Two weeks into 2011, I’m still in the spirit of reflection and preparation for the New Year. The year 2010 contained many tremendous blessings, specific lessons learned, with a lot of things to digest. Hence, I’m taking my time to go through them one by one. However, I also have a feeling that 2011 is going to go by very quickly (it feels like it’s pretty much over already), and if I don’t pay careful attention, suddenly it would be December again and 2011 would be “just another year.” But I don’t want “just another year” – it sounds so unappealing. Plateau-ing is one of the greatest dangers in learning, not to mention the utter boringness of such a state.

I’m very grateful for how God has led me thus far, but I’m not satisfied. 2010 was a great year, but none of its greatness will do for 2011. I want new experiences, new heights to attain, new challenges, basically something different than last year. In fact, I have this urge of wanting to do things that I’ve never done before in my life. To that effect, I’m setting a few goals and prayers that I really want to accomplish this year, God willing, and this exercise of publicizing the list will seal my commitment to pursue each point.

1. Discomfort

This prayer is led by personal convictions that God had laid upon my heart the past few months of 2010. It was simply a realization that my life is quite comfortable, which I acknowledge is a blessing. Of course there are certain pains and struggles, but they’re almost like the luxurious kinds. Most of the world population doesn’t even have the opportunity to suffer the things I call painful, like staying up to debug a program.

Additionally, I believe comfort level is also a dynamic thing. Meaning, if before certain line of ministry or sacrifice may be out of our comfort zone, God helps us to grow so that our comfort zone expands and those things are no longer or only marginally outside of the zone. When that time comes, it doesn’t matter how great the challenge was before or how great a sacrifice we’ve given already, it’s time to take it to the next level and expand.

Being comfortable can be very dangerous. It was a certain comfortable type of people that God spews out of His mouth in Revelation 3. While the comfort that the passage describes primarily applies to our spiritual condition, I think that there’s a strong correlation between physical discomfort and the intensity of the spiritual hunger and thirst for God. So, I’m praying for discomfort this year. Some of the few projects that belong to this category include:

–          Project deClutter – I’m simplifying life by saying goodbye to stuffs that have been around, which I don’t need, but I haven’t been willing to give or throw them away.

–          Mission Trip – Yes, I have never been on a mission trip, ever. So, I’ve made up my mind about going this year and looking at options.

2. Service

This one goes along with the previous point also, but maybe a little more specific. I want to get involved in working with underprivileged children this year. There are many ways to change the world, but this, I feel, is one clear way of making a real difference in someone’s life. I also want to look a little bit more on what this line of service entails. Maybe there’s a chance of God calling me to do some humanitarian work in the future? Who knows? So, how am I going to do it? I don’t really know yet and I’m looking around (if anyone knows of or has had an experience with certain programs, etc, please let me know).

3. Future Planning

At two-point-five years point into grad school, I think I should start planning about the next step. It’s kind of obvious that this next step is going to be much weightier than any previous “next steps”, so I want to be intentional in thinking about it. I don’t to just end up with a job; I want to do what exactly is meant for me to do. Right now, as my interest lies in the energy issues, I’m going to proceed in a somewhat systematic manner to look at the opportunities in this field all over the country.

4. Personal Investment

One of the biggest themes of 2010 for me is friendship; really valuing the individuals whose paths I have crossed in life and learning to actually communicate my appreciation. This year, I want to increase my personal investment in people. This category includes campus ministry, the ANEW network, and other personal projects.

5. Writing Aggressively

Ok, what I mean is writing more seriously, but I just felt like putting “aggressively” on the title because it conveys a certain umph-ness to the point. Whether the result is good or bad, I enjoy the process of writing. I think I’d like my writing to be more consequential this year and of course, to really find my voice and improve everything. I have a few specific goals in mind, but maybe they will change over time, so we’ll see.

I think that if by the end of the year I can look back and see these five things done, I would be very happy and I can truly say, “2011 has been anything but a regular year.”

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