on...topic: thoughts - inspired

Thursday, March 21, 2002

ocean sights

Yesterday, I went to the ocean.

Every time I make the trip down here, I go to the ocean. I always go to the same place: Satellite Beach. I find a shell for a souvenir for the trip (I'm now up to five), and I walk in the incoming wash. I never stay very long - usually about 15 minutes.

My thoughts from yesterday:

A scientist looks at the ocean and can see two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom combining millions upon millions of times over to form the water that we see, and that which we don't.

A writer looks at the ocean and can see a sonnet that has been waiting to be penned for all these years.

An engineer looks at the ocean and can see the potential to harness the energy of the crashing waves.

A philosopher looks at the ocean and can see infinity.

I look at the ocean to try to see things unseen, and the evidence of them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

A new beginning

I have a confession to make. And it's one that will shock absolutely no one who reads this site.

I have been in a bad state of the heart recently. My writing has reflected it. My tone of speech (for those of you who've seen me during this time) has shown it.

Has it really been all because of one thing? I think so. Why? Another confession must be made. Prepare yourselves; this one may shock you:

I haven't been living like a Christian in the past six months.

I'll step back for a second, and let that sink in. I had to do it for myself when I first realized it, on Friday of last week.

I haven't been living like a Christian in the past six months.

No, wait. That's not strong enough.

I haven't been living like a Christian for a long time.

I can't really give you an exact amount of time, nor do I want to attempt to do so. That's irrelevant; it's the problem, not the timeframe, that's important here. You see, in the past few years, I'd been thinking that I'd been doing the right things mostly. I'd attended the BCM and participated in a lot of the ministry activities, even when I had a lot of academic stuff on my plate. I went to church on Sundays, for the most part. Sometimes I even went on Wednesday nights. I read my Bible, although nowhere near as often as I should have. But more than most at college, I could rationalize. I had a daily devotional e-mailed to me every day; I would read it and often print it out as a physical reminder of a tenet that I needed to work on. I said the right things, both in real life and on this website.

I thought that I was doing enough. I had myself thoroughly convinced.

And now I realize that everything was a sham.

I've been putting on a false face for so many years, and now I'm telling everyone. I'm taking the mask off, and feeling the sunshine on my face for the first time in a long time.

I haven't been living like a Christian in a long time.

A common theme throughout this site has been the idea of living my life for God. I've talked about it specifically in at least three places. But it's something that I keep coming back to because I keep forgetting it.

I've been reading a book ever since that Friday night called Authentic Christianity, by Dr. Ray C. Steadman. In it, the author makes the bold statement that once a Christian comes to that point when "the old natural life begins to reassert itself", one of three things will happen.

  1. The Christian continues his decline to the point where he is finally living no differently than he was before he became a Christian.
  2. The Christian becomes aware of his state, is frightened by the thought of regressing to what he was before, and "casts himself in repentance and frustration upon the Lord anew." This cycle may be repeated many times, until the time comes when it's considered normal Christian behavior to do so.
  3. Most likely, the Chirstian will discover that all you have to do today is maintain the facade of Christianity. Latch onto something, whether it be high moral standards, orthodox behavior, spiritual commitment, or all three. And no one will be any the wiser. In fact, this is the Christianity the world most often sees.

I've found myself somewhere in all those options. I've had those times when I thought that I was making a change for the better. I've thought to myself that I need to make the change. If only I could do something about the situation that I was in, then maybe I would be a better Christian! That is, when I realized that something needed to be changed at all; when I understood that something wasn't right, even though the ministries were being performed and the services attended.

Another way to look at it is the litmus test of life-changing. That is, can I look at my life right now and say, "People know that I'm a Christian by the way I act and the way I speak, even if I haven't said the name of Jesus. And because of that, people want to know why I am the way that I am, and I tell them so." Can I? Absolutely not. Certainly not within the past six months. But even beyond that...did it happen while I strolled the University campus? Maybe so, but if it did, the times were so few and far between as to be mere blips in the memory. Forget the past six months; what happened in those six years for the cause of Christ?

If you think that I'm beating myself up about this, don't worry. Quite the opposite; I've not been this excited about something in a long time. Because I see what the past was now, and because of that, I can see what needs to happen in the future. So what do I need to add to the workload?


That's right, nothing. In fact, I need to stop doing so much.

