This past Saturday, I turned twenty-nine. I have never been more excited or pumped about the future, than I am right now. Even though I don’t know what the future holds, I do know Who holds that future. And so far, it has been quite a journey. The Bible says that our life is like a vapor, quickly vanishing. Life is too short to not live it for the benefit of other people. A life lived for “self” is a wasted life and there is no reason to wake up to this reality at the end of your life – because that would be an irreversible catastrophe. As I finish up my twenties, here are ten ridiculously ambitious things I want to accomplish before turning 30 in exactly one year. I hope they help you develop clarity, at whatever stage of life you currently are in.
1. Display A Reckless Faith. Do things that will drop people’s jaws. In a good way. Jesus has all the resources in the entire world. All authority and power has been given to Him. There is nothing that He cannot accomplish. Impossible is nothing. I want to follow Jesus so recklessly, that it wont make sense to anyone who is watching. We worship someone who was born to a teenage mom, was absolutely broke and homeless His entire life, was abandoned by His closest friends and was mercilessly murdered. And then we are commanded to follow Him. What a ridiculously reckless mission to be a part of. But then we read Matt. 19:29 and it begins to make some sense. Actually the only sense that can be made from this world. Or the next.
2. Love People As They Are. When God looks at us, He does not see us as we are but as Jesus is. We should image the same attitude. Forget about overnight change. You are in this for the long haul. Meet people where they are at. Don’t try to have people meet you where you are. At the most basic level, when people interact with someone who calls themselves a Christian, all they want to see is Jesus. Do not ever take yourself too seriously. You are a mere human. Your every breath is controlled by God. Every time you feel your pulse, you need to be reminded of your mortality. This is both humbling and sobering at the same time.
3. Make People Feel Super Special. Try to make people feel like they are the center of the universe. More face to face. Less texting and facing.
People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
I am sure that I will fail at this. But failure is not a person, it is an event. It can be rectified and not repeated. Stopping and saying hi to someone, when you are in a hurry somewhere. Thanking someone when they least expect it. Helping out when asked. Simple. Do it.
4. Strive For Clarity In Every Conversation. To be unclear is to be unkind — say what you mean and mean what you say. Vulnerability is the new currency. If we don’t demonstrate at least a small level of vulnerability, then we run the risk of displaying dishonesty which leads to hypocrisy. Less talking. More doing.
5. Create Relational Equity. Friendships are developed slowly and over time. Trust can be broken quickly and lost, expediently. The more relational equity you have with people, the more grace you will experience from them. Learn to disagree agreeably. Less announcements. More content. Action always beats intention.
6. Get Better At Preaching. After guest preaching at a church, one of my friends came up to me and said “Keep putting in those ten thousands hours.” Which was a friendly reminder that I needed more practice. Make much of Jesus. Prep time in prayer. More clarity. Less points. Land the plane on time. Turn your critics into coaches.
7. Learn To Say No. You have to learn to say no to good things so you can say yes to great things. Jesus repeatedly said no to things to invest into eternal things. He declined a prestigious political office (Lk. 19:28-44), decidedly spent time with some rather than others (Lk 6:12-16) and despite hectic crowds demanding his attention – went away to be in a quiet place to pray (Lk. 5:16). Somehow, the world will still function. God will take care of it. You do not need to be the messiah of every mess or the king in every catastrophe. Some things in life are so confusing that you just have to trust a big God who will take care of it all in the end.
8. Empower More. Micromanaging is dead. Allow people to flourish in their craft. Give more responsibility. Coach more. Criticize less.
9. Become Methodical In Every Situation. Ask questions, before taking on a new assignment or interest. Ask yourself these three questions:
1. Does this fit into my overall mission and vision for the specific life I am leading?
2. Does this contribute to what my gifts and talents are?
3. Does this help me perpetuate my process of sanctification? If the answer is yes, slay your dragons and full speed ahead. Time is ticking.
10. Front Load Everything. Finish things a few days before they are due. Arrive early everywhere. Shock people with punctuality. Fall in love with the buffer zone. Perfectionism is procrastination in a murderous disguise. Don’t fall for it.
I will most like fail at every one of these at some point during the next year, prior to turning thirty. But that is ok. My identity is not achieved but received. My life is hidden in Christ. Not accomplishing something won’t define me but rather it will refine me. Failure is a part of life but it does not define your life. Jesus extends grace. It is ok not to be ok. Bu it is not ok to stay there. Realize, Repent, Restore and keep moving forward.
All of these things will take a life time to master. We can configure the starting process. We have no say over the finish line. Jesus saves us and is sustaining us for a particular purpose.
Don’t wait to find your purpose but rather begin living with a purpose.
Look at every sphere of your life through a gospel-centered lens. You only have one life to live. Make it count. Go.
Request: Please leave a comment if you have a question about any of the above ridiculously ambitious goals – and I would love to answer as best as I can. What are you attempting to accomplish – by the grace of God – in the particular season of life that you are in? I would love to hear about it and see if I can help you get further, faster – in whatever it is that you are doing.