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Put God First!

Earlier this month, I was talking with a friend of mine about her Christmas and New Year’s plans. She was getting ready to go home for the holidays and planned to spend some time reflecting over this past year, as well as making goals for the upcoming year. I got super excited for her and anxious to catch up in the New Year to hear about the plans she had settled on. I asked what one of her goals might be. My friend wanted to work on her character. I asked what she meant by that. Her desire was to cultivate the character of Christ to be more humble and positive. Those words melted my heart and I thought we could all use her advice.

Her desire to be more Christlike reminded me of Denzel Washington’s commencement speech. Denzel Washington highlights four important goals we should all strive for, beginning with putting God first in our lives. He reminds us that everything that we have is by the grace of God. It is God’s gift to us. Denzel’s bullet points are:

  1. Put God first

  2. Fail big

  3. It’s what you do with what you have

  4. Thank God in advance for what is already yours

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? I assure you, if it wasn’t, “Put God First,” it was not the best piece of advice you have ever received. Whatever dreams you have planned, they are nothing compared to the adventures that await you when you put God at the center of your life.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added on to you. Matthew 6:33

I started 2017 creating a vision board. One of the things I highlighted for myself was, “fail big.” I was pleasantly surprised to see Denzel give this advice. My Dad always taught me that anything worth having is worth fighting for. For me, that means taking risks in life. I’d rather know I pursued my dreams, than to not have tried at all. I’d rather fail and be happy knowing I tried, than to always wonder, “What if?”

Reflecting on this past year, I see a lot of growth and seized opportunities. I’ve gained some new skills, but more importantly, I’ve made some new friends. My transitional year has been hard,

but it was worth fighting for. I am a better person for having taken risks this year. With dreams come plans, and with plans come risk, and with risk come opportunities. I am happy to have traveled this road of adventure. There are no regrets.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Denzel’s third bullet point is, “It’s what you do with what you have.” He reminds us that there is gratification when we decide to help others. He describes it as being selfish, because it’s really the person who is giving that is receiving the joy. I am happy to be selfish in this context. It is a joy to see others succeed and to know that I had a part in their journey.

Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Finally, Denzel reminds us to thank God in advance for what is already ours. God gives us “grace, mercy, understanding, love, peace, and prosperity.” He gives us everything!

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

  1. How will you fail big in 2018?

  2. What will you do with what you have?

  3. How will you aspire to make a difference?

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