What I Want to Accomplish in 2018

I was sitting in my office before Christmas listening to a sermon on The Holy Spirit. Instead of being lifted up by, and saying “amen” to what was being said I began to ruminate on whether or not I agreed with what was being said. As a Christian I believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, alive and at work in Christian believers, however I’m not sure about the powers that are said to be granted to believers that have been “baptized” in Him. A lot of this is very inside baseball, as far as Christianity goes, but these are questions that those that Christians are asking. I see these discussions all the time among us.

So this inner reflection got me thinking, what do I believe when it comes to my own faith. Not only what do I believe, but what does the scripture say about these things because that’s ultimately what matters. What do I believe about God? What do I believe about Jesus? What do I believe about the Holy Spirit? Do I believe one can lose salvation? Do I believe in baptism of the Holy Spirit? What does that entail? This is not to say that I am asking IF I believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all these things mentioned, but what do I believe about them, specifically. I realize I need to come up with a statement of faith, a doctrine and an in depth what at that. I need an intensive doctrine that is personal, and scriptural. Not one that is handed to me, or is associated with the denomination I prefer, but one I have researched and one that God Himself has revealed to me. So I started a list of things I want to accomplish in 2018.

This list isn’t completely comprised of spiritual or doctrinal matters, but it’s also comprised of a continuation of my weight loss journey. 2017 brought about a ninety-four pound weight loss with diet alone. I started 2017 at four-hundred and twenty pounds and, as of writing this, I am three-hundred and twenty-six pounds.

We’re two days away from the new year, and I know there are people who are creating lists of their New Year’s resolutions. I’ve already been asked if I have any resolutions. I have goals that I want to reach, but I think the idea of resolutions is as watered down as Christmas has become to the majority of people across the world. However, if we create tangible, meaningful goals for the new year we can accomplish much.

So what is this list I have?

Things I Want to Accomplish in 2018

1. Create a comprehensive personal doctrine that is scriptural.

To be able to accomplish my first goal I need to do more of one thing, and that is reading my Bible. At the beginning of this year I stumbled across The Bible Project . Created by Jon Collins, and Tim Mackie, The Bible Project is designed to show how the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus using videos and reading plans. I absolutely loved getting this fresh perspective on the scriptures that took the Bible and broke it down into the narrative that it was designed to be read as.

Something that has been difficult for me during my Christian walk is to relate biblical passages to my life without having to do philosophical gymnastics to make it work. The problem wasn’t (and isn’t)that the Bible was outdated, but the fact that I was reading the Bible out of context, and always literal. This isn’t to say that I take everything that doesn’t fit into my world view as allegory, or myths, but that I want to make sure I take what the Bible says and think about it as literature written thousands of years ago for a people that are culturally different than I am. Once I’ve understood what was written in context, then I can pull out themes and apply them to my life. This is not to say that some principles and themes are not universal, but that the books of the Bible were written to specific audiences, and are to be understood as such. The Bible was written thousands of years ago for me to apply directly to my life, but it was written thousands of years ago for ancient Israel to apply to their live’s, and for me to read it as such and find the universality from it. I feel as though I’m writing a rabbit hole. This is all to bring me to my number two goal on my list.

2. Read the Bible and understand it.

After I wrote down these two goals I made up my mind that I wanted to accomplish these things, at least in part, by 2018. That made me think, what else do I want to accomplish in 2018?

I’ve already started my weight loss journey in 2017 and, at the time of writing this, had lost about ninety-five pounds with diet alone. My wife and I wanted to make losing weight, not just something we desired because desiring it for years and years hasn’t done anything for us. However, when we began to understand that a lot of our weight gain has more to do with a condition inside of us, rather then us being out of control, it was definitely easier to do something about it because we knew the root problem, and not just a symptom. Trying to control yourself is a lot harder than treating a disease. That isn’t to say, at least on my behalf, that my disease wasn’t created out of a lack of control, but it is to say that gaining control back had more to do with the condition that was created from it.

