A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an old bucket list that I wrote when I was ten years old. To my surprise, I completed six out of the eight items on the bucket list. Over the last fourteen years, I’ve had the chance to travel to visit Washington D.C., take a cruise, travel to Europe, attend college, work in Hawaii, and most importantly, grow in my relationship with God. Little did I know as a ten-year-old, that I would have the opportunity to explore many beautiful places and be stretched in my faith immensely. And now it's time to add a few more items to the bucket list…
1. Hike to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, CA
2. Go canoeing in Lake Louise in Banff, Canada
3. Learn how to play Spanish guitar
4. Marry a godly man
The funny thing about writing a bucket list is that God will give us way more than we could ask or imagine according to His will. For example, when I wrote, “visit Hawaii” on my bucket list I was thinking it would be nice to visit for two weeks. But God gave me the opportunity this last year to work there as a youth pastor! It was an incredible growth experience that solidified my decision to pursue pastoral ministry. In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” And let me tell you, baptizing two of my youth for the first time was “more than I could ask or imagine”. Watching some of my youth give their first worship talks and hearing one of them say, “There is no way I could have done that without God” warmed my heart. It’s humbling to know that God will take the small desires of our hearts and make it into a purposeful experience.
One way to write your own faith bucket list is to write a list of personal goals and spiritual goals. As you review your personal goals, write “with Jesus” at the end of every sentence. It will sound something like this: “Hike Half Dome with Jesus” and “learn how to play Spanish guitar with Jesus”. God is so personal and desires to do everyday life with us! When I’m driving in the car I try to imagine that Jesus is sitting next to me in the passenger seat. And the awesome reality is that Jesus is with us (Isaiah 41:10)! When I finally hike up to the top of Half Dome, I will imagine Jesus sitting next to me on the rock admiring the view. In regards to spiritual goals, think of how Christ has led in your life in the past and where He is currently leading. Maybe God is asking you to share your testimony or to join a new ministry. Write down your spiritual goal and write “with Jesus” next to it as well.
1. Speak at a teen camp (with Jesus)
2. Host a highschool spiritual retreat (with Jesus)
3. Write a devotional book (with Jesus)
4. Go hiking (with Jesus) in heaven
My hope for you is that God gives you the willpower to surrender your “faith bucket list” to Him. With Jesus, you’ll be able to accomplish your fitness goals, pass finals, and or share your testimony for the first time! Whatever your goal may be, know that Jesus has greater things in store for you than you could ever imagine. And as you grow closer to Christ, you’ll notice that your desires will align more with His desires. May your prayer be, "Jesus, I surrender my bucket list to You. Do whatever it takes to mold me into the woman of God you've called me to be. I'm ready to be used by You."
Sonja Cartwright, a northern California native, enjoys hiking, adventuring, laughing, making memories with friends and family, and growing in her relationship with Jesus. She is a graduate of Southern Adventist University where she studied religious education. Check out the podcast episode she did for us - "Share Your Story," as well as her blog at sonjacartwrightblog.wordpress.com.