The Bucket List

I have had huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list ideas for many years.  But because they were so huge, outrageous and ridiculous, I never wanted to tell anyone about them.  I didn’t even want to admit that they were on my bucket list.  They seemed so incredibly impossible that I was embarrassed to admit that I even thought these things.

That being said, I have recently been reading several things that have brought forth the importance of writing down my goals, even if they’re outrageous and ridiculous.

I know that there is absolutely know way that I am going to be able to accomplish any of these things.  But God, God is pretty awesome, and He can make any of these things happen.  I have some work to do in there as well, but most of all, the willingness that I have to be faithful to God’s plan is the only way I could even come close to some of these things.

As I was sitting down to write out my bucket list, there are only a couple of things that I can think of that I have already accomplished that might be bucket list items.  But, I’m pretty sure many more things should be added to this list.

So, here we go.  Here’s my huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list…

  • Go to a Packer’s Game and Lambeau Field
  • Deposit $1,000,000 in my parents checking account
  • Visit all 50 states (9 more to go!)
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Go on a mission trip to New Zealand
  • Go on a mission trip to Costa Rica
  • Support a mission partner for 1 year 
    • Multiple Times
  • Run a marathon
  • Buy all of the land that has been in my family since we settled in IL
  • Run the combine all on my own during harvest
  • Go ziplinig
  • Write and publish a book
  • Speak at a week long high school retreat
  • Be a camp counselor
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Get married
  • Have children – that don’t have 4 legs and fur
  • Give Lysa Terkeurst a hug
  • Have coffee with Mark Batterson
  • Take my dad to a Nascar race
  • Have a vacation home on the beach
  • Have a vacation home in the mountains
  • Weigh 142 pounds (half of the weight I was at my heaviest)
  • Speak at a women’s retreat

The items that have been struck through are the ones I have accomplished already.  And I promise you, God was absolutely with me running all 4 marathons.  Because there is absolutely no way that 285 pound me ever would have thought it possible to run a marathon in real life.  But now I have ran 4 of them.  And He was absolutely with me when I went ziplining.

So, truly, this isn’t my bucket list.  It’s God’s.  It just so happens that I get to go along for the ride.

How awesome is that?

Dream vs. Reality

I have hugely wild, huge and ambitious dreams of what I want to accomplish in my life.  And some days, I feel as though I’m failing miserably.

But, am I really failing miserably?

Many of these dreams are things that I truly feel God has put in my heart to do.  And I pray every single day for God’s guidance in my life on what I’m supposed to do.  And day after day after day after day, here I am, just trudging along.

I feel as though I’m not making any progress on those dreams.  And in the things I am doing to work towards some of those dreams, well some of those things I feel aren’t making any progress.

Currently, I have a job that I don’t honestly feel reaches my full potential.  I am a Teacher’s Aide.  I’m the low man on the totem pole.  Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that my job is important.  And I do feel like I am making a difference in the lives of the students I work with.  I know that I do different, more complex things than many other people with my job title.  And I honestly do feel like this is where God has called me to be right now.  Yet there are times that I want more.  For a couple of reasons.

I am looked down upon by some of my colleagues.  Not that any of them would every blatantly say that.  But it’s in the little things that I experience that tells me they value my worth less than other certified teachers.  For example, yesterday, one of the other teachers went all the way around me to ask for a key to my room, so she could use my room when she needed.  She didn’t ask if that was ok with me.  She went all the way around me.  And then, when she did have the opportunity to discuss it with me, well, she didn’t.

But, beyond that, I feel like God has put things on my heart to want more out of life.  More than what I’m currently doing.

I’m just not so sure of what that is.

But…

Perhaps all of these things are preparing me for something else.

If I turn to the Bible, what does it tell me to do?  Be humble.  Be a servant.  Love God.  Love people.

Humble.

This one is tough.  Because I have always struggled with my self-worth.  But if I have low self-esteem, am I really just being humble?  Well…no.

Low self-esteem basically means I feel I have absolutely no value in the world.  I am worthless.

Being humble means I recognize that I can do great things, but not because I am super awesome and amazing.  No, no.  I can do these great things because God has given me these gifts, talents, abilities, strengths, etc.  Knowing that someone far greater than I is in charge, and the one that really has those talents and abilities.  That is being humble.

Servant.

Jesus tells many parables about how the last shall be first and the first shall be last.  How we should strive to serve others.  To help others when we can.

Have you watched the show New Amsterdam?  If you haven’t, as soon as you’re finished reading this, go watch all of the episodes.  My DVR is full of TV shows and movies that I rarely have time to watch because I’m too busy doing other things in life.  But this show, this is one I love to watch.  The main character is the head of a public hospital in New York City, and his entire world is filled by one question.  “How can I help?”

Each show revolves around some new challenge that must be faced, and no matter what is going on in his own personal world, the offer to help others is always forefront in his life.

I know that the show is fiction (though based loosely in reality).  But even fiction can help us grow as humans.

How can I help?

This phrase changed my life.

When I go to school, my main role is to help others.  Other teachers.  Administration.  Students.  How can I help you?  What can I help you do to be successful?  Even on the farm, I take the same approach.

I get a little salty about some of the things I end up doing.  Because I do want to do more.  And sometimes I feel like I am not only being held back from doing greater things, I feel like I’m being pushed down.

One of my bucket list items is to help during harvest by running the combine all by myself.

I have barely been able to convince my dad to let me cut the last little strip of beans, while he watches over every single move I make.

But what my role typically ends up being is the gopher.  Meaning…I do all of the little jobs, that, though vitally important to the operation of the farm, really kind of stink in doing sometimes.  I take a wagon out to the field.  I make a trip looking for engine oil because there’s an oil leak.  I make parts runs.  I go put drops in my grandma’s ears because she has a Dr. appointment in a couple of days.

I get the minuscule tasks that really don’t seem all that important.  And it’s easier for my mom to be the one to run the combine because she’s been doing it for years and years and years.  Not that I can’t learn how to do it.  Not that I’m incapable of doing it.  I just don’t know how.

I do know that value is found in those small little tasks.  As I said, they are vitally important.  Because, if I hadn’t gone to retrieve the oil, we would have been shut down for hours.

So I get it.  Those tasks are important.

But I still want more.

But maybe putting in my time, learning the value in those smaller jobs, whether on the farm, or at school, maybe one of these days, they will all lead to bigger and better things.  Maybe these things are preparing me for something much bigger.

Or maybe I won’t get to experience all of those great things myself.  But my role in life as the servant doing these things is part of a much larger plan for something else.

Only God knows.

I know that no matter how salty I get about things, this is where I am supposed to be right now.

Love God.

This one shouldn’t be difficult.  And in the overall, big picture of my life, it isn’t.  But, like any relationship, we have our moments.

Some days, I really don’t understand why I am in the places that God has me in.

But I trust in God’s big plan for my life.

Love People.

Other people make this a challenge sometimes.  Sometimes, I may not be all that easy to love myself.  But the best marketing plan any Christian can do is to love other people.  No matter what.  No matter who they are.  No matter what they have done.  You love other people.

So…here I am.  Trudging along in another day.  I’m not where I want to be in so many areas of my life right now.  But I trust with my whole heart that I am where God needs me to be.