30 before 30

I enjoy adventure, new experiences, world travel and accomplishments. I like being able to say, "Yes, I did that thing I always wanted to do." I'm truly thankful for every opportunity that's placed itself before me—the ones I worked hard for and the ones that kind of fell into my lap.

This week, I'm turning 28. And in honor of my birthday, I thought I'd share with you 30 things I really want to do before I'm 30. 

  1. Marry Tony. 
  2. Read the entire Bible, start to finish.
  3. Get a South African spousal visa (God-willing).
  4. Hike Table Mountain.
  5. Backpack Europe as husband and wife.
  6. Go see Moses in Mozambique. (see photo below)
  7. Own a business that can operate in South Africa and the U.S.
  8. Donate $5,000 to missionaries in need.
  9. Hold a handstand for as long as I want to.
  10. Learn how to solder metal and bezel set stones.
  11. Camp in Kruger National Park.
  12. Visit friends in Portland.
  13. Amtrak with my family to the Tetons.
  14. Host missions teams in Africa.
  15. Pay off my student loan.
  16. See John Mayer in concert.
  17. Get certified to teach vinyasa yoga.
  18. Learn how to drive a stick shift.
  19. Learn how to drive a stick shift on the opposite side of the car and road.
  20. Paddle into a wave by myself.
  21. Take a SUP yoga class.
  22. Go shark diving.
  23. Teach a trade to women in need.
  24. Make homemade almond milk (because there is none in South Africa).
  25. Visit friends in Sweden.
  26. Visit friends in Norway.
  27. Host many more women's retreats.
  28. Read 10 books.
  29. Complete the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality workbook with Tony.
  30. Grow spiritually—in maturity, love and truth.

I think it's important to dream big, to shoot for the moon. Although I don't believe our dreams are life's point, I do believe in healthily pursuing them. And in my opinion, here's what that looks like:

Journey inward. 
Dig in and deep. Do necessary soul work and allow Christ to tend to your heart. The Word says He is our Redeemer and Counselor. I know firsthand that His love brings healing, restoration and maturity.

Understand your calling.
God is your creator, and He made you with intention and purpose. He's equipped you with a personality type, spiritual gifts and a skill set. Identify those things—introspection and journaling help. Then consider how you can use those things to bear spiritual fruit in the world.

Surrender your fears.
Fear has an uncanny ability to keep us from God and from the calling He's placed on our lives. Surrender your fears. Embrace the unknown and the uncomfortable—doing so gets easier each time.

Set realistic goals.
Make a realistic "30 before 30" list. Nowhere close to 30? 30 is long gone? Do "20 before 20" or "80 before 80." Whatever works—just do something that helps you clarify your story.

Stay centered on Christ.
Dreaming, achieving and checking things off our lists shouldn't be our central focus. But as humans, we're exceptional at making idols out of anything and everything. Stay centered on Christ and remember the greatest commandment—love God and love people.

Now as I hit "publish," Tony and I are running off to United Pursuit Band's Love War in downtown Knoxville. If you haven't been, you should definitely add it to your list.