As I am soon to be leaving the valley for the very distant East Coast in a matter of days, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. As usual, during these times of nostalgia I tend to figure out quite a bit abut myself and my experiences, mostly how they have shaped me into the man I am today. This is one for the lessons and wisdom I've gained while living in the Pacific Northwest.
I can honestly say that my relationship with Christ is, and will continue to be, the most significant part of my life. It goes so much further than just attending church with my family every Sunday and not saying bad words. A relationship with Christ should completely envelop every aspect of life. The surrender and repentance of your life involves a complete transformation, where you put to death daily your old self and your old ways. There was a time where my faith was definitely was not at the forefront and during that time it was true that my life felt empty, superficial, and to be honest, pointless. If I wasn't living for my God, what was I living for and was it providing me with satisfaction? Every now and then I would find satisfaction in something, whether it be a relationship, pride for achieving something, or even getting a good grade on a paper. But that satisfaction was fleeting, it never stuck around long enough for me to truly enjoy and embrace it. True joy and happiness comes from a life serving God, following Jesus, and listening to the Holy Spirit. Those that choose to reject Christ say that you can find joy in the things of this world; money, power, and stuff. You are fighting a losing battle. You will never be satisfied with what you have because there will always be something newer, shinier, and better out there. Only Christ can satisfy, only Christ can fill that void in your life. That is still an aspect of my life that I am coming to terms with and I know that once that complete reliance on God and His plans comes into effect, life will be much more significant. Seek the truth. Seek the higher calling. Figure out what this life is really about.
It's so cliché to say be yourself, but when you really think about it, knowing who yourself is from ages 12-18 is such a difficult concept to grasp. Amidst all kinds of feelings, thoughts, external pressures, temptations to conform and fit in while trying to secure your own identity and individuality...the list seriously just goes on. But in identifying that list, I can easily understand why I had such a difficult time during those ages. There is so much pressure to figure out who you really are while balancing a social life, academics, sports, and family relationships. It's not easy at all, but understand that when you finally attain this sense of identity on your own accord, you can really start to live. Strive to be genuine in your words, character, and actions. After people get over the whole "partying is everything" lifestyle, they begin to get interested in the things that really do matter. What an idea right? They aren't so interested in what you did for your school's honor society, what position you played on the football team, or how many beers you can drink. They start to care about what your character says about you, what you are doing to better yourself, what your life is going to look like and what measure you are taking to make it a reality. Be genuine in word and deed, people will be more likely to stick around.
I could probably spend quite a bit of time writing about this but I'll just highlight a few things.
Above all else should be your priority. In already spending a year at a college that was only 70 miles away, I can say for sure that the family that doesn't remain in consistent communication will slowly begin to sever those ties only shared within a family. Whether it be Skype, texting, phone calls, or email,you're never too cool to talk with your parents or siblings. I mean honestly, they had to spend 18+ years with you, the least you could do is talk to them for 15 minutes over the phone.
Friends are a very interesting subject. I know that in high school your friends are really all you have to lean on in what seems like a world that is out to get you.
But in talking with many adult figures that I have a lot of respect for, I've come to the understanding that many of the people we call our best friends during our high school days will slowly begin to fall at the way-side. I know that it's not a very happy thought but that's really just the way things go. We lose communication, new friends enter the picture, and people grow apart. There are those cases where people are able to make things work and those kinds of friendship are awesome, but when you begin to lose contact with your old group, it's not the end of the world. I suppose the last subject in this bullet-point would have to deal with those relationships more focused on a singular person. These types of relationships have developed into somewhat of a double-edged sword for me personally. One edge provides companionship, discovering of our own personal standards, care and concern from another, and a seemingly brighter outlook on life. The other edge cuts us with jealousy, inadequacy, heartbreak, misguided expectations, and an unhealthy dependence on another person to justify our worth or value. Like I said; double-edged sword. But do I think any relationship I've been in was a mistake? Absolutely not. We learn from the good times in our relationships and tend to learn even more from the bad times. It's what you do with that knowledge that matters most.
This blog will continue to be a place where you can stay connected with me as I move to the East coast and my life begins to more reflect the Holy Spirit working within me. I ask that you please pray for me while I'm attending a new school in a completely new place. Pray for a good foundation of Christian friends to appear. Pray for me to get plugged into a church and begin working in some youth ministry outlets. Pray for me to stay strong when the times get tough and I begin to feel overwhelmed. God is able and through Him, all things are possible. Thank you for reading and I pray you continue to be blessed.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."