Specifically, I need to stop worrying about getting a job and my life afterwards. I need to stop wondering and fearing the very real fear that I've had that I'm always going to be alone, without someone to experience life with. I need to stop confining God to planting me in Birmingham when all these interviews that I've had may have been His way of telling me, "I really think you need to go somewhere else." I need to stop trying to guide my own life, and start living the Life that God has promised me. In short, I need to get out of the driver's seat.

I need to stop reacting negatively when things don't seem to go right, and instead remember that age-old promise of God that still rings true. He has a plan for me. He has a plan for me! When I start getting disappointed in the latest interview that hasn't gone well, what am I showing to God? Only that I'm angry because I don't like the plan that He has for me that he will reveal in time. That I think that my way is better than his way.

One of the blogs that I frequently read (and actually is written by a fellow Ozarkian, believe it or not!), recently commented about his wife:

For if I had spent months charting, graphing and drawing the specs on the perfect woman for myself, when I handed it to God, He simply would have chuckled and said "Carey, son, are you sure this is what you want? Because the woman I have in mind for you, well, you just can't fathom her."

Take that one statement about one aspect of his life and apply it to my whole life -- now you've got the way that I've been thinking for the past who knows how long! Even back in college, all my guiding of all the aspects of my life was just that -- me guiding my life. Paying lip service to the one who has the plan.

God's plan for me is great for four reasons:

  1. It works to His glory.
  2. It is the best course of action for me as well.
  3. It will come to fruition.
  4. Because of the first three, I should have no other alternative to being an optimist about my future! For God is for me! Who can be against me?

It's all so clear, and I'm amazed that it's taken me this long to realize. I've just been so worried about not having anything happen in these six months that I've tried to wrestle with God about my future while avoiding true contact with Him. If I would have honestly searched for God's truth in all these matters, I believe I'd be a lot farther down the line than I am now. I'm not saying that I'd have a job and a house/apartment and a girlfriend and that everything would be "perfect". I'd just have known the simple truth sooner. If I had understood the idea that trusting God in all these matters (how simple is that, and yet how hard!) was the way to go, instead of trusting myself while applying a candy-coated shell of "Christianity" so that no one would be the wiser, who knows where I'd be right now?

As it is, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to the future right now more than I have in a long, long while.

Of course, I still need to do those things I mentioned earlier - go to church and get involved. Have an active prayer life. Read and digest the word of God. Challenge my faith. But it's nothing - nothing without the simple acknowlegement that God is, and should be, in control of my life. He is my Savior for sure; it's time to let Him be Lord of my life again. When I start to get discouraged about the here and now, I should trust God to provide that future that he's promised me. When things inevitably pick up, I should resist the idea of taking back the reins because "I can handle the situation now."

I should live for God, because God should be living for me!

I would appreciate any feedback on all these remarks. This has been the product of a few days' revelation, followed by a stream-of-consciousness outpouring right now. And as a result, I may not have thought some things completely through. But I really think that this is a step in the right direction. Let me know what you think, one way or the other.

And if you got this far, thanks for reading. I'm glad that you care enough about me to get here. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2001

An admission and a request

This one's gonna be long. I appreciate your patience.

Some thoughts I had this morning while getting ready for church (I went to early service today) and waiting for service to start, now fleshed out a little bit...

You know, I'm a sad, sad creature. For five months now, I have been living in Birmingham, and I still don't attend any church regularly here. Oh, I've gone to church a few times, but it's been a half-hearted attempt at best. My excuses for not going have been many, and all of them not good. Let's examine them one by one. I realize that the counter-arguments for all of these are trivial, but trust me, it does me good to write them down.

First, the country's in a recession; lots of people don't have jobs right now. Second, my spiritual need far outweighs my financial need right now. Third, people wouldn't know that I didn't have a job unless I explicitly said I didn't, and even then they'd understand, given the current climate.

This is a reason to not join a church here in town. It's not a good reason to attend church at all. I don't necessarily have to join a church right now, but it always does me good to attend church.

Well, first off, this isn't entirely true. At Dawson, where I've been going the times that I have gone, I know Ricky and Tammy (they just aren't in the Sunday school class that I'd be in, and they can't sit with me in church because they're in choir). I also know my friend Sarah Frey (formerly Elmore) from the MBA Program (ditto on the Sunday school class).

But even in just the realm of a new Sunday school class, it isn't a good argument. It isn't anyone else's fault that I don't know anyone. The problem with this argument, as it pertains to a new church, Sunday school class, etc., is that it's a vicious circle. I don't know anyone, so I don't go, so I don't know anyone, and so on. If I had used this mentality concerning the BCM the part of the freshman year that I went (and trust me, I almost did), I'd never have met so many people who are so close to me now. Introversion is one thing; lack of effort on my part is quite another. No one can get to know me if I don't make myself known.

This is the weakest argument of all. It stems partly from the first argument, partly from introversion, and partly from good old-fashioned vanity. I even considered not going to church today because of a couple of shaving bumps on my face! This is when I had the mental ice-cold water thrown in my face, and when this whole line of thought began.

I've forgotten something very key: being a Christian (part of which is church attendance) is an acknowledgement and even an admission of imperfection. Simply coming to church shows that I realize I need a higher being to lift me from what I am without Him. (Side note: the first guy who greeted me today had a shaving bump just above his lip. I love the way God works.)

Anyone can see that these are all poor excuses. So I'm not going to make them anymore. I might not end up in Birmingham, but until I move off (if I do so), I will be attending church here on Sundays. No excuses. I hold myself accountable to all pressing on... readers from this day forth. I would appreciate any e-mails helping me to stay accountable in this area of my life.

Sunday, June 17, 2001

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

I don't know about you, but the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite stories growing up. I've read each of the books at least four times, and the stories are wonderful in that they are great adventures.

However, now it appears that Harper Collins publishers want to remove the Christianity from these books and republish them. I don't understand this. The author makes some good points in the article...allow me to make a couple of connections.

He mentions that they would like to remove the fundamental Christian subtexts from these works. This is wrong for many reasons. First, any revised version is not the way Lewis intended the works to be read. He obviously wrote them that way for a reason. Secondly, the writer of the article is right...removing these subtexts reduces the books to really nothing more than comics. They become commonplace. One of the best things about these works is the very fact that they can be read on different levels!

But the point of this is to capitalize on the revival of kids reading books, the way led by the Harry Potter series. Hm, I wonder...would J. K. Rowling object to the removal of all things witch in these books? After all, there are people who are offended by such things, and who would not read or buy the books as a result. But that's the whole point of the books, you protest. What's the big deal about Harry and his friends if that part of the story's not there?

My point exactly.

There are so many grounds that I'm opposed to this on that it would really be long-winded of me to write them all down. But one of the most glaring is that if Harper Collins publishes these books under the pretense of not offending anyone, they will have effectively stripped away the essence of the books, leaving only an empty hull of an adventure tale.

Sunday, April 15, 2001

"the death and taxes special"

Passage: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" I Corinthians 15:54-55

Someone once said that the only two things that can be counted on in life are death and taxes. I wholeheartedly agree as far as taxes are concerned, but I don't really agree as far as death is concerned. Now, I'm not disillusioned; I don't think that we don't die. I just don't think that death is what a lot of people believe that it is. Read on, and you'll see why.

First, the taxes. As we all know, tomorrow is the big day! I attempted to figure mine out. You'd think that a college student who made a pittance compared to practically anyone in the real world would not have a hard time filling out his tax returns. You couldn't be further from the truth.

I had to start by filling out a 1040 (and some schedules thereunto appertaining), because of a couple of forms that I got from school and my place of employment from my summer internship. I should have known that that would be a bad sign.

A couple of hours later, I found myself staring at a number that, frankly, scares me. I do not get a refund. I do not even come close to one. The solution? Let my family's accountant worry about it, because I'm sure that I probably messed up somewhere along the line. I'll try again next year, when I should just get W-2s and nothing else...

Now I can see why everyone hates taxes so.

However, death is another story. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that death is not a part of our lives. What I'm saying is that death doesn't have to hold the pull over us that it does for most.

As a child, I was really afraid of death. Like most people, I didn't like the idea of death at all. And I still don't like the idea of the physical dying...but that's very different from death as a whole. Why?

I Corinthians 15:54-55 provides the answer. Death is not a final act, as I once thought. It is a transition from mortality to immortality, from imperfection to being made perfect in Christ. And why is that?

Because, almost 2000 years ago, there was one who was perfect. He committed no sin, but He died for our sins. Then He did the unthinkable: He showed that death had no power over Him! He arose from the grave, and He lives, even today! He was the one that took the sting from death and victory from the grave. He suffered in death so that when that time comes for us (if the Rapture doesn't occur first), we don't have to worry about death! It's not the end. It's the beginning!

Today is Resurrection Sunday. Christians all over the world are celebrating Jesus' victory over death and the fact that because of Him, we have victory as well!

Friday, February 23, 2001

the God of the ocean

Passage: "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them'--" Ecclesiastes 12:1

"I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean..."
From I Hope You Dance

Tomorrow night, about this time, I'll be looking at the ocean. That has become one of my true spiritual touchpoints over the years that I've been at the BCM.

Whenever I look at the ocean, I'm reminded of how expansive it is, and how small I am. I'm reminded that God Himself, so much bigger than the ocean, put it in its place, and me in mine.

Then I truly remember my Creator. And I marvel in His creation. He's made this ocean, which has been sending waves toward the sands all these years. He made the land that the waves crash upon. He made the stars by the light of which I'm taking in this wonderful view.

He knows the number of drops of water in the ocean, the number of grains of sand on the shore, the number of stars in the sky, and the number of hairs on my head.

And I remember that he's not only my Creator; he's my Savior and my Lord as well.

I usually end up singing something. It doesn't really matter what. I'm just singing a song of praise to my Lord with a pure heart, as Psalm 47:6 says to do.

I guess my point in saying this is a reminder for all of us not to forget that we're not the be-all and end-all of this world. There is One who is higher than the world, for He created the world. And while we are so much smaller than Him or His creation, He loves us more than we could ever know.

That's something I remember every time I visit the ocean at night. I remember the God of the ocean, and know that he is the Lord of my life.

Sunday, October 8, 2000

living for God, part 2

Passage: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

It's about this time in a semester (especially during the fall) that I start to get really down in energy. Tests, papers, and projects always wear down on me. I start really looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Why am I not more thankful for today? For the life I have now, and for the opportunities that are in front of me? If Jesus really did call us to have life and have it to the full, to what extent have I not taken him up on his offer?

Shows like The Real World give us a "peek into lives of other people." Which, the executive producers assume, we'd rather do than live our lives ourselves. How long did it take me to realize that we're letting other people live for us?

In Romans 12:11, Paul encourages Christians to not lose their zeal for serving God. And according to 1 Corinthians 10:31 (a verse I've quoted before) says whatever we do, to do it for God's glory. Therefore, doesn't it make sense to say that if we're not living for God, we're not experiencing life to the fullest?

In Life's Little Instruction Book, instruction #322 is "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same amount of hours in a day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." An addendum to that: "Don't waste the time you've been given." I'm as guilty as anyone else of letting other people live life for me. It's time for that to stop.

The cable is getting cut off tomorrow. But more than that...I'm going to try to stop living each day as if it's a chore and live them like they should be lived. As I said before, I'll live for God, and I'll go through life with joy in my heart.

Thursday, April 27, 2000

improving my vision

Passage: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to this purpose." Romans 8:28

Well, I didn't get the WorldCom position. It actually took about two weeks longer to find out than that one fateful night chronicled in the last thought I had, but I finally got "the letter".

"We are pursuing other applicants..."

That didn't make me feel very good, to be honest with you. I had been wanting to work for WorldCom for a while, and even though I heard that I was the first alternate, it didn't really ease the disappointment.

But I got another offer. A company called Stonebridge Technologies was interested in me. I could work in Birmingham, commuting from my apartment here. I could save some of the money that I would earn over the summer that would have been spent on finding a place to live in Jackson, Mississippi, while keeping my apartment here too. Plus, I'd be doing really interesting, challenging work.

What else was there to say? I accepted the job this week.

What does this mean? With God sometimes you don't get what you want, but you always get what you need, and you pretty much find out that what you needed ends up being better than what you wanted in the first place.

There have been many times that I wanted something and I didn't get it. For example, I wanted to be a host at the BCM last year. I thought that it would be really neat to live at the center and get my rent free, etc. But now I look back at that and see that if I would have gotten my wish, I would have slowly gone mad. This year was hard enough with my own apartment and living space; getting all of the work done was difficult at times and downright near-impossible at others. Trying to do it while hosting at the center would have been insane.

Recently, I had my eyes checked. I needed a new pair of glasses because my old pair was out of fashion. Really out of fashion. I hadn't had an eye exam in a couple of years, so I knew that I probably needed one. My glasses were about a prescription behind my contacts, so I figured that was a safe bet.

Let's just say that the doctor was amazed that I had managed to drive there. Referring to my old lenses, he inquired, "You're sure that you can see okay out of these?" I answered, "Sure." I saw enough to know where I was going, I was thinking.

Lo and behold, when I put on these new glasses (stylin' frames and all), the whole world opens up anew to me! Anyone who's just had their prescriptions recently strengthened will testify to this. You can see the individual leaves on the trees again, you don't have to wait until the last second to read signs when you drive, and on and on.

The obvious analogy in all of this is that my vision is only as good as the old pair of glasses. I think that I know where I'm going, and I think that I know what the best way is to get there. But God has the full perfect vision that I lack. He can see the whole picture, and it's crystal clear to Him. He can see the details of my life that I miss. And the most important thing is that he knows the best path for me, even if it means not going the way that I, with my blurry vision, want to go. If I let Him, he'll direct my paths, all the while improving my vision for myself, so that one day my will and His will shall be one.

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

anxiety vs. will

Passage: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

It is 10:00 in the evening as I write this, and I have a little bit of anxiety right now.

Actually, a lot of anxiety.

You see, tomorrow I get a big idea as to where I will be working over the summer. I'm supposed to find out my status on an internship position tomorrow. I've really wanted to work for this company, and so it's a big deal to me. I already know that my fate is not in my hands, though. Someone else has first opportunity at this position. If they take it, I have to look somewhere else. But if they don't, it's mine if I want it (which I do). So it's hard for me at this point to feel anything but nervousness about the whole thing; after all, I have really no say in it.

Or do I?

In the above passage it says that I should present my requests to God. I have already been in prayer about where I should go over the summer, and about this job in particular. 1 John 5:14-15 says that if I am presenting my requests to God in His will, then I shall have what I ask for.

So I've asked for this position, if that's what I'm supposed to do. I know that God wants what's best for me (Romans 8:28), so really I'm asking to know if this is what He wants for me. Now, I can't honestly say that this has somehow magically put me in a completely tranquil mood. I'm still not exactly at peace with this. But I do know that He is watching out for me.

Now, to extend this to other things in my life:

I was going to write a thought about how I feel that I don't know a lot of things about life, and as a result I worry about them. I don't know what a real job is like, and so a lot of the time I feel that I'm going to be inadequate when I start one this summer (wherever it may be). I don't know how to live completely on my own yet, and so I'm concerned with what it's like. (It's comforting to know that my sister and brother-in-law have gotten along swimmingly so far, but that doesn't completely put me at ease.) I worry constantly if I will ever find someone. When I think I've found them, I worry about how to act around them, how to approach them, etc.

I could keep on going for a while about such matters. But that doesn't really do anything except make me think (and therefore worry) about them. One of the things that I have to constantly keep working on is to put my faith in God when it comes to myself. Too many times I want to take control of my own life; then I find that by "taking control" I mean just worry about everything. I have found that when I am really close to God everything really works out well. That goes back to 1 John. When I am in His will, what I ask for will be granted because what I want and what He wants are one and the same.

I know that I've got a long way to go before I completely manage to put this into action. But I know that it's going to be better for me as a whole when I do.

Sunday, January 9, 2000

how to treat our neighbors

Passage: "The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31

Something rarely seen in the world today is someone who really cares about their fellow man. Sure, people care about each other, but usually there's some sort of reciprocal effect going on for it to take place. In other words, people have to know that the other person cares about them to care about the other person.

That's not what the Bible teaches. We're supposed to care about everyone. In 1 Corinthians 10:24, it says that "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." That's something you don't usually see in this day and age.

This isn't limited to just those that are easy to get along with. Ephesians 4:2 says to "be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." It's really easy to get irritated or even angry at our brothers and sisters; it's a lot harder to do this, yet that's what we're called to do.

What's more, we should care enough about each other to support each other. Galatians 6:2 says that we should "carry each other's burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ." This doesn't mean that we should be nosy or try to solve everybody's problems. It just means sometimes that we need to be that proverbial shoulder to cry on or a sounding board.

I hope that I treat my brothers and sisters in Christ like I want to be treated. I know that I fail in this sometimes, but I pray that I will continue to get better and that I always love my neighbor with the love of Christ.

Sunday, November 28, 1999

o holy night

Passage: "But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.' " Luke 2:10-11

I love Christmas. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. There are too many reasons to count. I've already decorated my apartment. It's nothing like last year's land of 1122 lights, but it'll do...

But sometimes (actually, quite often) I get too caught up in all of it. I listen (and sing along) to my Christmas CDs, not really thinking about the meanings of most of the carols. I put up lights and a tree and other greenery, not recalling that the light of the world and our hope of eternal life came to us on Christmas. I buy presents for my friends and family; in the back of my mind is the knowledge that the greatest gift of all was given to me (and the world) by my heavenly Father that night.

That really must have been a holy night. By today's standards, it was probably a very surreal sight. A supernova-bright star high over shepherds and barn animals standing silently around a feeding trough, where a man and a woman, equally silent I'll bet, looked (how could they not?) at the little miracle. And what a miracle he was. Born of a virgin, God and man in one. One who gave up his rightful place in heaven to become a baby, grow up and die a death he didn't deserve. All for us.

In one of my favorite Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is overwhelmed by the commercialism of Christmas and wants to know what Christmas really is. In desperation he yells out, "Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?" At which, Linus tells him, "Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about," and procedes to deliver a monologue consisting of Luke 2:8-14. At the end of it, security blanket still in hand, he says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." And you can see the realization spread in the form of a smile on Charlie Brown's face as he realizes that Linus is exactly right.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year...all because of a holy night some 2,000 years ago. Let us never forget...

Tuesday, June 22, 1999

living for God

Passage: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

One thing that I've learned is that I've got a lot left to learn. Another thing is that I tend to forget a lot of what I've already learned, making it necessary for me to go back and re-learn it.

Case in point: living for God. You'd think that I should have learned this basic concept by now. But it struck me the other day as I was listening to a lesson on this...everything literally means just that...everything. Nothing in a Christian's life should be done without the desire to be doing it to please our Father.

Do we always do that? Do we ever? I had to really stop and think "when was the last time I stopped and asked myself I'm trying to please God?" I mean, I do things that I know please God, but I'm thinking of those times like right now, when I'm editing web pages. Or when I do my homework in school...or when I watch TV...or whatever I'm doing.

God gave us a lot of different things that we can choose to do. I like to design web pages, among other things. Someone may like to play an instrument or a sport. Etc., etc. I don't do this often enough, but I hope to be able to get to the point where I live for God in the true sense of the phrase...everything I do I do for Him. Because I find that everything I do is that much more enjoyable for myself when I live for Him.

Tuesday, May 25, 1999

Parting Shots 1999

(or, some of what I learned this year)

Many many things. I learned this year that free time will be a luxury from now on. ECE 480 taught me that for the most part, but just that fall semester in general taught it to me as well. I worked harder than I ever have in school that semester. I was proud with the result, but I learned the hard lesson that sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve some things. In my case, I had to sacrifice going to the BCM a lot. I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff as a result.

I also learned that sometimes you *are* just a number. UA Housing taught me that lesson quite well over the years, but never harder than the last time. Having them say one thing, then say and do another, without any good reason for doing it, cost Ricky and I the apartment that we held dear.

Which brings me to the next thing...stability is a precious commodity. If you have any in your life, you're better off than most. 1122 Productions lost its headquarters and its nucleus. Ricky will be living at the BCM next year, while for the first time since my freshman year, I will not have a roommate at all. But at the same time I realize that while we lost the apartment that gave the company its name, we haven't lost the true backbone behind the company. Which, of course, is us...for true friendships last longer than mere stone and plaster can possibly hope to. (New 1122 motto: "It's not the apartment...it's the attitude.")

And now I'm a graduate. And being a graduate entitles one to a few perks. One of which is the eventual money that I'll make in my job (though I've still got MBA school to get through before that happens). But there seem to be even more obligations than there are perks.

For instance, you have to be a grown-up now. I've also learned, just in the past few days, that being a graduate is another one of those definite signs that I'm now a full-fledged grown-up. And while I feel in some ways that I'm not really going into the "real world" yet, another part of me feels as if I've been there for a while now. And I'm getting a big dose of it as I type this...I'm paying bills for the first time ever.

And what of what I've learned over these entire four years? In my freshman year, I compiled a list of college "tips" that I've been looking at. I had to laugh out loud at some of them because they were antiquated ($1500 for a Pentium-120 back then...my, how the times have a-changed), but most of them still ring true. "Keep your checkbook balanced." (I still need to remember that one.) One of the tips actually talked about me starting my own web page "soon". Now I really feel old... But they don't talk about a lot of things that I've learned since then, such as:

Et cetera, et cetera. But perhaps the biggest thing that I've learned over these four years can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:11...

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

So it's time to start really, truly, being a man. That doesn't mean I won't enjoy things like cartoons any more...I seriously doubt that. But it does mean that my thoughts and attitudes now have to be that of a college graduate...of a grown man...of a Christian...always. For I am answering to my God one day about the things I did here. That's a lesson I have to continually learn.