Monday, January 19, 2009

My Pledge and Challenge

I have been on this earth for three 10-year terms. 

My first term I'd call the "physically learning stage". The next I'd call the "physically maturing stage". By the end of this second term, would you agree that most people are done growing physically (and though they may continue to grow stronger during the third term, for the most part, the dramatic physical changes happen in these first two terms)?

What is significant about the third term? Physically we have grown into adult-sized humans. But what about the other parts of being a creation with thoughts and feelings and emotions? I believe each person is created with 4 parts - body, soul, mind, and spirit. In the first two 10-year terms of life, our body and mind grow rapidly. Our spirit is influenced along the way and our personality- the parts we were born with along with our life experiences- takes shape. The personality is most likely established in the first 10-year term. And I can only assume that the soul is simply along for the ride until we reach the age where we recognize it's role in our life and begin to care about it. And that's what I think the third 10-year term is. A recognition of and dealing with our own soul. Most of us at the age of 20 move out from under a parent's protection and care to begin our own adventure, realizing that we can, for the most part, do what we want, when we want, with whomever we want. And that is a freedom that needs to be experienced! So the third term I'd call the "soul freedom and learning stage."

As I think about my last 10 years, I wonder what significant things I have accomplished. I graduated college, which in this country is fairly common because the U.S. is a very educated nation. But on a global scale, graduating college is pretty significant! There are probably millions of people that would give anything to experience and learn on a university level. So yes, that is an accomplishment. But what else? I mean, finishing college was 9 years ago. Other than college, I can't think of many accomplishments. But this is not a bad thing! Here's why: my third 10-year term has been all about the inside. Taking what I've learned and putting it to the test. My education gained in school, in church, in the working world, from friends... taking all of this and learning it again, but not from a book or from a teacher in a classroom. I've learned it working at a summer camp, living with my parents again after college, applying for jobs, working at a job that did not fit my personality, dating great girls, dating not so great girls, arguing and laughing and trusting and not trusting friends, starting new relationships and ending unhealthy ones, travelling out of the U.S., working in maintenance, attending a phenomenal church with authentic Biblical teaching, and by watching my family grow into the next generation. And in my third term, I became an adult. Not when I turned 20 years old, but it happened when I felt my heart burning for Nashville, Tennessee.

Turning 30 is a milestone, so I wanted to take time to reflect and so far, 2009 has been just that. Looking back to see where I've been, what I've done, the up's and down's, the life and death I've experienced and discovering that all of it is for a purpose. It's all building towards something great. That is why I am making a pledge to you, to myself, to anyone who will listen: I will never settle for a mediocre life. When I complete another 30 years or in the next 60, I don't want to look back and wonder where life happened. I will not be average. I will not be regular. I will not be boring. No decade of my life has been mediocre yet, and I will not let it start now. To accomplish this simple goal, I will stick to my motto from 2008 and it is this:

To grow in my relationship with God and people, and be involved in significant things.

Focusing on these 3 ideas, I don't believe anyone would have a mediocre life! It's a simple thought that I hope will overthrow any possible routine or average lifestyle I may fall into. "Grow in my relationship with God" by reading the Bible and talking to God about my life and what He wants. "Grow in my relationship with people" by spending time with my friends, making new friends, and caring when people need to be cared for. "Be involved in significant things" by being aware of what's going on around me, and choosing to take part in what I believe will have a positive affect on people, society, the country and the world.

That's it. Pretty simple, I think. This is my motto for for 2009, and my pledge to you is also my challenge to you: How will you live this year? 2009 has already begun and the clock is ticking. Will you choose to be regular? Will you choose a mediocre life? Will you let your heart be troubled by the common things in the world? Or will you throw off those troubles and live your next 10-year term, your next year... your next day with significance? I hope so. I will be doing the same in Tennessee.

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