Now that I have my diet under control I want to add a workout routine to my weight loss journey. Most personal trainers will tell you that diet is 80% of weight loss, however they spend 98% of their time with you discussing workout routines. Personal trainers also try to implement a diet plan and workout plan at the same time.

I’ve grown to embrace the idea of taking steps to goals. Imagine there is this vast chasm, and across it is your goal. Are you going to jump the chasm in one fail swoop and make it across? A lot of times not. Especially if you don’t know how to eat. Working out makes you hungry, and if you’re just going to shove a doughnut in your face after a workout you’re more than likely not going to eat just one doughnut because you’re hungry, and one doughnut is not going to satisfy your appetite. However, if you had a way to eat that satisfied your hunger, and didn’t trigger fat storage you would be in business. This is the concept I had to grasp first. What can I eat that doesn’t trigger fat storage, but promotes visceral fat usage? All of this is to say that by first tackling my diet (the foods I eat) it’s not something I have to focus on at the same time as my workouts, but now that I have a handle on my food intake I can add that next step that will help me across the chasm.

3. Join a Gym and start a regular work out regiment

Nikki and I joined a gym two days ago, and I plan to start immediately. There’s no point in waiting for or until January 1st (as of writing this). That’s one thing, I think, that causes people to fail. I’ve seen people, including myself, set this expectation that everything will start on this particular date. Said person starts on January 1st, goes to the gym, it’s packed, they get discouraged and stop going. Another scenario, said person goes strong January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and then something happens. They eat a slice of cake, they miss a workout, they don’t get to the gym at 6AM like they planned to, or something that isn’t a part of their plan and they stop. This happens all the time. Because I had a lot of instances like this I got my diet right first, and now with this next step I’m not setting time constraints or date expectations to it. I started December 30th because that was the day after I signed up, and I wanted to start my program. I’m not setting any scheduled times for the gym. It opens at 5AM and closes at 11PM so that’s my time constraint. The only thing I’ve set up for myself is 1. A program to follow and 2. five days a week. I feel as though because I’m taking my weight loss journey in steps rather than chucking all of my being at the goal, and not setting too many constricting rules to my journey I’ll be able to get across this chasm.

4. Weigh 220 lbs

Ultimately I want to settle around one-hundred and eighty or two-hundred pounds, but if I can reach two-hundred and twenty pounds this year I will be ecstatic, and that will help me reach a goal I didn’t add to this list, but is a part of my weight loss journey which is to ride a roller coaster. Echoing what I said before the best way across this chasm is just taking steps, and not just practical steps, but also goals. We can get burnt out by not getting to that end goal as quickly as we want, but to have foreseeable goals that are tangible helps out a lot.

5. Write and direct a feature film

This is one of those big dreams that would be amazing and blow me away if it happens, but I need to stop thinking about it as a dream and really look at it as a goal. That’s really all I want to say about number five.

6. Share my experience

I’m no life coach, or anything like that, but I am a person who faces struggles that many others face through their life for many years. I want to share my experiences with those people, and with you who are reading this in the hope that you will find some inspiration, and hope for yourself. I don’t want to place some arbitrary regimen on myself to post three times a week or anything, but I am comfortable saying I will post as often as possible.

If you read this whole thing the one thing I want you to take away from it is this: take your time to do things right. From reading the Bible and at least grasping the concepts it is presenting, losing weight and keeping it off, to writing and directing a feature film, it’s all in strides. That’s a euphemism I always took for granted, but it’s so dense with truth. Jumping over a chasm will usually only lead to falling down to the bottom which then, only leads to a whole new situation that will be filled with it’s own problems. Take things in strides. Think steps, not programs. Programs will never solve your problems, but taking steps toward goals will. Happy 2018.

May God fill this year with wisdom, and discernment. May you be filled with encouragement, and resolve that, even when tough times come, you will have placed stepping stones in your path that guide you to the life you were meant to live.

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