One key to making 2016 the best year yet

As the clock ticked down in 2015, I was ready to ring in the new year on a mission.

It was time to move full speed ahead. I planned on opening up my life like never before, utilizing both writing and filming to formulate creative ways to tell my story. I had a schedule ready with weekly posts and videos; vocational as well as intellectual goals in place; and a renewed sense of energy being back up in the chair after what was a difficult year of physical issues.

Just a few days into the new year, my neck had other ideas, causing so much discomfort that I was forced back in bed for a majority of the day.

And then another day…and another…and another…

God, are you kidding me? Again? This wasn’t my plan! Don’t you realize I have so much to get done? Frustrated, I spent the first few days of the year staring at the ceiling feeling like a failure as my to-do list sat unattended across the room from me.

stuck in bed

As I slowly began ascertaining my grip on the reality that I can’t control how my body is going to respond on any given day, I realized I have no idea what all God may have for me in 2016- so why not just sit at his feet, asking what he actually wants me to do?

Rather than list out goals that I believe to be the secret to making the most of my time, what I really need to do is just relax, give myself grace, and ask the question, “What is God really saying to me? What is he asking me to do?” Because that’s all that matters.

Ultimately, I am a human being and not a human doer. Productivity is great and work has its place, but I can only control what I can control. There may be lessons far greater than any amount of productivity that I can be learning now. For this brief time in my life, there may be no better way to learn these lessons than being flat on my back.

When Jesus is hanging out with Mary and Martha in Luke 10, Martha busies herself with preparations while Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet spending time with him. Martha may have gotten a medal for her ability to “get ‘er done,” but that wasn’t what pleased Jesus. “Mary has chosen what is best,” were his words, and what I’m constantly trying to remind myself of.

Being harder on myself to perform than God is, is pretty ridiculous. Without anyone breathing down my neck with lofty expectations, why do I feel the constant need to do more, perform, or measure up? The last thing I need to do is get so focused on productivity or playing catch-up that I miss out on enjoying what God has blessed me with in terms of relationships with him and others around me.

For now...
For now…

My job is to put my hand to the plow of whatever I believe God has called me to. If that is opening up on this platform, moving in a certain direction career-wise, or simply spending time with Jesus flat on my back; listening, contemplating, and completing the task to the best of my ability is all I need to do.

When I look back at 2016, I do not want to be examining a checklist, judging my performance based off whether or not I got everything done.

This season is not going to last forever. Why not take advantage of it?

In the meantime, I need to take setbacks in stride and embrace whatever I can learn along the way.

The year ahead will not be without its challenges, but as 2016 is underway, I believe cutting myself some slack will pave the way for the best year yet.

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13 thoughts on “One key to making 2016 the best year yet”

  1. Hi Ryan,
    First – congratulations on your engagement. What a story you and Stephanie have; she seems like an amazing person and I enjoy getting to know her as well in your updates.
    It’s been a while since I have sent a note, but want you to know how much I enjoy your posts. You are certainly building a platform for sharing your story. Your message today is one that all of us should heed regardless of physical limitations. It really hit me between the eyes.
    I believe God is preparing you for His special favor and that your life will be a miraculous testimony to His glory. Take a look at Philippians 3:7-10.
    You and your family continue in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sandy McCarthy (friend of your Mom and also my daughter Meghan was friends with Laura at CHCA)

  2. A human being, not a human doer…wow! I love that!
    Please do relax and give yourself that grace and listen to God. What He does through you is incredible!

    • Amy, I can’t take credit for that one, it was a friend who shared that with me. But it’s always great for me to remember!

  3. Ryan your insights and resiliency are amazing.
    Just a thought I wanted to share with you,are you familiar with a group of engineers called “May We Help”
    They create things for people with physical limitations and they are right here in Cincy. Terry McManus runs it and is a good friend of ours.
    If you want to brain storm with them about a way you could do more (yes I see the irony in suggesting this) while on your back ,maybe a computer holder that could safely suspend the screen at the perfect angle for you? Check it out at .

    • Pamela, I’ve actually utilized May We Help before. They are pretty awesome. They rigged up a device for my feet and were great to work with.

      Currently looking into having computer access in bed (considering I’m in bed right now as Stephanie types this for me…:-) )

  4. Trusting in God enough to write goals in non-permanent ink is a lifetime challenge. Setting goals is good. It gives us a sense of direction, of temporal purpose. But we must remind ourselves that we are NOT in charge and that we are here to serve God first and our fellow earthly travelers second. It’s comfortable at the feet of Jesus. He has loved me eternally and will never stop doing so no matter what I do or do not do. His love is constant and has no limits. So, spending some time contemplating His love and ALL that means is kind of cool. Like I said, hanging with Jesus and just being is something that should always top any to do list. Trouble is, I fool myself into thinking I’m in charge and that He expects “something” of me. Well He expects one thing….visit Him often because there will always be a spot for me at His feet. My spot is reserved. He did that for me on the cross. Thanks Jesus. See you soon and we can talk somemore.

  5. i am getting an advanced degree in life reading your stuff, Ryan, This is wisdom from above. Thank you for shinning wisdom on who I am and what I want to be.

    • John, it’s definitely amazing what God will teach us when we’re forced out of the regular routine. Hope you and the Morelock family are doing well. Thanks for your words.

  6. These are great words. All us type-A folks struggle with this. It’s easy to lose focus on friends, family and just quality time with God. I will try and remind myself of this more often when I’m writing a “to-do” list at 7AM and 10PM daily. Thanks for the words Ryan.

    God Bless,

    Patrick Carr

    • Thanks Patrick. Great to hear from you. I won’t say I’m writing off my precious to-do list for good…but being forced to hold off has definitely been eye opening.

      Love that you do it twice a day! Ha

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