It’s not often that I set goals and actually reach them. I’m okay with that – I’ve always been somewhat of an underachiever. I like who I am. Usually. When I was younger, I was far more driven and it really never got me anywhere. That’s the plain truth. In the last 20 years, I’ve pretty much given up on every dream I ever hoped to reach. Every good thing that has happened to me has been a direct result of blind luck, divine providence or both. Driving ambition hasn’t led me to a single great accomplishment – hard work, however; has led me to a lot of great things. A solid marriage. Gainful employment with the same church for twenty years. Good kids. A few decent songs and a great ministry team. Hard work has led me into some very fruitful and amazing relationships with incredible people. But every thing I wanted to achieve, personally; those things that could propel me to a loftier status or bring me some kind of personal fulfillment, well… ambition never brought me anything but disappointment and heart-ache. I’m not hear to tell you ambition is a bad thing – but you’ll never hear me say that it’s a good thing, either. Ambition is a dangerous thing. It must be carefully managed under the close scrutiny of the Holy Spirit’s watchful guidance. And ambition can NEVER be mistaken (nor replaced) by good old fashion hard work. In my life, I’ve come to understand that when I work hard, good things follow. When I work hard pursuing God’s objectives, GREAT things follow. And when I get lazy or even complacent, well – things go to the hot-place in a hand basket.
Which brings me to today. 365. That’s a lofty number. That’s a full year. That’s a ton of words. That’s… a lot. I never thought I’d be able to write 365 devotions. Some have been good. Some, perhaps forgettable. But having the discipline to faithfully post a devotion each day – good or bad – for 365 days straight… Well, I’m never going to be impressed with myself, but surprised at my ability to see this little project through to the end? That’s a fair assessment! Ambition didn’t drive me to pursue Project 365. It was with reluctance that I even entertained it at all. I knew it wasn’t going to be some crazy sensation. Didn’t really think anyone besides my wife would read them, and I’m not sure she even read that many, truth be told. I even questioned whether I could actually publish a devotion every single day for a year, straight. But hard work is what kept the project going – through being sick, while being on vacation or off in Uganda with my missions teams. And here we are. No idea how many followers I have now, but it’s a ton more then I thought I’d ever have. (I tricked a few people into following, guilted a few others – sorry Joshua.) I’m sure my visitor and clicks numbers are embarrassingly low, when compared to most bloggers – but whatever they’ve been on any given day, even a single click, one like or a single visitor has encouraged me to keep writing, keep posting and keep hoping for just a single click the next day. There’ve been a few days where nobody visited but honestly, that’s far less then what I would’ve guessed there would be when I first published Devotion number 1 for Project 365 back on September 17, 2014. Hey – lower expectations can have benefits every once in awhile.
Which brings me to how blessed that I feel. Honestly. I am most grateful to anyone who has taken the time to occasionally read these posts, these devotions. As I stated when I first began, these were just some of the topics and personal struggles that I was going through when they were written. I just sort of figured – I probably wasn’t the only person in the world who felt like I did on any given day. These were scriptures that also helped me in difficult seasons of life. It has also helped me study the Word, more. It has tightened my own prayer life. And, it’s led me to some other really good writers – much better then me – who are doing what I’m doing, only better and more fluidly! I’m following some really gifted writers now, whose own spiritual take on life has been insightful and spiritually uplifting! And at the end of the day, that’s what we are called to do as believers and followers of Christ. By leveraging technology, we have the ability to inspire and encourage people all over the world in the blink of an eye and the clack of a click-send. Amazing.
So while this conclusion of my little project won’t be shattering news anywhere, I am thankful to have seen it through to the end. I now have 365 devotions for the year and I plan on posting them year round, periodically adding a new one here and there! I figure by the time September rolls around again, most people won’t remember that they’re probably reading the same devotion from September 17, 2014 or 2015 whenever it was when they first read it! Maybe eventually, I’ll have enough short devotions that by the time they cycle around again, more then a full year will have passed – I don’t know. Like I said, I’m not that ambitious.
In closing, I am left to wonder… what’s next? Is there even any reason for a next? Perhaps I’ve said all that I have to say, although somehow, I doubt that. Right or wrong, I always have something to say! I got a big mouth and I like this whole medium of spouting an opinion without arguments pursuing! I have tried, however; to be (somewhat) responsible in writing from the heart and trying to be guided by God’s Spirit while staying grounded in His Word. But now, I honestly don’t know what to write about next. One reader suggested a series on the Holy Spirit which intrigues me – but I think I need to do some more reading on Him – I get nervous tackling such an important topic as the Holy Spirit! Not really smart enough for that! (I’m a simple guy, remember!) I’ve thought about Prayer, there’s a lot to be said about that. Also, a series just on dead dudes who had really incredible lives. I even thought about a series on ordinary people who’ve touched my life and had profound impacts on me, personally. Maybe some of the most fascinating people that some of you have never even heard about. I don’t know, really. (Although, I do like that last idea the more I think about it!) At any rate, I’m going to take some time and try to come up with some ideas and write out a few things in advance. In the meantime, I hope you’ll keep reading the daily posts – whether you’ve read them or not, look to the meaning behind the words and the scriptures at the end for a daily dose of encouragement and Spiritual inspiration. I’m sure I’ll be back with some fresh topics before you know it. Hopefully, it won’t take 365 days to do so! But even if it does, I’ll be sure to do what I can to periodically post some fresh stuff while I search to find just the right series on what to do another Project 365 on. In the meantime, be encouraged in your walk, dear reader! God is with you and He is ever for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve been encouraged. It’s been a fun ride and I am so glad that we’ve gotten to take it together! And as always,
Peace to you, today! Sean Gutteridge
[Project 365 Devotions will continue to post each day at 1am. All new devotions posted under Project 365 will be headed with a “NEW” in the Title Heading. Again, thank you for your reader-ship… I think that’s a word, right?! Right!]