We live in a world obsessed with hurry. Many of us are always rushing, often anxious, and still feel like we can’t get anything done. I know these things, and yet I still struggle with hurry as much as anyone.
When we become trapped in hurry, it’s easy to miss out on the “finer things” in life.
One thing hurry robs us of is the chance to pause, reflect, and celebrate. For most of us, celebration doesn’t happen as often as it should. While it may not seem like an efficient use of time (why would I celebrate when I have so much to do?), celebration adds meaning to life and makes special moments taste even sweeter.
In other words, celebration helps create memories.
So let me challenge you, as well as myself, with an idea. What if we took some time before we close the door on 2018 to celebrate some of the highlights and milestones from along the way?
Here are five memories I’ll treasure from 2018. This could be a much longer list, but it’s a start:
Spring Break OKC Mission Trip
This was our second year to take a spring break trip to OKC, and both trips hold a special place in my heart. OKC will always be home (after all, I spent 20 years of life there…how could it not be?), and it brings me joy to share this place with my Crestview family.
This year we cleaned up trash, raked leaves, laid compost, and sorted and packed food at the OKC Food Bank. Service is one of our youth ministry’s favorite things to do, and I love getting to work alongside them. In our free time, we watched a Thunder game, took over Quail Springs Mall, and ate Braum’s ice cream together.
Some of my favorite memories include staying up late with the guys in my room (124 for life!) and orchestrating a prank involving LOTS of saran wrap. So many laughs along the way. So many stronger relationships after we got home. This was a good week.
Knowing it might be our last trip without kids for a while, Mary and I went to the Pepperdine Lectures in May. We stayed at an AirBnB in Santa Monica that was within walking distance of the pier. We enjoyed the classes and keynotes, but we enjoyed the extended time together even more. We had several conversations about our hopes and dreams for our future family. It was a wonderful week.
Just one regret – it was too cold to go to the beach except for a quick trip to Zuma on our last day in town. We still only got toe-deep in the water, but we weren’t going to go the entire trip without one visit!
Honduras Mission Trip
For our youth ministry, the defining moment of the summer (if not the year) is our High School Mission Trip. This was my third summer mission trip with this group, and my second to lead. We took 42 students and adults to spend a week in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where we built houses, played with kids, and saw God’s love manifest itself in many ways.
I was so proud of the attitude of our group that week. I saw growth, maturity, and Christ-likeness in each student who came on the trip. It was a treat to watch our students put their faith into action. I was blessed to experience that trip with that group.
For years, I have wanted to to compete in a triathlon (more on that here and here). In 2018, I finally worked up the guts to do it. On July 15, I participated in TriWaco, finishing the sprint distance. Even with all the training, the swim was grueling (needless to say, open water swimming is VERY different from swimming laps at the gym). Still, my first race was an incredible experience and I can’t wait to do another one.
That being said, next time I might do a race in the fall, so I don’t have to do the bulk of my training in June and July. I ran way too many miles in 100-degree heat last summer!
Obviously, the birth of my child had to make the list, right? Seriously, I can’t put into words what that experience was like. After all the months that Mary was pregnant, all the dreams about our future, the baby showers, decorating his room, and anticipating the life change that was about to take place, there was an incredible rush of emotion in that delivery room.
And now, even five months later, I still feel more love for that boy with every single day that goes by. Parenting is the hardest, but most rewarding thing, I have ever done. (And having a great partner like my wife makes it even more fun. I like to think we make a good team).
In short, 2018 was a wonderful year for me. Several highs, a few lows, and constant reminders of God’s faithfulness and provision in my life.
Now what about you? How did God bless your life this past year? Perhaps you’re like me, and you think in moments. Or maybe, when you look back on 2018, you remember specific accomplishments, deeper relationships, or significant transitions.
Whatever it was that stood out to you from this past year, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect and remember. And if you do, I would love to hear about it! Feel free to share your Top Five with me in a comment on this post, a Facebook message, or a text.
Let’s send 2018 off in style and celebrate the wonderful year that it was!