If you know me at all, you probably know that planning is not my favorite activity. I’m a good planner,  mind you, but more of a “wait until the last minute, figure out all the things that need to be done, and do them” kind of woman.

I hate things like project plans (ironically I’m currently a project manager by profession), because I would rather be doing or strategizing than writing a list and crossing it off. No, I never make a grocery list either, which is why I can go to get things for Christmas dinner and forget the most important items.

So it falls in line I don’t make typical new year’s resolutions. I do think about the new year and evaluate my life. There’s a little holiday break in there and it seems to come up. Last year I had one goal… be more active in my work day. Major fail…..but I am not giving up on it because 2017 has ended.

I have found myself laying around a lot the past month….pain and illness and such taking over my life.  Not my norm, and it was frustrating. But I spent a lot of time thinking things through and I realized something. My life feels a bit stale. Not just because of the forced time out, but even before. I have realized lately I am not trying new things or seeing new places. Both of those things are part of who I choose to be, so a life lacking in them is not me living my life to the full.

I had lunch with my friend Mirielle some time back, and this sassy girl challenged me. I have thought about it ever since. Before I tell you what she said to me, let me tell you a bit about her. When Mirielle was about to begin studying at Chapel Hill, we had dinner when I said “Oh, I’m going to miss you so much when you go away.” She said “Why? I’m coming home every weekend.” I am sure my face showed sheer horror. We then had a conversation that began “Nooooo……you can’t do that!”

The first weekend, she was home. I shook my head at her and she said “Really…..I am going to  stay there some.” And then she did…..and learned the joy of it…..and I barely ever saw her.

But there’s more. She graduated. She started traveling. She loved it. She didn’t wait for someone to come along and do the typical group of friend trips to the same destinations everyone else her age went to. She went by herself, to wherever caught her fancy, and stayed in hostels, or possibly in her rented car. She is more outgoing than me, but you never would have seen it those first years I knew her. She was quiet.  But she meets people easily and has learned to ask for both advice and help. She’ll talk to anyone. She has learned to read people well and figures out who to spend time with, and who to avoid. You may be able to tell, I am not only proud of her, but she has become a role model for me.

Back to our last conversation. Knowing my love of new places and adventure, she called me on my current staid life. She challenged me on not taking advantage of opportunities to get out of my comfort zone. I have a few valid constraints, but still she made me question why I’m not pushing my boundaries more. Why I’m not working harder to live a life more reflective of the things I love most. Lots of food for thought.

I believe the biggest sin in most of our lives is that we don’t live our purpose. That we disrespect this big world God has created for us and box ourselves in. Now, don’t get me wrong. Everyone is not supposed to travel like I am. It’s a definite passion for me, but it is not for everyone. (It’s not for most of my family, for instance.)

But still, we all have passions. We all have adventures to experience. We have weaknesses to strengthen. Fears to test. Skills to develop. Talents to use. People to serve. We all have purposes to live. They look different. But they are the same in that they add the blood to the body of our lives.

I’ve talked before about the experience of seeing a friend come back to life during a transfusion. It was amazing. Totally from death to life. From comatose to talking and laughing. I think a lot of us need a few pints of blood. And/or a good kick in the pants.

I’m resolved this year that I am going to meet at least one challenge a month. It may not even be one per calendar month. Just 12 challenges. A dozen. It seems like a good number.

These may not be big things to anyone else, but they will be something God is telling me to explore. It may be a town. It may be a state. It may be a country. It may not even be travel.  It may be doing something that scares me. It may be something you wouldn’t give a second thought. Because we are all different and have different hurdles to jump. But I am going to leave my comfort zone at least 12 times.

The thing I know is this…..these things will not be careless for me. They need to meet a need in my life. A weakness. A fear. An adventure. A challenge. A thrill. A service. A way to think about where I am and whether I am headed in the right direction….or whether I need to change a direction. Or detour. Some may be mustard seed things. Some may be mountains.

I need more zest for life…..and Mirielle has more than most people I have met, of any age. So I am going to meet her challenge. Probably not in the way she would do it. But that is good and right for me. We take the challenges of our friends and make them our own.

A new year looms. Are you good with a repeat of last year? If not, where are you headed? Make a plan. Or don’t. Just open your eyes wider and do what needs to be done. That is what works for me.

May your 2018 be rich and full and happy. May you live your purpose. You’ll know you are there  when you are living your life in a way that honors your beliefs, your loves, and your passions. And when you know the world is better because of you.

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