To start off this New Year, I thought I would share with you Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide 2017. Just by clicking on that link, it should automatically download for you to start dreaming for yourself, but I wanted to share with you my own dream guide for 2017.
I am so excited it’s a new year. There’s just something refreshing about a new beginning that is exciting. I’m usually terrified of the unknown, but right now (at least in this moment) I’m definitely expectant at what God is going to do in 2017.
Alone Time/Connect With God
I A L W A Y S struggled to find time with God. Setting time away for just God and myself to be together was difficult. 2016 was the first year I have had a solid quiet time for 365 days. That was only possible through God giving me a deep desperation to spend time with Him. With everything, there is room for improvement, so this year I really want to focus on slowing down. Looking back on last year, the times where I genuinely felt the Holy Spirit, I was slowing down to just be. That’s what I want more of this year–more of just being still and knowing He is God.
I was reminded the other day of 3 John 4 which says,”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” This verse is one that I want more of in 2017. I’ve seen God do some remarkable things in 2016. For example, over the summer I was working a Crossings camp with my church and I got a text message from one of the students I disciple. She wanted me to know she met with another student who didn’t know Christ, and she wanted me to be praying for the girl she met with. In that moment, I was so overwhelmed with J O Y because that text meant all that time, energy, and money was well spent. It was the multiplication process–when a new disciple wants to go and make more disciples. In 2017, I want to be with God so He can lead me to His church to serve alongside and to give where more multiplication will happen to experience the great joy of seeing others walking in the truth!
I get to teach 8th graders every day. There are days where they are the sweetest kids that bring me chocolates when they know I’ve had a rough week, and then there are the days where they are what makes my week rough. BUT they are my ministry. God has placed me in this position to be a light to these kids. The last part of 2016, it was really easy to forget teaching is a ministry. I want 2017 to be different. I want to be reaching out to these kids and ministering to them in a way that screams Jesus. I obviously have to be careful with that, but in the past when I prayed asking God to open a door to minister to these kids, God always opened one. I need to pray that prayer more: God, open a door so I can minister to those around me.
Consistent. This is the 2017 goal here. I get to meet with some pretty awesome girls from my church every week, and because of school and extracurricular activities it can be easier to just say “we can meet next week”, but in reality consistency is KEY. It creates accountability. I want to be consistent with the girls I disciple, but also I personally want intentional mentorship. I have some extraordinary women in my life who listen so well to all of life’s ups and downs, but most of our time together is unintentional mentorship. It’s great when it happens, but I am dreaming BIG here (and expectant) so I would love to have the intentional mentorship!
Friendships/Friends I Need/Friends Who Need Me
2016 surprised me a lot in the area of friendships. The biggest blessing was walking into a coffee shop, asking the barista for an Americano, and buying one cup of coffee turned into a friendship. Sadly (but very exciting), she is leaving for California and a little less than a month. Then an old friendship sparked when we both chaperoned Crossings Camp together. God showed me through this old friend what deep faith looks like and it has strengthened and challenged my own friendship. I even have those out-of-town friends that I got to see and each time it was encouraging. If there is one thing I’m praying for is more friends in close proximity to me. Friends that are passionate about Jesus, digging into His word, and a desire to see others come to know Christ. Right now it seems like everyone is at least two hours away, and the ones from the coffee shop are about to be 2 days away. Regardless, I’m expectant at who God will bring.
I have the opportunity to live with a family from my church. It’s the biggest financial blessing from 2016 hands down, but I would love for God to give me opportunities to serve them. This family has opened up their home to me, and the other night I sat with some of their kids working on a puzzle just doing life together. It’s those moments of just being present that I’m excited to see what else God does. With my co-workers, I’ve been praying about getting a group together to do some sort of bible study. Time is holding me (possibly all of the ladies back) simply because morning/afternoon duty and meetings can be a challenge to juggle, but I would love for that to be a way that I can connect with them more! I have the best faculty/staff anyone could ask for, I’m not even kidding. They demonstrate such selflessness on the daily.
Alright, I am not one to work out at all. It’s the sweating. I don’t like it. I don’t glisten, I legit sweat. It’s ugly. But I have decided it’s time. It’s time to hit the gym (or really turn on a work out video because gyms literally intimidate me–anyone else???). I’m also turning 25 in April and thought that losing 25 pounds wouldn’t be a bad thing either, hopefully by the time I turn 25.
Books to Read
Over the last two years I have become quite the reader, but I don’t like to read fiction. I really only enjoy reading books about the Lord or books that challenge and shape my faith. I have 3 shelves that are full of books that I have read over the past few years, but have about a half a shelf of books that NEED TO BE READ. My favorite two books from 2016 that I read were Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. The two current books I’m reading now are Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen and And He Dwelt Amont Us by A. W. Tozer. Hopefully the future reads of 2017 will be The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp and Wait and See by Wendy Pope. Click on any of those links to get the book!
Dreams/Memories to Make
Around April or May of 2016, I read through the book of Daniel and through chapters 2 and 3, God revealed this great ambition to write a book. I really want to do it, but there’s a huge part of me that is a perfectionist and writing a book means a lot of perfection, which creates a little anxiety. That alone is intimidating, but I know if God wants it, He will make it happen. So it’s a dream to write a book. One of my fondest memories is from college, but it was having people over. I miss that. I would love for 2017 to be full of people coming over and hanging out.
I have friends that live all over the country. This past year I drove to Lexington for the first time to visit some friends in the hospital. I also went to Louisville (multiple times) and had a fun day with one my friends from college. I also have a friend living in Chicago and soon my friends from the coffee shop will be in California. Maybe that means a trip to California or to Chicago. But if money wasn’t an issue, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to Europe or really a beach. Big difference, I know, but that’s what I’m thinking! Really I would just love to have a legit vacation. That would be nice.
God has definitely blessed me with finances, but I know that I can still be better. There are things I spend money on that I don’t need to spend money on. Then there are things like a new MacBook and a potential Masters degree that I know I need to be saving for, not to mention my future. Saving is the goal. Lots of saving. Less spending (and I just dreamed about a vacation, dreaming is nicer than reality sometimes).
I would love to personally grow in the area of being a better cook. I want to try new recipes and branch out on what I can make. Pinterest has helped a lot, but there can be more! I also am looking into a Masters Degree, not 100% what in yet, but I’m definitely thinking about it. There’s this whole blogging thing that I want to be consistent with. Every time I sit down to blog, the Lord shapes my heart in a whole new way; it’s another opportunity to grow deeper with Him.
I have this huge list in my phone of all the things that didn’t get done in 2016. But I have found that I love painting. I painted a mug and multiple canvases for my apartment. I recently did a New York skyline for a backdrop for a birthday party. It’s relaxing. For 2017 though, I want to embrace my inner scrapbooker and create a Remembrance Board (I need a better name) of all the things God has done for me. It will be full of the big moments, the ones I want my kids to know so they can see how God is real in a tangible way. It would also be a conversation starter for guests to ask what something means and then they get to know how God has provided for me. I want to make a recipe book of the ones I actually like! I also have a folder right now of all the letters my students or friends have given me over the past few years and would love for that not to be in a folder, something nicer–scrapbook or binder.
As I filled out the Dream Guide, expectant was the word that kept popping up. It’s the word of the year for me. I want to be expecting what God can do because I know it will be immeasurably more than I could ever imagine.