Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Project 18: An Introduction

It's the mountains, figurative and literal, that really challenge us in life.  Killington Mountain, Vermont, from the Under Armour Vertical K race I did there August, 2017.
Sometimes in life, we need to choose, purposefully, to challenge ourselves so we can move over the mountains we are already in the midst of facing.  Instead of the pursuit of pleasure, it may be through the pursuit of pain, that we grow the most and are capable of achieving more in life.

Perhaps, in this case, pain is not the right word.  Perhaps...in order to face a mountain, a person must seek out different ones in hopes of making oneself stronger for the hardest ones of all...the stresses and pains of everyday life...the losses one feels from sins and mistakes made over the years...hurts made and hurts received...dreams dashed...loneliness in a sea of people...death...

Now I'm not meaning to sound morbid or depressed.  But why do we challenge ourselves?  Type A or Type B, it all boils down to one thing...seeking a better self in the midst of feeling inadequate or not 100% yourself.  That said, before I go any further, I believe a truth that many may not believe or perhaps have not pondered that I learned one day when I use to be in ministry.  A fellow pastor mentioned this on a podcast: "Most people, in their lives, seek to perform certain actions or achieve certain accomplishments in order to obtain an identity.  But, as Christians, our identity is established in Jesus Christ, and out of that, flow our actions."

Christian or not, it's important point to think about:  do our actions lead to our identity or do our actions flow out of our identity.  Doubtless, some will say it's a circular argument, that our actions lead to our identity and then out of our identity flow our actions.  But, if that's true...why are so many of constantly recreating our identity every passing year, if not every passing season?

Food to ponder...unfortunately, not really the point of this blog...but the point of this blog includes these thoughts in my own mind...because in 2018, under Christ, I want to change who I am.  Hence, Project 18.  It's simple really, my goals are these:

Read 18 chapters of the Bible a week, on average, during the year.  This is to draw me closer to God and an understanding of who He is and I am.

Run 18 miles a week, on average, during the year.  2012-2015, this was not a problem.  But the last two years have seen a significant drop and struggle in my running, despite some good races.  

Lose 18lbs by the end of 2018.  I need this for my running, my work in retail, and my home life.  I need to be stronger and fitter to "do life."

Give out 18 encouraging, helpful, meaningful, and/or positive comments to others a week, on average.  This is to challenge society's as well as my own desires, to be critical, cynical, or gossipy about others.  

Raise $1800 by the end of the year for Blood:Water.  This is an organization I have raised money for before and believe in as they help several people groups in Africa with water and HIV/Aids issues.

None of these are huge mountains, but right now, where I am at, they will each challenge me in 2018.  Two weeks in, I am already feeling the challenge.  These won't be easy, but they are all possible.  In the end, whether I fully accomplish each one or not, I hope the differences will make me a better servant of God and others...for that is my identity...and I need some reminders of it.


Snowshoeing, January 2018.

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