog will help me write at least semi-regularly. I am also very private about what I write. I don’t share my writings with many people. This blog is anonymous and I don’t see that changing quite yet, but hopefully in the near future I will be comfortable enough to share what I write with everyone (including people I know).

7. Read more. I love to read almost as much as I love to write. School often times gets in the way of pleasure reading, but I started to change that last semester and hope to keep up with it. (Book suggestions are welcome!)

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Montreal, Canada

8. Travel. Traveling has always been something that I found to be enjoyable, but this summer sparked a new level of interest. After road tripping through Canada, visiting several different states, and going to camp, I have discovered that I want to travel all over. Specifically, I want to take road trips! I don’t know if any road trips will happen this year, but maybe after I graduate from grad school.

9. Become a licensed Social Worker. How crazy is that? Technically, once I get my BSW I can take the test to become licensed. However, since I am going straight into grad school, I am going to hold off until I have my MSW to take the test.

Childcare, 2014 Photo Cred: My childcare friend Heather.

10. This goal has been a goal of mine since I could talk and it will remain as such until it is fulfilled. Get married and become a mother. That is my life long dream and I hope and pray that it is in God’s plan for my life. I have felt called to be a mother for a long time. God laid a love of children on my heart at a very young age. Children have been my passion as long as I can remember. I long to help children in any way that I can, and to one day have children of my own. I have felt God’s call for me to be a mother to many. I don’t know exactly what that means. It could mean that I am going to give birth to a lot of kids. However, after much time has been spent praying about it, I feel like God is calling me to be a mother to those who need a mother. I also feel like He has called me to have my own children, but I have felt a strong pull towards foster care, adoption, and ministry where I can be a “mother” figure to those around me. I look forward to seeing what God uses me for.

All in all, life is constantly changing, but man is it good!