they should be gone

Right about this time, thirteen or so years ago, a couple of years after I had begun to realize that girls were pretty cool when you really thought about it, I made a pledge to myself that this year would be the year I finally had a girlfriend for the first time. I made the same pledge to myself twelve years ago around this time. And eleven. And ten, I believe.

Then I stopped doing it. I believe a number of factors contributed to this, not the least of which was the thought that it probably just wasn’t ever going to happen. However, I would like to think that part of it was the fact that I finally grew up enough to understand that just because God said man needed a helper for life didn’t mean that I needed one right then and there, or that having one would magically solve everything.

I use this as an illustration. Even though I was reasonably mature for my age back then, I still had feelings that should have been gone by that time. Feelings of depression and worry about what other people thought about me ate away at me until I was absolutely convinced that people were scoping my every move. To this day, a lot of those same demons haunt me — I still don’t fast dance, for example. But I’ve finally been able to come to the conclusion that people tend to be worried enough about themselves to not keep a record against everything I say or do. That knowledge has benefited me greatly. It should be interesting to go to my 10-year reunion and see the looks on people’s faces when they realize that I have actually changed a lot.

Ah, yes, and that’s another thing. This website has in the past reflected the writings of a man fully convinced he was going nowhere. What’s more, he believed that he had been nowhere in the past several years. Not only should those thoughts have been gone, they never should have been a part of my mind. Looking back, I realize that a fallacy of most people (myself included) is that we tend to have much too short-term a view of our past and future. By doing so, we can’t see that which we’ve been able to accomplish.

But what have I done? Why, in the last year alone, I’ve formed my search committee and begun my research, became part of a praise team that performs in a church of 200 or so on a weekly basis, and started my career as a teacher. Not to mention that I finally did reach the dream of a certain new teenager — I did find that girlfriend. And I fell in love with her, too. I have no doubt that I am certainly not spinning my wheels right now.

The aforementioned fallacy is even worse when considering the future; most people don’t tend to think too far ahead, and thus set themselves up for a seemingly endless repitition of work, bills, duties, and occasional “vacations” that do nothing more than prolong the inevitable return to more of the same. It’s then that phrases like “the good old days” get tossed around.

I’ve got news for you: I hope sincerely that these aren’t the best days of my life. Good as they are, I know that if I have to look back on a time to say that it’s the part of my life I would like to live over and over again, something must be wrong in one or more aspects of my life currently. Continual growth is a necessity to truly live life! In other words, the only way that I end up spinning my wheels is if I voluntarily let myself sink in the mud.

My life is not the life of most 26-year olds. Most have a “real” job and a place of their own by now. Many are married; some have a child or two. But that’s not the life of this 26-year old, and it’s taken me a long time to come to the conclusion that it’s not a bad thing. The house and job and family will come with time, God willing. And even if He doesn’t, He’s still blessed me with more than I deserve.

So, demon vanquished. Fear conquered. No problems, right?

But there are other things that should be gone from a twenty-six year old man. The temper that still flares over things so trivial as the outcome of a football game. The selfish attitudes I have with my money and my time. And the worry — yes, it’s still there — that I just might not be good enough or smart enough to make it in whatever I’m attempting and that this, this is the time when I fall flat on my face. And the list continues.

My 19th birthday is coming up in March. That is to say, the 19th anniversary of the day that I was born again. Perhaps these are still the marks of a spiritual teenager. But, like most of the time, I still can’t shake the thought that I should have passed this point by now. And I realize that I am the only one to blame for that. God didn’t move, after all. He didn’t change.

Like every year, I still have a lot to learn. There are still things in me that shouldn’t be there. But all in due time. The boy, exactly half my age, made a promise to himself that he had no ability to keep. But God worked it in his time. And I remain faithful that he will continue to do a good work in me.