Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:23-24 (ESV)
In one of the chapters of The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson encourages us to dream big and set life goals for our future. He states that many of us fail to pray for the future other than generic sort of “God bless” prayers simply because we don’t know what to pray for. He adds that as adults, we give up on dreaming thinking instead, we have arrived into adulthood and this is all there is left. Other than planning (or not planning) for retirement, we do not think about our deepest desires for the future or make provisions for those hopes. Batterson suggests that we open up our minds and hearts and allow ourselves to dream again. To think about what we would like to do if there were no constraints upon us. While Batterson does not claim that God is our “fairy godfather” or “Genie in a bottle,” and while he reminds us that God will only answer the prayers that we ask for in His will and His name, he reminds us that we do not have because we do not ask. And we cannot ask if we do not know what we are asking for. I have had much discussion about this section with friends because many of us have been trained to only ask God for what we need and it is difficult to think of bringing extras and extravagances beyond our daily needs to God in prayer when there are so many in this world who are neglected and suffering. But, I did spend some time making a list of life goals because if I want to do these things in my lifetime, they will require some planning, some saving and in fact, some divine intervention. As Batterson says, when we have a list of things we would like to do, we see opportunities and are willing to make the choices that will allow us to do them. With the caveat that I do not believe in the “name it and claim it” mentality and with the understanding that I would not want any of these things if they were not part of God’s plan for me or allowed me to glorify him, here are the fifty-five life goals that I have chosen in honor of my upcoming fifty-fifth birthday. In no particular order and with one edit that I am not going to share in a public space, this is what I would like to do before I die (and you are correct, I do not have any grandchildren yet-this is about the future after all!):
1. Be married for more than fifty years.
2. Take every member of my family on a mission trip.
3. Be the day care provider for my grandchildren.
4. Take my husband and my children to Israel.
5. Not going to tell you!
6. See grandchildren and great grandchildren dedicated to God.
7. Pay for grandchildren’s college education.
8. Take my grandchildren to swim with the dolphins.
9. Build a tree house for my grandchildren and spend the night in it with them.
10. Go on a mission trip to every Orphan’s Heart ministry site.
11. Spend six weeks at the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala.
12. Publish Eliza’s Story and at least two more novels.
13. Become a speaker at Women’s Conferences.
14. Teach at a college.
15. Go on a mission trip to Cuba.
16. Teach a class at John Campbell Folk School.
17. Train young people to take over my role as historian/historic preservation officer for our community.
18. Write a New York Times Bestseller.
19. Save someone from slavery.
20. Help to start a new church.
21. Change careers midlife that will allow me to directly impact people and the next generation
22. Ride a horse in the water and swim on its back.
23. Ride the Cracker Trail across Florida.
24. Live in the mountains for a year.
25. Build a house for someone.
26. Finish restoration of the Vanderipe House.
27. Raise a guide dog puppy.
28. Grow 25% of my own food.
29. Learn to can and make jelly.
30. Finish my quilt.
31. Get a doctorate degree.
32. Participate in a Sound of Music Sing-along.
33. Swim with the Tigers.
34. Attend a taping of a Beth Moore Bible Study.
35. Swim naked in the ocean.
36. Buy a Florida Cracker Horse.
37. Run/Walk the Disney Princess Half Marathon for Team Freedom.
38. Be healthier at 65 than at 55.
39. Save $1,000 each year to give to a family (or families) in need at Christmas.
40. Be debt free by 57.
41. Give enough to Orphans Heart to support a Nanny for a year.
42. Tithe or give 50% of my earnings each year.
43. Visit the Grand Canyon.
44. Walk across the Hoover Dam.
45. Travel the Pacific Highway (from south to north) on the back of husband’s motorcycle.
46. Go to New York City at Christmastime and see the Rockettes Christmas Show.
47. Spend a week in Washington, DC and attend National Community Church.
48. Tour the entire state of Michigan, go to Greenfield Village, tour an automobile factory, see Sleeping Dunes Park, the Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes.
49. Go on a cruise to Alaska.
50. Visit Maui, Hawaii.
51. See the wild horses at Chincoteague Island.
52. Drive across the United States.
53. Visit Ireland and Scotland.
54. Stay at Cannon Beach, Oregon for a week.
55. See Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
So, what about you? What are your life goals?