2018 can be summed up as the year of learning to walk by faith and not by sight. I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious and prayed so hard about the uncertainties of my life than I have this past year, but God has been faithful for all 365 days. As I look ahead to 2019, I know it’ll be another year of uncertainty, but with God’s help and leading, what will happen this year will blow away any of my expectations.
I’ve never been the type to make specific new year’s resolutions, but I do take time for some self-examination to identify broader areas of improvement for my life. While some of these areas involve more specific personal goals and milestones, these opportunities for improvement require more of a whole lifestyle change rather than simply a short-term habit adjustment. With that said, here are five areas I hope to improve on in 2019 and beyond.
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.Jonathan Edwards
DO justice, LOVE kindness, WALK humbly with God
Quoted from Micah 6:8, this verse sums up well what a godly life should entail. Lately, “doing justice” has been constantly on my mind and heart, perhaps due to my work advocating Dressember. I hope to continue to get involved in causes like combatting human trafficking, orphan care and adoption, improving education, and increasing the quality of health care through technology. Not because it’s trendy, but because it’s biblical. It’s loving those who were created by the same God who loved me and gave Himself for me. It’s giving a voice to those who are voiceless.
This year, I also hope to be more intentional in praying for others, to be proactive in building friendships and relationships with others, and to perform more acts of random kindness and encouragement.
Less screen time, more face time
As time goes on, I’m finding that I really like spending time with people more and more. And I like communicating through a screen less and less. It’s so easy to send mixed signals and hide behind a mask by the way in which you socialize online, and it sometimes feels so impersonal. Yet, it’s a superficial, artificial sphere that is so tempting to disappear into at times.
This year, I’m hoping to exchange more SMS conversations for coffee chats, more instant message threads for lunch and dinner meetups, and more email chains for happy hour hangouts. So I hope you don’t feel weirded out if I skip the prolonged electronic conversation and suggest just meeting up in person. This is one of those areas of my life where I’d rather do things the old-fashioned way.
I, like many others, will also be evaluating my use of social media. While some platforms have greatly helped my profession, in my personal life, I’ve certainly become a victim of “FOMO”, which has led to the extremely dangerous temptation to doubt that God knows and does what’s best for my life. I’m not sure exactly what a social media diet will look like, but I just want to truly enjoy the moments God has given me and not worrying myself about seeking others’ likes or doing something “for the ‘gram”. I just want to find my acceptance and satisfaction in God, regardless of how many photos of happy couples, weddings, and babies are posted to my feeds.
Upwards and downwards mentoring
My 30’s so far have felt like a state of flux where I’ve thankfully matured from being a kid, but still lack a lot of practical wisdom. For this reason, I know that I need to seek guidance from older men in my life. I confess that it’s been far too long since I’ve been discipled by someone, and I know I need an older, godly man to pray for me, hold me accountable, and encourage me to continue to pursue God above all else.
At the same time, I believe that as a working adult who is still single and comparatively young, God has given me a special opportunity to build a close rapport with the students at my church. I’m praying for the opportunity to disciple one or a few of the young men and encourage them to pursue biblical manhood.
I desire a similar thing for my pursuits in the medical technology industry. As I continue to conceptualize a potential medtech venture, I hope to be able to seek advice from experienced entrepreneurs and Christian business professionals. And I hope I can continue to mentor engineering students who are seeking careers in life sciences.
Keep on learning
Those who know me well know that I am somewhat of an overly-ambitious polymath. While I’ll likely start and miserably fail several new hobbies this year, I’m hoping one or two might stick. I’ve set a goal in Goodreads to again read 52 books, one of those few annual quantifiable goals that I always look forward to.
I’m hoping that some of my learning will come by experiencing. God has richly blessed me with many opportunities over the past several years to travel to various parts of the world. I love experiencing the culture, the food, the history. I love meeting Christians in other parts of the world, experiencing how they worship, singing their songs to our God, and hearing the ways in which God has been working in their lives. I’m praying that I can continue these experiences in 2019.
Finally, I’ll be finishing up my Masters degree in May, but I’m already starting to look into another degree program, possibly through a seminary or Bible school if time allows.
Keep on giving
Despite being a worker at a Silicon Valley startup, a freelancer, a full-time graduate student, and a church deacon, God has actually blessed me with the gift of extra time and availability. This precious resource is something that I hope to invest more of in the coming year, as it could become more scarce in the future. I want to be more available to invest in others. I want to serve the church more. A personal favorite activity, I want to give the opportunity for the parents to go on date nights by watching the kids for a few hours.
And despite living in one of the most expensive metro regions in the U.S. and paying for my education, God has also blessed my finances. I hope to continue supporting my missionary friends scattered across the globe, to cheerfully continue giving my first fruits to the church, to financially support more social causes and evangelistic efforts, and in general offer benevolence to those I see in need.
As God blesses me in 2019, it is my hope and prayer that I can in turn be a blessing to others!