2020: Looking Back, Moving Forward!

Today is a very exciting day for me! It is currently 5:51am as I am writing this, and I am SO excited!! In just 16 days, I will complete my very first reading of the ENTIRE Bible! I have called myself a Christian for many years, but never read the entire Bible cover to cover…after all, it is quite a long book! Today, I wanted to share a little bit about why I decided to read the whole Bible, what I’ve learned from the experience, and where I’m going from here. My hope is that it inspires you to do something to grow your faith this upcoming year to get closer to God, because I promise you, it’s THE best thing you could do for yourself!!!

Last year for the first time, I decided to go to a Church on my own without my family. I wanted to grow and push myself to do things that made me uncomfortable, because I knew that it’s in those spaces that we grow the most. While it was scary at first, it has been so rewarding and fruitful. As I wrapped up 2019, having gone to that church for about 5 months, I spent time praying and reflecting on what God wanted to do in my life in 2020. I felt a pull to read the entire Bible and devote intentional time each morning to the Lord. After praying about it some more, I decided to not only read the whole Bible, but to also choose a word and a verse for the year to help me create goals so that I could feasibly and tangibly grow my personal faith & relationship with God.

The word God put on my heart for the year was “transform” and the verse that went along with it (actually more like the chapter! haha) was Romans 12. This chapter kept popping up, and in my experience when things like that happen, it is not a coincidence. So, with that conviction, I set out to make my goals for 2020 centered around Romans 12. I wrote each one on a little sticky note and hung it up on my wall, with great hopes that I’d accomplish them all this year, while also growing my relationship with God…Which brings me back to my goal of reading the entire Bible! The reason I am so excited today, is because last night my reading was on the books of Romans, which is the exact book where I got my inspiration and goals for the year. I got to re-read the same verses that lit a fire in my heart last year, and I was able to see how much God has taught me through this year!

Transform | The Energy Industry's Guide to Power Plant & Fleet Management

The author of the book of Romans is a man named Paul. His name was not always Paul, it was first Saul! I know, confusing, right? Well, Saul was a Pharisee, which was a group of people who very strictly followed the law in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible). Ironically, they were very much so opposed to Jesus and the idea that he was the Son of God, sent to the Earth to pay the price for our sins. They even went as far as trying to kill Jesus, because they saw Him as a threat to their way of life and to their beliefs. Jesus often rebuked the Pharisees for proclaiming how righteous they were for following the law and all of the rules, but not actually loving people. Basically, the Pharisees were trying to do what they thought was right, but missed the boat and instead were tooting their own horns when they shouldn’t have been, to put it simply. Saul, as I said earlier, was a Pharisee! BUT Saul had an encounter with Jesus that changed his heart (you can read about it in Acts 9) and he became not only a follower of Christ, but someone who would go on many missionary journeys, preaching about the Gospel! I love that. That in and of itself is inspiring to me, that Jesus has the ability to transform anyones heart, even the heart of one radically opposed to Him! Now that, is a transformation!

So, with that new context in mind, I reread the book of Romans. Paul actually wrote this book to the divided church to try and help them become unified again. What I realized that I had never know before, was that like I explained above, Paul himself experienced a radical transformation as he went from being someone who persecuted Jesus, to someone who preached the Gospel. I had never known that before, but it made me appreciate the book even more, knowing that Paul himself struggled and came out transformed, with his heart on fire for Jesus and spreading the Gospel so others could experience freedom and a relationship with God. It’s actually a very practical book, and that leads me to my verse/chapter of the year, Romans 12. I encourage you to read it for yourself!

After I read Romans 12 in 2019, I wrote down some of the things I knew God wanted to work on in my heart in 2020…this is straight from my journal:

  • God is changing the way I think.
  • God is helping me grow. I am still learning to give my WHOLE life to God.
  • God is helping me develop new patterns, he is transforming me.
  • God is helping me learn what His will is for my life.
  • God is teaching me to quiet my mind so I can hear His voice.
  • God is revealing to me what my spiritual gifts are so that I can use them.
  • God wants me to love ALL people and do what will help them, for their good…even if it means not seeking revenge or what seems “right/just” to me.
  • God wants me to just keep doing GOOD! He wants me to not be overcome when bad things happen, but to overcome evil with good.

And so, with those things in my, I created my goals. I made sure my goals were attainable, otherwise I knew they wouldn’t be accomplished. I started with broad goals, such as “Be more Hospitable”, then I broke that down into smaller goals I could actually accomplish such as “Reading a book on hospitality”, “Inviting 2 new people to get coffee”, “Write a letter of encouragement to someone each month”, “Lead a small group at my house”. And that’s what went up on my little sticky notes 🙂 Some of my goals were fun/silly, like take a cooking class with Ed. Some were physical and health-related, such as doing a half-marathon. BUT, they were ALL attainable and related in some way to God transforming me into the person He wants me to be (Yes, he wants me to become a better chef, hence the cooking class! Lol).

So, with all that said, I am just excited and I wanted to share that excitement with you! I’m proud of my commitment to accomplishing my goals. I’m in awe of all that God has taught me through reading His word. I am excited to set my goals for next year and start praying about what word and verse He wants to propel me into next year with. We all need vision in our lives, especially after the year we’ve had. I truly do feel like God has made the word “transform” come to fruition in my life this year and I just want to encourage you to pray and ask God what He wants to do in your life in 2021. I promise, He has something for you! Don’t miss it!!!! Let’s be people with vision, conviction, and action this year!!

P.S.-I’d be delighted to hear your word of the year, verse of the year, goals, or even help you brainstorm if you feel lost! Just reach out 🙂

A Guide to Writing the Perfect Vision Statement (with Examples)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: