A blog of thoughts by Kristi Finch

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Wait on the Lord

Hard things happen, things we don't always understand or can't control.  These words from Psalm 37 have been a special blessing to me over the last few weeks as I have faced some hard things.  

This is a beautiful reminder to stay committed to the Lord, trusting him that his purposes are being fulfilled despite my limited understanding.  I love the promise of the Lord's steadfast love in the midst of challenges; I never have to face anything on my own!

It's also a good reminder not to try to manipulate a situation to turn out the way you want it, but instead to trust the Lord and let him work it out.  The temptation is to be impatient, to get angry, to worry.  But we are called to trust, delight, commit, be still, wait patiently, fret not, refrain from anger.  And wait on the Lord.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lesson Learned....or Being Learned

So, I have less than a week to get a July post on the books, so here goes!

This summer has been one of lots of learning for me, so it's good for me to sit down for a few minutes and process what I'm learning and how I can apply what I'm learning beyond "huh - that's cool" to "wow - that was really a turning point."  Here's a less-than-all-inclusive list of the life lessons in my primer these days.

I'm bad at my job.  I suppose this is a bit subjective, and the ultimate determination of it might be my boss's call more than mine.  But here's the skinny:  I know I could be a lot better at my job.  I could invest my time, energy, and skills more effectively to promote and further the ministry for which I work.  I think maybe that's my issue...I see it like a job, like something to check off my list, instead of a calling to serve the Lord with the best of me.  So I'm learning to give of myself more than is required to check a task off my list and really invest with my heart into a cause that matters.

I don't like going to the gym.  But I'm going anyway.  I have never been one for much physical exertion, and if I'm going to exert myself physically, I want it to be doing something fun like catching waves at the beach or playing tennis not something mundane like running on a treadmill or lifting.  Blech.  But it's good for me.  It's good for me to do something I'm not particularly fond of, and it's good for me to start healthy habits now that will hopefully allow me to enjoy a long, healthy life.  So I'm learning to do things that are not fun in the present that will bring about a worthwhile gain in the future.

I don't know how to be a good girlfriend.  Let's be honest.  It's been a while since I was in a legit relationship with a guy.  Now I'm blessed with a wonderful man who I get to call my own, but I have to learn how to do this right.  It takes more than staring at his ridiculously handsome face across a dinner table or holding his hand as we walk around an amusement park.  It takes intentionality to build a relationship worth having.  It takes me getting out of my I've-been-single-and-on-my-own-for-a-long-time mindset and learning how to have a now-I-get-to-have-someone-else-to-consider thought process.  And he's more than worth it.  So I'm learning to let go of parts of my selfish independence for the sake of investing in another person who matters.

What lessons has this summer thrown your way?  Have you stopped to think about how you're applying them?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

You've Got a Friend in Me

I shared lunch with a great friends this week (as I do most weeks).  It made me thankful for the friendships I enjoy.  

I am blessed with an amazing group of people with whom I get to do life.  When I stop and think about it, I am spoiled to have so many friends who I would consider close, with whom I am confortable to share my life whether they are living in my house with me (shout out to my wonderful roommate!), down the road, in a different state, or a different time zone.

I find myself appreciating the relationships around me most when I approach them with intentionality. If I plan to have lunch with a friend and make sure that we don't just shoot the breeze and talk about the weather but really talk about what is going on in our lives and how we're struggling or what successes we've enjoyed, it makes our time together seem so much sweeter.  I feel like I have invested in our relationship instead of just having someone come over to eat.  I could have people who are just "lunch buddies" all day long.  But when I care enough to share my heart or ask them about theirs, real relationship happens.  And that's what it's all about. 

I'm a big proponent of discipleship.  And I think that largely means intentional relationship.  I have a friend who is older than me and further along in life than me with whom I meet every week (with few exceptions, we've been doing this for six years and some change).  We usually drink coffee and sit in her living room (or on her porch now that the weather's nice!) and share about our lives.  We often do a Bible study together or go through a book together, but mostly we just talk.  We talk about what challenges we're facing or what wins we've experienced.  I've learned from her as she's married and a mom and in a different stage of life than me.  We take time out of our lives to meet every week. To be intentional.  And it's worth it.  

So, I try to do the same thing with people who are  younger than me, who are in a different stage of life than me, but in the opposite way.  Maybe they're still in school or living with their parents or brand new to loving Jesus.  Maybe they can learn from me, but I've found that often I'm still the one learning.  

All this to say, I'm learning more and more how life is made so much sweeter when you share it with other people on purpose.  In fact, I'm meeting a new friend for coffee this afternoon.  Then catching up with some old ones later tonight.  I am one friend-blessed girl!

Just a handful of the wonderful people I get to call friends.  Love them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Home Again

So, good news.  May is more than half over.  When did that happen?  

April was an extremely busy, travel-filled month for me that it just flew by without me hardly noticing!  I may have been away more than I was home.  

Just to give you a glimpse into my craziness:
It was a colorful month of driving, flying, and making wonderful memories with people who are so special to me, and I wouldn't trade the living-out-of-a-suitcase feeling I had for four weeks for anything.  BUT.  I'm super glad to be home.  To have slept in my own bed for a whole week straight.  To not have any travels on the docket for a solid month.  

Though I'm sure by the time my next outings roll around, I'll be more than ready to tackle some new adventures....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spoiled Rotten

I. love. surprises.

I'm not really sure why, but something about being caught off guard with something that someone has planned for me just warms my heart in a special way.

Lately, I've enjoyed several wonderful surprises.  My heart has been so full.  It was my birthday last weekend, and there were a few planned festivities - a birthday dinner with my friends, a trip to Florida to see my family.  My birthday would not be without celebration!  

But in addition to the celebrations I knew were coming, my week was peppered with wonderful surprises!  The kids at my church sang to me and gave me birthday balloons.  My boss's family surprised me with cupcakes and gifts before I left for Florida.  My boyfriend sent me flowers at my parents' house since he is in Afghanistan and couldn't be there to celebrate with me in person.  My little brother drove down from Orlando to spend the weekend with us.  I got a box of delicious birthday cookies in the mail.  My dad took me on a shopping outing (He said it was to buy my birthday present, but I think it was more just to spend the afternoon with me.).

My not-so-little-anymore brother who for a surprise visit!

Balloons from my dad!

Birthday flowers from my boo!

I felt so spoiled.  There wasn't anything crazy extravagant involved, but I just felt so loved.  The little surprises and ways people made an effort to help me feel special on my birthday and the days surrounding it just blew me out of the water.  Maybe I'm just more nostalgic than usual these days, but I think this will be a birthday week I treasure for years to come.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Passage of Prayer

For the last several weeks, my pastor has been preaching out of Ephesians 3.  Ephesians 3:14-21 is a beautiful passage of exhortation and Paul's prayer for the church at Ephesus.  

This particular set of verses has been standing out to me the past couple weeks, and each time I've read it, I think about it being  great to pray over my family.

Though I don't have a family of my own just yet, I am beginning to pray through these verses over the family I do have, my future family, and even over the people in my life who I love like family.    

Every family has been named from the Father, including my future one.  I pray that we will be strengthened by the power of the Spirit, that we will have Christ in our hearts through faith, that we will be grounded in love.   I pray that we will know the greatness of Christ's love that is beyond our comprehension.  I'm thankful that God has plans for my family beyond all I could ask or imagine.  I pray that my family will glorify the Lord for generations, from now into eternity.

Do you have a specific passage that is special for your family or for you?  Do you have verses you pray for yourself or others?    

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Conference Debrief

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind at best with two back-to-back weekend conferences in Philadelphia, PA and Austin, TX.

I have mixed emotions about times like these.  I love the adventure of being a jet setter, but I hate the inconsistency of it.  I love the new experiences I get to have, but I hate missing out on my normal, wonderful routine.  I love meeting new people, but I hate not seeing my friends for so long.  You get the picture.

The good news is this:  I had a great time, I got to turn another state green on my travel map, and now I'm back home to catch up on life and try to create a new normal based on all I was exposed to over the last two weekends.

My primary purpose in attending these conferences is to share about the ministry of Living Bread with attendees.  But one of the perks is that I get to sit in on some of the sessions and have my own life challenged, too.  

Conference numero uno was The Justice Conference in Philly.  This conference is all about social justice, and the theme for 2013 (and since it was in Philadelphia) was "Justice and Liberty for All."  This is a very trendy topic in our culture right now, so the conference was attended by lots of people from lots of different backgrounds with lots of different stories but with a common goal - advancing justice around the world.  A couple quotations from Justice Conference founder Ken Wytsma that resonated with me were:
When you learn about justice, you're studying God.  When you're studying God, you learn about justice.
Just because we can't fix the world doesn't mean that we can't change it.

The second conference (the one from which I just returned) was Verge13 in Austin.  This one challenged me a little more than Justice because it focused on something that's a little bit closer to my heart: discipleship.  The theme was disciple making, and each speaker shared about some facet of this key element of Christ-following.  Because that's what Christ-following is: being a disciple of Christ.  

I have long been a proponent of discipleship - having intentional relationships with someone older (who can disciple you) and someone younger (who you can disciple) - but this weekend challenged my thinking on the topic as a whole and how I live it out day-by-day and week-by-week.  Here are a few quotes that stood out to me this weekend:
The consequences of casual, cultural Christianity are eternally tragic. - David Platt
We are all making disciples.  Are we making disciples of Christ? - Jeff Vanderstelt
The key to the health and sustainability of the church is not more evangelism but discipleship. - Alan Hirsch 

I'm still processing a lot of the information overload I experienced over the last several days, so I'm sure these will be topics of further discussion, but I just wanted to get an initial reaction down in writing.  I'm so thankful to live and work in an environment that is so conducive to being challenged and grown as a result. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day Dreaming

I have managed to develop the reputation of a frequent napper among my friends.  And by frequent, I mean they think I take a nap about every day which is, unfortunately, not the case.   (It's even become a point of interest on this twitter account a friend set up to advertise some of my quirkiest ideas.)  

The bottom line is this:  I do love to take naps.  That much is true.  I just don't get to take them as often as I might like to.  

A couple years ago, I read this article about napping.  It was beautiful.  I could relate with so much of what this author says is so "delicious" about taking naps.  I have often thought of that article, so when my roommate mentioned a box of magazines that we needed to go through, I immediately went on a search for that wonderful article about napping!  I found it.  And tore it out of the magazine.  I'm considering framing it.  (Ok, not really.  But the thought did cross my mind.)  

I love sleeping in general, but in the day it's just better.  I love the dreams I have when I nap.  I love sleeping on the couch.  My favorite nap time is on a sunny afternoon.  Like Cathleen Schine says:
A nap is not a nap without light. This is what distinguishes it from a good night’s sleep. A nap is a stolen moment, not the natural culmination of the day. A nap is secret, illicit. It is sleeping during the day, and the day must be present and visible.
All that to say, there's not really a point to this.  It's pretty much a light-hearted, fluffy-pillowed, sun-shining-through-the-window kind of post.  But it's what I've been thinking about all day, so I thought I'd share.  

Oh yeah, and there's apparently scientific evidence for the awesomeness of naps.  Just saying.  

Monday, February 11, 2013


Posts like this are a little out of my comfort zone because I feel a bit inadequate to discuss things like the theology of church planting or the most effective models for partnership.  However, it's through uncomfortable, stretching exercises that I am strengthened and challenged to grow and learn.  So, today I am being stretched and challenged. 

I work for Living Bread Ministries as their administrative coordinator, so I handle the donations, the newsletter, office stuff, and a bunch of the other nitty gritty things that are necessary for any kind of organization to function.  Though I am 100% on board with what we do, I'm not so much on the front lines of our church-planting efforts.  

I am continuously learning about best practices in Gospel ministry, and there is a wide variety of opinion when it comes to Western mission organizations working around the world in impoverished communities.  Books like Toxic Charity, When Helping Hurts, The Poor Will Be Gladand  To Give or Not To Give all discuss pros and cons of distributing free goods and services to those in need and whether or not these are helpful and life-changing in the long run.  Many are highly opposed to Westerners giving resources, financial or otherwise, to nationals for ministry in fear that an unhealthy dependency will develop or any chance at a self-sustained local economy can flourish while others are hesitant to work with or trust nationals because of assumed lack of expertise or experience.  I haven't read through all these books (though I am working on a couple of them), so I'll refrain from discussing their ideas or suggested solutions further.  Rather, I want to focus on how Living Bread approaches this issue in our church-planting ministry.

At Living Bread, we hold to an interdependency model.  We don't step into a community, build a church, pay a pastor, pay for all the church's ministry, and let it run on it's own.  Neither do we step into a community, put our own pastor/missionary to work and call all the shots.  We work with nationals in a way that relies on the resources (monetary and otherwise) that both parties can bring to the table.  

As Americans, we can't jump into a ministry in a Brazilian or Thai slum in the same way a national Brazilian or Thai could.  Most of our church-planters have a background that isn't foreign to living in less-than-affluent circumstances, so they are well-equipped to relate to the poor and meet them where they are.  However, these men who have a heart for sharing the Gospel don't have the resources they need to serve in a full-time ministry capacity.  These communities struggle to sustain themselves, so supporting a pastor presents a significant challenge. Thus, we need each other.  We provide resources that would not be otherwise accessible, while they provide the hands and feet of the ministry.  

This interdependence also translates into the decision-making for the ministries of our church-plants.  We depend on our national leadership to determine how to best serve their communities and support their decisions without demanding specific requirements to be met. 

Living Bread's founder Patrick Hubbard says: 
This type of partnership is hard and risky.  It is often messy.  It requires a level of vulnerability that most are unwilling to accept. 
I am abundantly thankful for the opportunity I have to serve with Living Bread, and I especially appreciate this unique approach to the issue of charity, sustainability, and Kingdom work.  

To learn more about Living Bread, check us out on our website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Come on Over!

It's one of my favorite phrases. I like saying it, and I like hearing it.  I love spending time with people I love.  I especially love spending time in their homes or having them spend time in my home.  Someone's home says a lot about them, so sharing these environments help you know people better.  My closest friends are the ones with whom I feel most at home, and I hope they feel at home with me.

I think this has a lot to do with the ministry of hospitality, which I feel like is a topic that I have come across over and over lately.  I've found that when there is a theme that becomes recurring in my life, I need to push pause and pay it some mind.  

I think this recurring concept of hospitality is related to my border-line obsession with the concept of home.  I love home.  I love my home (all of them).  I love visiting other people's homes.  I want a big house someday to make into a home.  

I've lived in a bunch of different places, so all of them have become home to some extent.  Clarion, Pennsylvania was the first place where I got to really settle down long enough to love a place and the people there, so it gets home status.  My parents live in Fort Myers, Florida, and if "Home is where your mom is," then it gets called home.  I have lived in Lynchburg, Virginia since I was a freshman in college (with the exceptions of a few summers), and now I've lived in the same house here for going on five years (shout out to ChezMK!), so this place is home.  Saying "I'm going home" could easily indication me going to any one of these three locations.

ChezMK - Home with my wonderful roommate
I have dreams of a future home.  Something I really, really want is a house.  A big, old farm house that I get to make my own and share with people I love.  And decorate it really cute and comfortable.  With lots of white furniture.  And tons of pictures.  And my little brother's paintings.  And my mom's quilts.  And plenty of purple.  But not too much.  And at least one window seat.  And sunshine in the windows.  With white, flowing curtains.  And a big dining room table.  With lots of chairs.  And a china cabinet full of white dishes that don't match.  And a front porch.  With rocking chairs.  And a porch swing.  I haven't thought about this or anything. 

All that to say, the place you call home matters.  But what you do with it matters more.  Home is an opportunity for ministry, the ministry of hospitality.  When we show hospitality, we have a chance to live the Gospel.  John Piper says:
Our homes need to be open.  Because our hearts are open.  And our hearts are open because God's heart is open to us.
As a lady, I think I have a unique opportunity to show hospitality. At least, I should make it a priority to ensure that my home is a welcoming place for guests.  Not just because I'm a girl but because I love Jesus.  Maybe it's just a little easier because I'm a girl.  In her book on biblical femininity Radical Womanhood, Carolyn McCulley says, as she discusses how our culture debates a woman's role at home:
The point of being a keeper at home is to provide a haven for a godly family to thrive, to offer hospitality to fellow Christians and non-Christians alike, and to provide a place for the church to meet. (p. 104)
She goes on to say:
No one will find fulfillment in the latest applications or gadgets that run a home. Nor will one find lasting fulfillment in attempting to decorate and entertain like the lastest hospitality doyenne.  Material goods and self-glorifying domestic perfection are definitely not the heart of the home.  The heart of the home is found in the relationships nurtured there and the comfort offered to one another--comfort we have first received from God, the Father of compassion, and then share with one another. (p. 115)
Ouch.  I can often get caught up in the desire for domestic perfection that I can forget that what I have in hostessing is an opportunity to love like Jesus loves not show off my latest crock pot recipe or apron-wearing cuteness.  It's less about a perfect-smelling candle or appropriately coordinating serving dishes than it is about sharing the comfort of home with people I love.  

I'm abundantly thankful for the people who continuously open their homes to me and the chances I have to open my home to others.  I desire to be someone who not only welcomes people into her home, but also takes advantage of these times to serve as Gospel-ministry.  

So, come on over! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bookshelf Report

I love to read.  But it hasn't always been that way.  I enjoyed books alright while I was growing up, but I wasn't usually the kid who hid a flashlight and the lasted story by my bed to read at night.  In high school and college, I disliked my literature classes because they told me what I had to read and when to read it.  Where's the enjoyment in that?

A couple years ago with determination to become more cultured and well-read, my roommate and I came up with a reading list of 50 books, mostly classic novels with a few other things thrown in there.  While she valiantly read the 50 books in a year, I didn't quite make it through the list.  Actually, I did terribly. I started well and went strong for a couple months, but I got stuck on Gone with the Wind (which I did end up finishing) then Three Cups of Tea (which I did not end up finishing).  From there I deviated from the list and just read whatever I felt like, lacking much discipline at all.  

All that to say, I like to read now though it has been inconsistent at best.  And though I have failed on the finishing-a-book-list front, I have been reaching the back cover of several books lately.  I do a lot better without a here's-what-you-have-to-read expectations.  Here are a few of my recents reads:

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures.  Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them.
I tried to find one; but warriors are busy fighting one another in distant lands, and in this neighbourhood heroes are scarce, or simply not to be found.
I read this one because I wanted to see the movie already knowing the story.  I'm very glad I did because I was able to actually enjoy the film (instead of falling asleep like I have for ALL of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I have yet to see one of them in their entirety.  Maybe reading the books first would help.).   Though I don't usually pick fantasy books, I do enjoy getting caught up in a good story, and The Hobbit was just that. 

Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives.
You do not need to preach to your pastor or congregation; you simply need to live out in your daily life the love and obedience that God has asked of you.
I read this one with my accountability partner.  She and I like to read different books or do different studies together, so this was the one we finished up right before Christmas.  We were challenged by it and appreciated Chan's perspective.  It is a big part of what inspired this post last fall, and the principles of it continue to challenge my mindset on a daily basis.

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley
To live according to biblical principles today requires women to be bold enough to stand against philosophies and strongholds that seek to undermine God's Word and his authority.
Our brains confirm what Scripture tells us: men and women are equal in essence but are created to function differently.
I picked this one up at the Desiring God conference I attended last September.  Carolyn McCulley was one of the speakers, and I was curious to know more about her ministry.  She's also written Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred, but I decided not to get that one since I feel like I been overloaded by singleness books and kinda over that as a book-topic.  

I enjoyed Radical Womanhood because it addresses our culture in light of the recent waves of feminism and how our thinking can be subconsciously impacted by this mindset without even being aware of how we have strayed away from God's perfect plan for women and how we should relate to men.  Definitely an interesting read.

So there are a few of my recent reads!  I'm in the middle of a couple more now and have a pile waiting to be read.  But that doesn't stop me from wanting to find more that I'd like to read!  I just got a kindle, so I'm sure I'll be filling it up with books waiting to be read. (Aside: My jury's still out on the e-reader, but I'm giving it a go.  I think my challenge will be paying money for a book that I don't get to hold in my hands or put my book stamp in.  I'll have to get over that, me thinks.) 

What are some of your favorite reads?  Any recommendations for me?  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Travel Map

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine
I have a little bit of wanderlust in me.  It's my dad's fault.  We grew up in the Philippines, often traveling to different places on the weekends.  While we were on furlough in the States, we traveled all over visiting the churches that supported our family's ministry.  It was always an adventure, not matter what went wrong or came up unexpectedly.  I grew up in the back seat of a minivan, enamored by the experiences of seeing new places and people.  

So, now I'm a grown-up who still likes to hop in the car to go somewhere for the weekend, often on a whim.  I would love to visit as many places as I can...some of which are reflected on this list I shared before.  There are a few things I would add to that list, but I can share those another day.  

Today I felt the need to literally (observe my correct use of this word) map out my progress on the "Visit all 50 states" item on my list.  

Here it is.  I felt like it was going to be more filled in than that, but when I actually got these places down, I realized how many states I have yet to check out!

States Visited: 21
States to Go: 29

For the record: Hawaii would be yellow.  Alaska would be white.

What's your favorite state to visit?  Any recommendations on things to do in the states I have yet to see?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Let's Hear it for the Boy(s)!

Note: I am writing this post while sipping tea from my "I only date superheroes" mug. Just thought that would be good to throw out there.  Now on to the real thing!

The other day I was talking to my mom about a lady she knows who had been married for twenty-something years, had grown children, and whose husband was moving out. Sad. Seriously sad. I don't know this lady, her children, or her husband, but my heart was genuinely sad for her. I simply cannot imagine sharing years and years of my life with someone only to have him give up on us when the children grow up and move away, or when he decides that there may be something better out there, or when fighting for me and for us isn't worth it anymore.

And then my mom said something for which I am so, so thankful but rarely say out loud: "It just makes me so thankful for Dad and how blessed I am." (I can't remember her exact wording, but this is a pretty accurate paraphrase.) And she's right. Our family has been abundantly blessed by the consistency and leadership my dad has provided for 30+ years. We Finches are not without our quirks, but if nothing else, we can say we have always had a great example of godliness in our home.

This conversation with my mom reminded me of a verse I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago:

Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? Proverbs 20:6

When I read that, I immediately thought, "Well, I am blessed to know many faithful men!" First there's my dad, and my brother, then the wonderful men my good friends have chosen to marry. There are also my own guy friends, and men from my church. These men are faithful to the Lord, their families (those who have them), their jobs, their friends, and their local church bodies. They are even faithful to me in some ways (if I ever need something that I can't or would rather not take care of as a single lady, I can call one of them to help me out, and they are ready and willing to lend a hand).

I often read about how there is a shortage of good, Christian men in churches and in families and how many men are failing to lead or initiate properly (and I think to some extent, this is true), but reading this verse made me abundantly grateful for the guys I know who don't fall into the traps of passivity or unfaithfulness.

Though I don't yet know who my faithful man will be, I am so, so thankful for the other faithful men in my life. And, for the record, I think they are real-life superheroes. They may not be able to fly or have laser vision, but they play a part in saving the world from impending doom, fighting for what is good and honoring to the Lord despite the world around them tempting them to take the easy way out.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2013 - More than Enough

In the spirit of new years posts...here's mine.  

I don't like to make resolutions.  I do, however, like the new-start feeling that comes along with starting a new calendar.  Also, I like to have some kind of theme for the year.  Nothing too crazy, but some sort of catch phrase or the like to guide my mindset for the next twelve months.  This was my theme from last year.  Maybe I'll do a reflection post on how that went for me.

Over the past couple weeks, I have been praying about what this year's theme (or whatever you want to call it) would be.  Without the A-HA! moment I was hoping for, I've settled on this:  More than Enough.

The theme is twofold.  

First is the issue of contentment in Christ.  He is more than enough for me.  I think of Chris Tomlin's song "Enough":

All of you is more than enough for all of me, For every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love, And all I have in you is more than enough.

Every longing and desire I have should ultimately be met in Christ.  He may use other people or things in the process, but in him I should find my satisfaction and wholeness and completeness and contentment.  I am created to need him to be whole, and he can fill that need in my life.  So this year, in the midst of whatever longings or desires in which I find myself, I need to turn to Christ because he is more than enough to meet my needs.  

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us... Ephesians 3:20

Second is the issue of excess.  I'm not sure why this is so much at the forefront of my mind lately, but it is.  I have more than I need in most areas of my life.  More clothes than I need.  More shoes than I need.  More mugs than I need.  More pillows than I need. More you-name-it than I need.  

I have so much stuff.  I like to call myself a keeper instead of something crazy like a hoarder, but seriously.  So. much. stuff.  The issue is that I become sentimentally attached to things because of the memories attached to them.  For example, I don't want to get rid of that shirt I never wear anymore because so-and-so gave it to me or because I wore it this one time to this one place and if I get rid of it, I'll never remember that thing with the guy at the place (Ocean's Eleven reference, anyone?).  And I need to fight that.  I am not called to cram my house with stuff so that I can remember or feel comfortable or fulfilled or proud.  I am called to generosity and simplicity so that I am not distracted by comfort or convenience or even memories at the expense of my life bringing glory to the Lord.

I've started fighting this fight.  I have gone through my closet, taken pictures of things I want to remember instead of keeping them forever, and become much more acutely aware of my stuff.  But I still have a long way to go, and this year, I want to be consistently reminded of this battle.  Because it's not so much a battle against having too many pairs of shoes as much as it is a battle in my heart not to value things as an idol.  I may want a bigger, beautiful house that can more easily fit all my stuff and has a dining room so I can use placemats, but that is not as important as me trusting the Lord to provide for my needs and seeing my things as tools with which I can bless others.  He has given me more than enough to meet my needs, so I need to turn around and give to others instead of keeping things for myself for whatever silly reason I can think of.

And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds! [...] And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the  nations of the world seek these things, and your Father knows you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. [...] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Luke 12: 22-24, 29-31, 34

So there you have it, folks!  2013 - More than Enough