“What are your hopes for 2018?”
When people ask me this, I’ll usually share a bit about what I posted here, but at times, I’ve also found myself saying, “I hope to build further disciples and establish routine.”
I laugh a little as I consider this because life in New York seems to be anything but routine. The only routine is change. But, after almost four years of life here, I wonder if it has to be that way.
In 2014, I moved here after college thinking I’d experience all that New York had to offer, within the limits of my personal convictions. I considered moving on a few occasions (when it wasn't going well), but then I made friends—some at work and others at church.
Still, I didn’t really make many adjustments to how I saw life in the city longterm. I kept going, rarely passing up an opportunity to “cross something off the New York bucket list.”
In all honesty, though, I don’t have a list with the words “New York Bucket” on it. My motivation was, “This sounds like an amazing opportunity, and I’m sure it’s on someone’s bucket list—might as well do it!”
Don’t get me wrong: many of these things have been amazing. However, they alone did not satisfy me or my lingering #FOMO!
THE TYPE-A RACE //
The other day, I was commenting on the level of intensity that comes with NYC-based adult recreational sports. There is no “recreation” about it, unless you spell it like “competition.”
Someone in the circle then said, “Well, what do you expect? New York is basically all Type-A people.” Hmmm, this strikes a chord with me.
At its core, New York City makes a great attempt to be “the place that has it all.” (Well, unless you’re hoping for the outdoorsy ways that those in SF rave about—they likely have us beat there.) I get why this is praised. The possibility of success is very, very attractive.
Confession: That’s why I fell in love with the city; but I pray that’s not why I’m sticking around.
Why? Because that kind of success will only temporarily seem to satisfy.
THE NEEDED BREAK //
This Christmas, I was home in Mississippi for over a week; and on my final night there, I told my dad, “I believe I’m still in the city for its people. I want to catch them when they fall.”
Why did I say this? Well, a few reasons. But most recently because I’ve personally experienced what it feels like to be caught.
How, then, can I say that I’m in a place to “catch New Yorkers when they fall?” Materially speaking, I’m not, which is why I feel like 2018 is the year to establish more discipline and routine.
Specifically, I’m talking about routine that’s built on a firm foundation. Something that never ceases to satisfy. Where does that type of foundation come from? Jesus!
THE SONG TO SING //
This post’s title is the same as a song featured in the movie The Greatest Showman, which tells the story of P.T. Barnum. This particular song is sung by a European opera singer, whom Barnum brings to America for an eventual multi-city tour. While it’s not the film’s song with the most traction (and maybe rightly so), I've been listening to it for two days straight.
Basically, this singer is proclaiming that the greatest things of the world would never be enough “without you.” I resonate with this for two reasons.
First, my human nature agrees, wanting to experience the joy of the world’s pleasures with another. Second, I’m convicted because, as a Christian, my aim is Jesus. I believe He’s the “way, truth, and life,” so instead, I long to sing, “You can have all this world / Just give me Jesus.”
THE PRAYER MOVING FORWARD //
Ultimately, I don’t believe that the things on a “New York Bucket List” are bad. In fact, I quite like the bagel shop down the street and Broadway and the ballet. I do, however, confess my cravings for more and the emptiness those cravings have brought me along the way.
I had to process this reality for much of last year, which is another reason why I’m excited to establish further disciplines and routines in my life this year. And not just any disciplines and routines, but those—like prayer, financial giving, and regular hospitality—that are in line with Jesus and His call.
With that, I’m grateful for the support you’ve shown me along the way! I promise not all of my 2018 content will harken back to 2017, but it will certainly be inspired by those learnings.
My God bless you and keep you with each new day that comes!