We all know about those dreaded New Year’s resolutions that we so excitedly make…just to quickly not follow through on a few weeks later as we settle back into the chaos and business of life after the holiday season. At the end of 2019, I decided to make a list of resolutions and to commit to doing them ALL in 2020…But, for real this time! The list quickly grew, and I ended up having about 20 different resolutions. I tried to make them things that I’ve always wanted to do, but always make excuses as to why I can’t, in an attempt to hold myself accountable to actually doing them. I also tried really hard to make them feasible, because I knew that if it they weren’t reasonable goals, they weren’t going to happen.
So now with just 2 months left of 2020, I sit here starting at my wall of sticky notes with just a few of my resolutions left. I put each goal up on my wall to be a visual reminder of the goals I wanted to accomplish this year. Each time I finish a resolution, I get to take a sticky note down! It’s been so much fun, that I may have even already started to make a list of resolutions for next year too! But, alas, 2020 is not over yet…so, back to this year’s goals…
Two of the resolutions that I felt God put on my heart for 2020 were to “Read a book about hospitality” and to “Read a book on loving others sincerely”. Many of my other goals for the year centered around these two things, including: doing 20 random acts of kindness, making it a priority to call the people I love each month (if not more), writing letters of encouragement to people when I felt led to, volunteering locally, getting coffee with new friends, inviting new people over to get to know them, and many more just like those.
Well, here we are, with 2 months to go in the year (which is honestly unbelievable to me!), and I just started reading a book I ordered from Amazon with hopes of meeting my two book-reading goals that I just mentioned. The book is called “The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life”. I’ve only read one chapter so far, but it’s so CLEAR to me that God put this goal on my heart for a very specific purpose as Ed and I navigate getting married and buying our first home, and I just wanted to share a little of that inspiration and story with you this morning with hopes it might encourage your or challenge the way you think about the things God has given you and how you use them.
As a quick update, Ed and I are in the midst of having our first home built and it will be ready for me to move into sometime in February. The home-buying process has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. We’ve spent a lot of time praying, asking, and seeking God’s will for what our future home looks like. There has been pre-mature excitement, disappointments, and many lessons learned along the way that could be an entire other blog post, but the biggest things that I learned through the process can be summed up in these three points…
- My future home is not for me, it is a gift from God that He has given me to use for His glory. (I’ll explain this more later if you’re thinking “Whaaatttt??”)
- Don’t put so much weight in your material possessions. They are fleeting and be taken away at any given moment…terrifying, right? The things we are given are tools to be used, not idols to be worshipped.
- This life is fleeting. If we focus so much on all of our things, we will miss our true mission while here, which is to tell people know about Jesus. Our homes, jobs, etc. could be taken with a blink of an eye. As quickly as God gives, He can take away, so don’t put your hope or happiness in your possessions, but instead, in God.
With those lessons sitting heavy on my heart as we are coming out of the initial frenzy of the home-buying process, I began reading the book I mentioned above, and I am now starting to see more clearly the vision God has for Ed & I’s life and our future home.
God has been convicting me to realize just how short our lives are here and how important it is for us to grasp and understand that our eternity is in Heaven. Not just for our sakes, but for the sake of the people around us who we can share Jesus with. I’ve felt convicted to live with a reckless abandon and desire to tell others about God and how He has changed my life completely. I want to be more BOLD. I want to speak truth and help people experience the freedom a relationship with Christ brings. I want to be obedient and able to say “Yes!” to anything He asks Ed & I to do. I want to love people deeply and to encourage them. I want to provide for others and take care of them, especially in the moments they feel like they can’t take care of themselves…and the thing is, that NONE of those things can happen if I don’t view all my possessions as God’s.
I am learning that I can’t be so focused on my house, that I forget the one who created and gave me my house. I think we so often view “missions” as far away trips to third world countries, and while those are necessary, I’m feeling more and more that God is calling Ed & I to witness to others by using our future home to invite in the people who live right next door to us. I’m realizing that it’s not at all about God blessing us with a home for ourselves, but rather, He is giving us a home for us to temporarily use to invite others in so that we can bless THEM.
So, what “thing” in your life is holding you hostage? What “thing” do you need to give back to God as rightly His? How can you use the things He has given you as a tool to tell others about Him? Bless someone else today with what God has blessed you with! It could be your money, health, job, property, spiritual gifts, or even relationships…I challenge you today to use these things to be generous and to advance the gospel, not yourself! Be a good steward of the things God has entrusted you with. After all, that is WHY he has blessed you with them…to bless others and make Him know!